I've heard it a million times, "There are no shortcuts in life".
This was obvious to me, yet I wasn't acting like it.
I finally really "got it" when I read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy.
Where you end up in life is not in the Herculean blitzes of work but the everyday mundane choices and habits the don't just accumulate but compound.
1. Your Actions Don't Just Accumulate but Compound
The human mind thinks linearly: 1+1 = 2 type of thinking. When we sneak in junk food and think we can recover it later, we don't realize that after you've added up enough calories getting rid of them is not an act of subtraction. The added calories have added interest that now take much longer to get rid of. You can also use this for your benefit, cultivating positive qualities knowing that they will not only add up but compound.
2. You reach adulthood when you take 100% responsibility of your life.
There are endless things to complain about: your childhood, the weather, your family, etc. As soon as you blame others for where you are, you're giving up control over your life. When you own up on everything in your life, then you will never be the same. This is essentially the foundation.
3. Track your behavior to create awareness around your choices
Once you acknowledge the compound effect, the next logical move is to create positive actions that will compound. An effective way to eliminate it is by tracking a nagging habit. I acknowledge that I tend to sleep later than I want, but only now do I know how frequently that occurs. I would of never known it I hadn't tracked the times I sleep.