This week I’ll discuss the importance of having the right habits. If you want to read more about how to change your current habits and implement new ones, be sure to check out the article written by Naomi Marsidi.
Do you know that feeling when you just fly through the week without being really conscious about it? You are on automatic pilot, not really enjoying the activities you have each day, and just looking out for the weekend. The activities you have to do, whether it is going to work or school or something else, feel obligated. You do these activities with a feeling of ‘I have to’ and not so much with the feeling of ‘I want to’.
Now some of us experience these days more than others. I found myself living like this in the past, looking for meaning in the activities that I had to do, yet, not being able to do so. I found it difficult to feel excited about work and school and it felt like I had so much obligations. It made me feel like life was meaningless sometimes. As if I was a robot doing things that I was ‘supposed’ to do. Because I could not find meaning in what I was doing, it cost a lot more energy to do it in the first place.
If we go through life without thinking about why we do the things that we do, and we do them because we think that we ‘have to’, we can feel trapped. It can make us feel like we are going to live like this forever. It is comfortable to a certain point knowing what your life is going to look like for the next couple of years. But I believe it is a lot less exciting.
‘Without an element of uncertainty life is a meaningless game’
– John Galsworthy
How come there are people out there that seem to make the most out of their lives? What is it that they do? I started looking into this, and discovered a lot of them had habits that helped them maintain a continuous personal-development and growth. A continuous search for new things to do, to experience, and to grow from.
A habit is routine behaviour that occurs automatically and almost always without us being conscious of it. When we tie our shoe laces, most of the time we can do this automatically without even thinking about it. The same goes for brushing our teeth. These are beneficial habits, however, we can also have habits that harm us or interfere with our goals. Like having a habit for snoozing the alarm clock or eating junk food.
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit’
I am not judging anyone, and I find myself to be guilty of both examples on some occasions. However, if you want to start eating healthier and waking up earlier you need to change those habits! This goes for all behaviours. I am not suggesting that we should change anything, but if we want to improve our lives we need to do something different.
The things we do and know are what keeps us in the same place. If we want to grow, to improve, we need to learn new things and do new things. Therefore changing a behaviour requires us to do something new, something out of our comfort zone. This can be scary and brings a level of uncertainty with it.
Changing our habits might sound difficult, and it definitely can be. Yet, it can be done with key ingredients being: planning, analysing, commitment, and consistency. I am going to repeat myself here, but if you want to read more about HOW to change your habits, check out this article.
‘Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you can become’
– Inky Johnson
What we do consistently, automatically, are our habits. If we decide to make a change in our life, at first we might be able to do so. However, once the energy of a new exciting thing wears off, we tend to slag or quit completely. If we do this a couple of times, we can actually make a habit out of starting things and quitting on them. So instead of starting a new healthy habit that we feel can improve our lives, we are actually strengthening the habit of starting something and quitting it.
This is why consistency is such a huge key factor in changing a habit. It is not realistic to expect from yourself that you are going to change your habits in one day. Give yourself time. There are going to be some days that you are going to find it easier to practice the new behaviour, and other days are going to be more challenging. If you remain consistent with the process, you will eventually form a new habit.
If you think about your purpose, your goals, and what you have to do to achieve these goals, then you can make a plan. I started to think about what daily habits I need to have that bring me closer to, or help me with, my goals. Achieving those goals will get me closer to achieving my purpose. I am in the process of creating habits that prioritize what is important for me. I believe it to be a process, because the things I know and do now will only get me so far. If I reach a new level of comfort, I will have to change certain habits again.
‘Don’t make a habit out of choosing what feels good over what’s actually good for you’
– Eric Thomas
When I have my bad days, where I am not feeling my best at all, my habits help me to keep going. When I feel sick or have low energy, I trust myself in the plan I have already laid out in front of me. I do not have to think about the steps, so I save some energy there. The only thing I have to do now is follow the steps I have already thought of for myself when I was in good mental state. This is why I can keep making the most out of my days when I do not feel well mentally and/or physically.
I want to end this blogpost by suggesting that you think about what it is that you are trying to achieve. What are your goals? And how are your current habits helping you to achieve them? I am curious to know what your thoughts are on this subject. Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message!