How To Develop Good Habits
They say that if you want to form a habit, it takes around 21 days of doing it each day. Here are some tips on how to develop good habits this year. These are the kind of habits that will affect both your health and your happiness.
These are things that we all make, whether at the beginning of a year or as in a lot of cases on a Monday when we announce the start of a new eating and exercise plan.
Making a resolution is the beginning stage when it comes to how to develop good habits.
Unfortunately, resolutions don’t normally last long. This happens because we lose motivation or because the frenzy of life around us leaves us little or no time to think about them.
Hopefully, this article will motivate and encourage you to not only gather your thoughts but also act on them. Habits are hard work but take it one step at a time and you will learn how to develop good habits this year.
Hopefully, by this time next year, you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. Keep a diary and note any improvements that you feel as you go along.
If you have a happy and healthy head, heart, body, and soul, the world will be yours to grab with both hands.
Shape Your Life
If you want to start with your quest on how to develop good habits, I challenge you to spend some time thinking how you can start shaping your life.
If you can find even a few things to work on each day for a month, then you could make the positive change become a habit, which ultimately can be integrated into your life.
Remember that changing behavior is not an instantaneous event, but a process.
You need to ask yourself what positive lifestyle choices you are making every day and whether these are optimising the quality of your life in any way.
Choosing to be physically active for example is a good choice to work on and one of the best health changes that you can make to your life.
It isn’t as difficult as it seems. If you simply do 30 minutes of moderately vigorous exercise most days of the week and two sessions of strengthening exercises a week, you will get substantial health benefits, both inside and out. Sadly most people don’t ever get around to developing this very important habit.
It’s In Your Head
Developing new habits starts in your head, as it’s your stress control center and source of power.
We are often really critical of ourselves. We tell ourselves things like:
- I’m too fat
- I’m not clever
- I always do this
- I hate my note
Self-criticism and self-hatred can be really destructive.
Here are some simple things to start working on:
- Be kind to yourself.
- If you make a mistake, accept it as that, take responsibility and then move on past it and learn from it.
- Remind yourself each day of the positive things in your life. Repeat them each day in front of your mirror, while you are driving or even when you are falling asleep.
- Remember a time when you felt super confident, and use that to feel self-assured.
- Accept your imperfections and then simply focus on improving the faults that you can. Remember, nobody is perfect.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Value yourself as a person. You are special, so spoil yourself and make yourself feel special.
- If people around you are putting you down, break ties with them.
- Try a new hairstyle or wardrobe to boost your confidence.
- Easier said than done but eliminate those negative thoughts. It starts by watching what comes out of your mouth.
Ask. yourself these – How confident am I as a person. If you are not confident, can you answer why not? Ask yourself what makes you feel confident, and lastly, make a list of things that you can do to build your confidence.
Obviously, nobody can eliminate stress altogether. The trick is learning how to manage it better and how to use stress to help you.
Here are some things you can do to help manage stress:
- If you are faced with a dilemma, stop a moment, breath and then focus. Now handle the problem at hand in the best way you know how and don’t expect miracles.
- Get at least 30 minutes of cardio activity a day, as stress depletes the body’s store of serotonin, but exercise helps us to make the best use of the serotonin that we do have. Try to get that exercise outdoors as much as possible, as natural light is a good de-stressor.
- Surround yourself with positive people as stress is easily absorbed from those who are negative.
- Make sure that you are taking extra vitamins. B1, B2, B12, folic acid, Selenium and vitamin D in winter are the essentials.
- A neck and shoulder massage does wonders for eliminating stress. Book one for yourself at least once a month.
Try and answer these questions:
- I stress about……
- I know I’m stressed when…….
- I cope with my stress by……..
- My key stress triggers are…………….
One of the best reasons to keep learning something new is that it exercises your brain. Keeping your brain active and challenged when you are young will help in the long run to prevent age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Here are some ways to keep growing your knowledge:
- Do crosswords or learn how to play a new game.
- Download some brain game apps. They only take five minutes of your time each day.
- Before you go on your next overseas trip, try and learn some of the language of the place you will be visiting.
- Find a new hobby and learn everything there is to know about it.
- Start a blog. You can start one here for free.
Remember that knowledge is power, and the more you can learn, the more choices you have at your disposal in life.
Planning your time makes all the difference in productivity and stress relief.
We all at some point feel like we don’t have enough time to…..
But most of the time perceived lack of time is almost always due to poor time management.
Be really honest with yourself. How good are you at prioritizing your responsibilities? How much time do you allocate to your tasks and then actually spend that time completing them?
Because making time work for you can be difficult, it is necessary to take baby steps.
Try the following:
- Work in a tidy space. Clutter can lead to a cluttered mind. It is so easy to get distracted when there are tons of things lying about, which makes it difficult to focus on the task at hand.
- Arrange your tasks into blocks of time. You could, for instance, spend 60 minutes on something without stopping. Then take a 5 – 10-minute break where you could take a walk or fetch some water. Then get going again on the same or next task. There are lots of apps you can download that can alert you when your time is up which are very useful.
- Don’t try and overburden yourself with too many tasks as this just leads to frustration and insufficient time to complete them. Learn to pace yourself and set realistic goals and deadlines.
- Beat Procrastination. No job gets any more pleasant by postponing it.
- Identify your biggest time thieves. It could be something like watching too much TV or looking at FaceBook for hours.
- Remember to block some time off every day to do something that you enjoy. Life isn’t all about work and no play.
Cherish and Nurture Yourself
Part of the learning curve of how to develop good habits, you need to be true to your emotions.
If you are happy, laugh, if you are upset cry and if you are angry let it out (without upsetting others of course.)
Acknowledging your emotions can be liberating and a great stress reliever. You will feel better about it and if you are a bit uncomfortable with your emotional responses you could try the following:
- Sit in a quiet room and think about how you are feeling. Write those feelings down and then read over them.
- Talk to a trusted friend about your feelings.
- Look in the mirror and talk to yourself about how you are feeling and what you would say to the person who evoked those emotions.
- If alone you could scream out loud or laugh out loud – whatever you are feeling – just let it out!
- Do some good deeds. There is nothing like doing a kindness for somebody else to release those feel-good emotions.
- Spend some time with small children and watch how they respond emotionally. By watching them we realize just how many restrictions we place on ourselves.
Reaffirm Your Relationships
Relationships, no matter which type are hard work, but every relationship that you have needs attention. We sometimes tend to take our closest relationships for granted and when they break down, we’re surprised and heartbroken.
Keep the magic alive by doing the following:
- Pick up the phone today and make a date with your best girlfriend. It could be anything from going to a movie, a day at the spa or to share a cup of coffee somewhere.
- Give a loved one a hug. It seems simple but touch is the first sense to develop the embryo and it stimulates the release of feel-good endorphins.
- At work, your relationships with work colleagues can have a profound impact on your job satisfaction. Stick to these rules in the workplace and you shouldn’t have a problem: leave romance at home, respect others workspace, keep the noise levels down and don’t gossip.
Try answering the following questions:
- How can I improve my relationship with my family?
- What do you love most about your partner?
- How can you be a better friend?
- How can I interact more harmoniously with my work colleagues?
Either Find Time To Take Care Of Yourself, Or Find Time to Nurse Illness
Exercise is essential for good health, but the best news is that you don’t have to become a gym bunny to reap the health benefits.
Just get into the habit of doing 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise at least five days a week (as mentioned above). Here are some tips on how to develop good habits when it comes to exercise:
- Just as you schedule your business meetings, schedule time for your exercise. This is an excellent way on how to develop good habits, as just scheduling it will start to become a habit.
- If you have a workout buddy, you can motivate each other and push each other to go the extra mile.
- Start an exercise diary to keep track of your progress and keep you motivated.
- Try being more active during the day, like climbing up stairs instead of using the elevator, or walking to the shops instead of driving.
- If you get bored while you exercise, listen to music, set fun goals or change up your routine and do something active that you enjoy.
Get That Energy Back
Our energy levels determine how we operate. If you don’t have energy, you feel sluggish, tired and depressed. If you have too much of it, on the other hand, you will find it difficult to concentrate and perform.
Here are some energy tips:
- Believe it or not, if you exercise you will have more energy.
- Colours give you energy. If you are feeling lethargic, surround yourself with turquoise, yellow and orange. Even some fresh flowers will stimulate mental activity.
- Eat a balanced diet. Choose fresh foods where possible. Graze rather than gorge by eating smaller meals throughout the day.
- Watch your weight. Carrying less fat means you will have more energy for other things.
- If you are really feeling sluggish, try upping your chromium intake for a bit.
We all want happiness in life, although most psychologists agree that happiness is not a constant, but a cycle of life.
If we can accept that life has its ups and downs, and yet remain hopeful and retain our faith, we are guaranteed more sunshine than gloom in our world. Happiness doesn’t always come easily, and our will and attitude will mostly determine how much of it we have.
In conclusion, here are some points to ponder when changing your life and working out for yourself how to develop good habits:
- Take control of your life. Never make decisions that you are uncomfortable with, just because somebody expects you to or wants you to.
- Be open to new ideas. Explore deeper meaning in your life. Explore spirituality and discover what inner peace means to you.
- Take care of yourself before you take care of others. Being at peace with yourself gives you the emotional energy to deal with others’ troubles.
- Acknowledge your emotions, or you will never fully understand what happiness feels like.
- Lastly, remember that it is ok to say no. Don’t try and please everyone. Your happiness is directly affected by your stress levels. If you are saying yes to more work than you can cope with it will just end up with you being exhausted and you will feel resentful.
Let me know by commenting below if you have any additions on how to develop good habits that are for keeps.