28 August 2019

story telling in business Lawrence Jones MBEWhen I say the word ‘habit’ what do you think of? I would hazard a guess that the first thing is ‘bad habits’, but I think that would be unfair. Habits are a hugely important part of every single success story.

The routines that we create and the behaviours that we automatically repeat are the very things that can make or break us.

One of my habits is always, without fail, making the bed every single day. Why? I have done this every single day since I was about seven years old and had a scholarship to Durham Boarding School. One of our teachers, Mr Watson, was ex-military. He would inspect every morning that our pyjamas were perfectly folded and our beds were perfectly made. Without fail.

This, I believe, instilled a healthy discipline into me from an early age. Since then I always start the day by tidying up after myself, and keeping everything neat and tidy. It is a two-minute ritual that gets you into the habit of completing tasks.

Good v bad habits

When you tick off a job at the first moment of your day, you’re starting as you mean to go on. It would be easy to think that I could skip making the bed one day, but then would I want to skip other tasks on my to-do list? How does that set me up for a successful day ahead?

For me, it is similar to missing a workout. I have a schedule for my exercise and know that when I stray from that schedule, it affects my mood and productivity as a whole. Years ago, I let this slip. I was distracted by the latest stage of UKFast’s growth and took my eye of my own health and wellbeing. Looking back now, the impact of that change was abundantly clear.

We create good habits that make us feel good, that help us on our journey. When we break those, even for a moment, it is all too easy to let other things slip too. Habits go hand in hand with discipline and self-control. And that goes hand in hand with success. It is that simple.


I go deeper into the habits of some of the most successful people in the world in this week’s episode of the Mind Your Own Business podcast. Listen, subscribe and let me know what you think.


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