You are what you repeat - essay


Introduction.


One morning in early 2017 I got up early, as usual, and sat down to write as I often do. The result of that mornings work was a poem titled “You are what you repeat.” It took me about half an hour that morning to choose the words. The truth is, however, I had been thinking about the idea for years.


In all my reading about goals, success and achievement, one theme seemed to stick out - it doesn’t matter what you do once, it matters what you do over and over again. In other words: “you are what you repeat.” The people who are successful (whatever your definition of success might be) are the ones who persevere and keep going until they reached their goal. They are the ones who keep trying and keep doing until they accomplish their goal.


Poem.


Here is the poem “You are what you repeat.”


You are what you repeat,

Know it is true,

Words that you say,

And deeds that you do.


Words become plans,

Plans become deeds,

This is what determines,

Where your life leads.


Once is a chance,

Twice is a choice,

If you do it again,

Will your future rejoice.


Whether the outcome,

Is victory or defeat,

It is all because,

Of what you repeat.


You are what you repeat.


The first verse is:

You are what you repeat,

Know it is true,

Words that you say,

And deeds that you do.


This verse explains that the idea of “you are what you repeat” applies to everything and is neutral. It works with “good” things as well as with “bad” things. This idea explains failure as much as success. It doesn’t matter what you repeat, you will become it. And it applies to both what you think and what you say as well as what you do.


Research has shown that at least 40% of our daily actions not conscious decision but instead are habits. There is a saying ”little by little a little becomes a lot” and this applies to habits as much as anything else. The results of your habits have accumulated over time to contribute to where you are now. As Brian Tracy says “Successful people are simply those with successful habits.”


Words, plans, deeds.


The second verse goes:

Words become plans,

Plans become deeds,

This is what determines,

Where your life leads.


This verse explains how the idea of “you are what you repeat” works. Everything begins with an idea. First you think it, then you say it, then you plan it and then you do it. Intentionally or unintentionally you set yourself plans. Sometimes your plans occur simply because of things you have said, sometimes your plans are because of deliberate words you have said. Either way, your plans turn into deeds.

The notion of “you are what you repeat” can also apply to planless words too. If you make a racist joke or comment, then you are racist. If you make a sexist joke or comment, then you are sexist. There is no “just joking” if you are comfortable enough to say it out loud then at some level you are it.

Sometimes your words make “big” deeds, for example if you say “I am going to cut my hair.” Sometimes however, in the case of self talk your words make “small deeds.” For example if you keep telling yourself “I am terrible at public speaking” then guess what - it will be true.


Choice.


The next verse says:

Once is a chance,

Twice is a choice,

If you do it again,

Will your future rejoice.


This verse talks about the consequence of your decisions. The first time you do something you may not know what the outcome will be. When you decide to repeat that deed for a second time however - that was your choice and you own the result. It’s usually OK to do something once (as long as it’s legal) but the second time the result is entirely on you. Before you do something again, think about what you are repeating and if the accumulation of that act is what you really want.


Victory or defeat.


The final verse concludes:

Whether the outcome,

Is victory or defeat,

It is all because,

Of what you repeat.


This verse explains that whether or not you are "successful" (whatever your definition of success is), its because of what you repeat. It’s all because of what you decided to repeat. If you get promoted at work, it’s probably because you repeated good work. If you get fired at work it’s probably because you repeated bad work. If you have a “six pack” it’s probably because you repeated going to the gym. If you have a “beer belly” it’s probably because you repeated going to the bar.


Whether you are happy with where you are or whether you aren’t - it’s all because of what you repeated.


Habits.


What’s the best way to repeat something? Make it a habit! A quick and easy way to create a new habit us to use the "Sticky Habits" method. All you need are a sticky note and a pen.


1. PICK YOUR NEW HABIT


Pick one new habit to create.


Good habits are:

* small

* simple

* sustainable

Write your habit on 3 sticky notes.


Place one sticky note by your bed, one at your desk and one in your purse or wallet.


2. PICK A TRIGGER


Pick a trigger for your habit:

* an existing habit

* a specific time of day

* an alarm or calendar reminder


3. RECORD YOUR PROGRESS


Draw 5 x 7 grids on two sticky note to record your daily progress for 60 days. Research has shown it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit


4. “STICKY TO YOUR HABIT” DAILY


Do the new habit at the trigger every day. Your trigger is what is going to remind you to do the habit.


Record every day you do your habit on the sticky note with a grid. Leverage Jerry Seinfelds “Don’t break the chain” method to ensure you keep going.


Commit to never missing more than one day in a row. This is very important. If you miss one day of doing your habit, you must do it the next day. If you miss two days in a row there is a very high chance you won’t be successful in creating your habit.


Sticky to your habit for two months. The amount of time it takes a habit to form depends on the habit, the average however is 66 days. If you can maintain your habit for 60 days chances are it will be permanent.


Conclusion.


There you go, one simple phrase and one short poem that explains the “secret of success.” It all comes down to what you repeat. As you go through your day, ask yourself if you have done a deed before. If the answer is yes, ask yourself if repeating that deed is going to result in “success” for you. If so, continue. If not, stop.