A life filled with good habits is a life well lived. Whether good or bad, a habit is something that comes naturally. We don't really think about it. We just do it. While it is habitual for one person to watch TV until late at night and get up with just enough time to get ready for work, it is within the lifestyle of another to be in bed early enough so they can get up early for their morning workout. Neither of these people necessarily think through these actions much. They just do them.
Bad Habits Are Easy to Form
It's easy to develop habits that are enjoyable from the start, such as eating chocolate and sitting on the couch watching TV. There's no discomfort in doing things that cater to our pleasure center and don't require any effort. Just to be clear, there's certainly nothing wrong with relaxing on the couch and I pity the fool who endeavors to take chocolate out of MY hand. However, I think we can all agree that too much of either of these is not a good thing.
Good Habits Take Perseverance to Achieve
When a life improving activity takes us out of our comfort zone, it is generally not something our lazy self wants to implement. We have to force ourselves do it at first. If it is not in your nature to eat even one piece of fresh fruit a day, developing the habit of doing so will take some effort. And yet, when you take the steps to incorporate good habits into your life, with perseverance and time they start to become second nature. Without even knowing it, one day you realize you've formed a nifty habit. You go, girl!
30 Days to Develop a Habit
Consistency is key. If you're trying to make something habit, you must repeat that good activity (or avoid a not so good one) for a period of time. You may have heard it takes 21 days to develop a habit, yet I think you'll find it difficult to find an actual study on that specific time frame. While some easier to acquire habits may begin to take hold by 21 days, 30 days is a better minimum goal, and 60 days or longer will even more firmly cement a new activity into your lifestyle. Basically, the longer you do something, the more habitual it becomes until it's second nature. Having said that, 30 days is a great place to start. You can do anything for 30 days, right?
10 Tips to make a New Habit ... a habit!
- Decide on a doable habit to form - Adapt to something small before moving on to something more grand.
- Create a goal - Plan to repeat your life improving activity for at least 30 days.
- Write down the benefits - How will the new habit benefit you and possibly others?
- Remind yourself of the benefits - Do this as often as you need motivation.
- Provide reminders to do it - Use sticky notes, cell phone reminders, etc.
- Plan ahead - If you intend to eat more fresh fruit each day, be sure to keep some on hand.
- Reward yourself - This can be anything from small daily perks to a big en-of-30-day shopping spree.
- If you mess up - Don't beat yourself up or use that as a reason to quit.
- Go for consistency - It doesn't have to be done well. Focus on acquiring the habit, then work on performance.
- Buddy up - Get a friend to develop the same habit or one of their own. Keep each other accountable.
List of Good Habits to Make
While implementing a significant habit can be big and life changing, often it's the small things that accumulate to big changes in the long run. From health choices to how we spend our time, here are some ideas to get you thinking.
- Eat less fast food
- Add one or more veggies to your current daily intake
- Choose one form of exercise to implement, even if it's just a walk around the block
- Include coconut oil into your cooking routine
- Reduce your alcohol and/or sugar intake
- Get an appropriate amount of sleep every night
- Wipe the dust off your juicer and use it
- Love your husband or boyfriend with their love language
- Make your guy a priority
- Take your kids to the park
- Play baseball with your son
- Bake with your daughter (or play baseball with her and bake with him!)
- Say something encouraging to each family member every day
- Be slow to speak and slow to anger
- Wash and moisturize your face every morning and night
- Exfoliate consistently, as is appropriate for your skin and age
- Condition your hair with a deep conditioner, such as all natural coconut oil
- If you feel your best with make up, take five minutes a day to apply
- Schedule a routine mani/pedi, or keep supplies handy to do it yourself
- Make your bed every day
- Keep your bathroom counter clutter free
- Do one house cleaning chore a day
- Keep the mail from piling up
Time Management Habits
- Watch less TV
- Go to bed earlier
- Get up earlier
- Spend less time on Facebook, surfing the internet, texting, etc.
Quality Time Filling Habits
- Cook more
- Learn or improve a skill, such as oil painting, dancing or playing an instrument
- Read a book, such as Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits by Joyce Meyers
- Go to your kid's soccer games
- Set aside a block of time each day to organize something
One Habit at a Time
In my own life, I have developed some life changing habits that happened one at a time. I used to eat way too much fast food, and I'm not talking about the healthier options like salads. Now I consume it far less often and don't nearly enjoy the taste of some of the foods of "questionable quality" that I used to love. I'm more picky with which fast food eateries I choose these days. I've also learned to incorporate more fruits and veggies intomy lifestyle, something that lacked considerably. One simple way was bygetting into the habit of making veggie omelets or egg and veggie burritos.
Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits
Joyce Meyer's book, Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits, rates highly with Amazon reviewers. It's worth a read if you want to dig a little deeper and find further inspiration and become the best you you can be.
You Can Do It!
I challenge you to choose a habit you'd like to incorporate into your lifestyle. Make it something simple and doable and then build on it one small change at a time. Commit to implementing it for at least 30 days and reap the rewards of having improved your life. Then choose another habit to develop. By doing this, you'll become a trifle more amazing each day and before your know it, you'll be more phenomenal than ever!
Written by Jenna Dawn ©2013
Photos provided by freedigitalphotos.net