Early in my coaching years, we delved into the concept of habits.  Everyone is disciplined 100% to their existing habits.  The problem is that some habits are good while some are bad. The difference between people who achieve success and those who do not usually boils down to their habits.

How does one go about changing a habit?  A habit usually takes 21 days to establish.  Only one habit should be tackled at a time, which means that throughout the year, you can change or establish up to 17 habits.  It takes mental – and sometimes physical – effort but it can be done.

I’ve changed many habits since I started working with a coaching program in 1991.  On occasion, I slip back into my old ways but for the most part, these habits have become part of my character makeup.

I’m embarrassed to say but one of the habits I changed was to stop using vulgar language.  I carried a pad of paper with me and gave myself a checkmark each time I had a conversation with someone and didn’t use any vulgar language.  If you hit 100 checkmarks in 21 days, this enables you to instill a new habit (behaviour) pattern.  Over the years, this really worked for me but I must admit that unfortunately, I have slipped back a few times into my old habit – something to which my team at Wiegers Financial & Benefits can attest.

A second habit I established was to never be late for appointments.  I used to be habitually late for all of my appointments but that was disrespecting other people’s time.  Again, I carried a pad of paper with me and gave myself a checkmark each time I arrived early or on time.  Within 21 days, I earned my 100 checkmarks, and established a new habit.

You can change pretty much any habit if you put your mind to it.  This can be in any area of your life.  If you want to have this happen, start by making a list of what you want to change.  Prioritize which of them to tackle first.  Carry a notepad and give yourself a checkmark each time you are behaving or carrying out the activities you want to do.  If you hit 100 checkmarks in 21 days, you will have established a new habit in your life.

Hope you’ll join me for the next edition of Intentional Success.


Clifford A. Wiegers, CFP, TEP, Ch.F.C., CLU, B.Comm.

Insurance Representative, Wiegers Financial and Insurance Planning Services Ltd.

Financial Planner, Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those of Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc.  Mutual funds are offered through Manulife Securities Investment Services Inc. Insurance products and services are offered through Wiegers Financial & Insurance Planning Services Ltd. Banking products and services are offered by referral arrangements through our related company Manulife Bank of Canada.