The Fastest Way to Change Your Life

Blog - Fastest Way


Have you ever had an A-HA moment? A moment of clarity and resonance? When someone put simple words to something that you always believed, but could not explain?

I had one of those moments last week as I was listening to a podcast. It was an interview with Tom Ziglar, who was promoting his new book, "Choose to Win." Tom is the son of the famed self-help guru Zig Ziglar and CEO of the Ziglar Inc. In the interview, Tom relayed a story about how a question from a young workshop attendee helped him formulate the foundational principle for his new book. 

At the Ziglar Success Workshop, Tom had only a few minutes to take questions from the audience just before the break. An eager and impatient young man in his early twenties stood up and brashly asked a simple question, "What's the fastest way to success?"

Tom had never heard that question before. The foundation of the Ziglar philosophy is that true success comes from a life of legacy, integrity, and helping people. Tom was a bit annoyed at that "short-cut" question. He wanted to give him a quick "brush off" answer and move on to a more serious question. This was his answer:

"The quickest way to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit. Next question."

Tom moved on and answered more questions. Then they took a break before the next session. When it was time to start the workshop again, the organizer of the event gathered everyone together and got everyone's attention. 

He said, "Ladies and gentlemen, you've just heard life-changing advice from Tom. And most of you missed it. Get out your pens and write this down. 'The fastest way to success is to replace your bad habits with good habits.'"

Tom was off to the side of the stage when he heard the emcee quote him. Tom thought to himself, "That's a really good quote. Did I really say that?" He even got out his own notebook to write down his own quote. Then when he had some time to think about what he said, he asked himself, "Where did I get that thought from? Surely I must have stolen that quote from my father or another famous person." 

He did a little research and he discovered that, even though people spoke about the relationship of success and habits, no one had before had made the statement that, "the fastest way to success is to replace a bad habit with a good habit." That's when he started writing the book, "Choose to Win" (which is a word-play connected with his father's best-seller, "Born to Win).

When I heard this interview, that statement about replacing bad habits with good habits resonated with me in a deep way. I've been studying, teaching, and writing about the importance of creating good habits for years now. I immediately went onto Amazon and downloaded the book. I'm not all the way done with it yet, but I already got my money's worth from the first few chapters.

For me, concise, simple statements are very meaningful because they are portable and transferable. With Tom's permission, I will be using and passing on Tom's statement about habits from now on. But I will have to change a couple words to adapt it to my own context. I'm not a "business and success coach."  I'm a pastor, teacher, and life coach that helps people make positive change in their own lives. I believe Tom's lesson about the fastest way to success can be adapted to also apply to personal development and life change.

So this is my adaptation of Tom's "Choose to Win" statement:

"The fastest way to change your life is to replace a bad habit with a good habit."

There. I like that statement. It fits like a well-worn sweater. Wisdom like this is valuable because it's clear, concise, practical, and effective. Tom, thanks for the inspiration.

What do you think about that statement? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Dr. Thien Doan has currently beta-testing a brand new personal development resource called "The Intentional Life Blueprint: Personal Development from a Biblical Perspective."  The goal of this online coaching community is to help Christians find purpose, overcome obstacles, be inspired, and receive encouragement so they experience the abundant life God has planned for them. If you want to find out more about the Intentional Life Blueprint, go to