I’ve always loved quotes. A few timeless words can tell a very powerful story.

For months, I had this vision of telling a story about why habits are so important today – using just quotes. It took me weeks to select the quotes and put them in the right sequence.

Then, my daughter found the perfect photos for each one. We used Flickr Creative Commons licensed art so we could feature the work of other awesome artists too.

I’m so proud, especially because we did it together. And yet, I’m a little terrified too. Sharing these quotes is like exposing my deepest thoughts.

I know many people won’t understand why I think this way.

But I know a few will, and if that’s you, I hope this project speaks right to your soul and inspires you to choose your habits and your life. I believe there’s a unique recipe that will allow you to live a life of freedom and purpose, and I’m here to help you find it.

If you’d prefer to just read the quotes without the slides, you can do that too.

Step One: Recognize the Propaganda

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society… We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
– Edward Bernays  [Tweet this quote.]

”Unless you’re a real anomaly, your lifestyle has already been designed.”
– David Cain  [Tweet this quote.]

“All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.”
– William James  [Tweet this quote.]

“People build up a life, it becomes unsatisfactory, and they want to figure out how to change it like an outfit on a doll. But you can’t change life from the outside. We all know this now.”
– James Altucher  [Tweet this quote.]

“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
– Seth Godin  [Tweet this quote.]

“The philosophy of lifestyle design is actually quite simple. It suggests that there are limitless ways to arrange and configure your life and that the logistics of living are much more flexible than most of us can imagine.”
– Clay Collins  [Tweet this quote.]

“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”
– Charles Duhigg  [Tweet this quote.]

“You can’t make yourself feel positive, but you can choose how to act, and if you choose right, it builds your confidence.”
– Julien Smith  [Tweet this quote.]

Step Two: Understand the Power of Habits

“We are stereotyped creatures, imitators and copiers of our past selves.”
– William James  [Tweet this quote.]

“Nothing is stronger than habit.”
– Ovid  [Tweet this quote.]

“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
– Samuel Johnson  [Tweet this quote.]

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
– Colin Powell  [Tweet this quote.]

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7  [Tweet this quote.]

“Habit is a cable; we weave a thread each day, and at last we cannot break it.”
– Horace Mann  [Tweet this quote.]

“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”
– Confucius  [Tweet this quote.]

“Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you.”
– Elbert Hubbard  [Tweet this quote.]

“We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can…in the acquisition of a new habit, we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible. Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life.”
– William James  [Tweet this quote.]

“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking, than think your way into a new way of acting.”
– Jerry Sternin  [Tweet this quote.]

“Character is simply habit long continued.”
– Plutarch  [Tweet this quote.]

Step Three: Design Your Recipe

“The best way to stop a bad habit is to never begin it.”
– J. C. Penney  [Tweet this quote.]

“You can’t read about push ups. You gotta do ‘em.”
– Gary Vaynerchuk  [Tweet this quote.]

“The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
– James Allen  [Tweet this quote.]

“If you pick the right small behavior and sequence it right, then you won’t have to motivate yourself to have it grow. It will just happen naturally, like a good seed planted in a good spot.”
– BJ Fogg  [Tweet this quote.]

“Successful people are simply those with success habits.”
– Brian Tracy  [Tweet this quote.]

“The successful man is the average man, focused.”
– Anonymous  [Tweet this quote.]

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
– Charlie Gilkey  [Tweet this quote.]

“Take full responsibility for your environment and behaviors. Everything you do sets you up for success or puts another obstacle in your way.”
– Craig Ballantyne  [Tweet this quote.]

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
– Flaubert  [Tweet this quote.]

“The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of outward conditions.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson  [Tweet this quote.]

“The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.”
– J. Paul Getty  [Tweet this quote.]

“The 20-Mile March is more than a philosophy. It’s about having concrete, clear, intelligent, and rigorously pursued performance mechanisms that keep you on track. The 20-Mile March creates two types of self-imposed discomfort: (1) the discomfort of unwavering commitment to high performance in difficult conditions, and (2) the discomfort of holding back in good conditions.”
– Jim Collins  [Tweet this quote.]

“The habit of doing more than is necessary can only be earned through practice.”
– Seth Godin  [Tweet this quote.]

“Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.”
– Brian Tracy  [Tweet this quote.]

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
– Aristotle  [Tweet this quote.]

“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
– Benjamin Franklin  [Tweet this quote.]

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”
– John Irving  [Tweet this quote.]

“Freely chosen, discipline is absolute freedom.”
– Ron Serino  [Tweet this quote.]

Step Four: Leave a Legacy

“As a leader, if I can get victory over myself, … , the odds are high I can help fix others. If I can’t fix myself, the odds are high I will never be able to add value to and help others.”
– John Maxwell  [Tweet this quote.]

“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them a fortune.”
– Richard Whately  [Tweet this quote.]

“In early childhood you may lay the foundation of poverty or riches, industry of idleness, good or evil, by the habits to which you train your children. Teach them right habits then, and their future life is safe.”
– Lydia Sigourney  [Tweet this quote.]

“Imagine who you want your kids to become. Be that.”
– Whitney Johnson  [Tweet this quote.]

Freedom isn’t the absence of discipline. It’s having complete trust in your own self-discipline. [Tweet this.]

Unless you can confidently manage yourself, you’ll always look for a boss to tell you what to do. Unless you can trust your financial habits, you’ll never have enough money. Unless you can win the daily battles with procrastination and fear, you’ll always look for ways to escape the regret that plagues you. Unless you can select healthy foods that nourish your body, you’ll always be burdened with fatigue and disease.

To find the precious freedom you’re seeking, you don’t need to be an escape artist or treasure hunter. Instead, you’ll need to become a Master Chef, designing your ideal recipe and carefully selecting each ingredient.

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