Your daily routine influences your life’s direction and how confident you feel in getting to where you want to go. Most of us get stuck in the grind of the day-to-day slog. The following good habits essay aims to help you get to where you want to go.
Defining good habits
According to Wikipedia, “a habit is a routine
of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.”
Without habitual processes, “we could not accomplish everyday tasks as each little act, like tying our shoes or dressing ourselves, would require so much conscious effort that we will be exhausted…” explains psychologist and philosopher, William James.
Since habits allow us to perform a series of actions without much cognitive effort, we define good habits as those routines we do ‘on automatic’ and which benefit our quality of life.
Good habits make living a quality life easier!
Here, you’ll find five good habits to consider as daily routines to win at life in our 21st-century craziness.
5 Daily Habits To Improve Life
Habits are not only formed from repetitive behavior, but also from repeated thought, emotion, and perception.
The following list of good habits is suited to everyone, including children and students. Encouraging healthy habits for kids to adopt will serve them well in their journey through life.
Nourish Your Body
These are healthy habits examples that are basic essentials.
Every single day, you should do this one step: Go outside and get a dose of natural light. It will support your circadian rhythm, which helps with mood, learning, and memory as well as a good night’s sleep.
Natural light on our body also produces vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones, and supposedly it helps retain good eye shape for vision.1
Don’t forget the one that’s on every healthy habits list: Eat healthily! Having a healthy diet plan will give your body the nutrients it needs to sustain energy and alertness for a day of success. A plant-based diet is one being recommended today to benefit human health (and the environment).
Spend 5 minutes reflecting. This is not a self-criticism session. But rather, reflecting is one of those daily habits that will improve your mindset because you not only look at what needs changing but also what has been achieved.
Ask: What can I change or not?
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.Søren Kierkegaard
Part of personal development and developing healthy habits of the mind is to start with the one thing about yourself in the present moment that interferes with you achieving your goals.
An example: You might spend time on important tasks yet get distracted because you feel you need to pay attention to social media for five minutes. Before you know it, that time spent ends up much longer than you intended.
Examples Of Habits Good For Mindset
Spending just 5 minutes journaling at the start or end of the day is a powerful tool to open yourself to improvement. Things to journal about:
- Where do you want to be
- A new step towards achieving goals (even a small one)
- Whatever you need to get off your chest
Good habits of a person looking to improve their mindset can also include using a gratitude diary. Here, you enter at least three things to be grateful for each day. After a month of doing this, I noticed a marked difference in my perspective. It is a powerful tool in helping to change bad thought habits formed by your inner critic, which generally gets in the way of anyone’s achievements.
All you need for a gratitude diary is a notebook – it can be digital, but I find hard copy works best for me. Make the writing journal a special one, like a dedicated gratitude journal.
If you find something you are dissatisfied with, look for a solution, find the positive.
If you have bad feelings, acknowledge them, and then visualize putting them in a balloon and it floating out the window – gone!
You now have a clear start for visualizing an improved life. Visualizing is the next part of this habit ‘stack’ – a 10-minute time slot – a small investment for the overall outcome.
Imagination is your best friend, according to Albert Einstein.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere!Albert Einstein
Imagination, in the context of our good habits list, is about visualization, to form a mental picture or concept of you achieving your goals. It is a powerful tool for attracting the conditions you desire.
Spend 5 minutes visualizing how your day will unfold as you would like it. Imagine achieving the desires you’ve just reflected upon and each step in achieving these. Do these with feeling!
Include the things you smell, hear, taste, and see, as well as how you feel emotionally. Get comfortable. Find the perfect cushion.
Creative visualization, while at this Alpha level, is potent for manifesting desired conditions in your life.
Many successful professionals in the health, education, business, sports, and creative arts use this technique to succeed.
Don’t take my word for it. Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life has sold millions of copies.
Creative visualization might seem out there, but it works. Be patient and continue practicing. Especially use it during meditation for manifesting your goals.
As Shakti Gawain noted, “…we always attract into our lives whatever we think about the most, believe in most strongly, EXPECT on the deepest levels, and/or imagine most vividly.”
Shakti Gawain’s bestseller, Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life, has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
My 4P rule applies: patience + persistence + positivity = payoffs.
Move that body
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.Albert Einstein
Humans are built to move and to be in motion and so moving is a habit of life.
Sadly, in the 21st century, we sit more and move less. I always remember the jelly-like humans in the movie, WALL-E.
Reasons to make movement a habit:
- Movement increases oxygen to the brain
- Helps with focus and concentration
- Increases your overall productivity
- Helps with digestion
- It is a natural mood enhancer
Think about introducing more incidental movement into your day, like getting up from your desk for a drink of water or discussions face-to-face rather than email.
Try doing stretches at your workstation. Yoga stretches can be incorporated.
Schedule in motion at lunchtime, before work or as an after-work activity. Walk among the trees in the park at lunchtime, for example.
There are a variety of outdoor activities to do at night that involves moving the body and shifting the mind as well, e.g., stargazing.
To keep the positive energy flowing…
Consider Fung Shui, simply moving furniture or home décor will shift blocked energy and increase energy flow.
You know the saying: “Change is as good as a holiday”.
While too much movement can be stressful, a certain amount is necessary for energy to flow and to remove blockages to shift the ‘tired’ and stale.
Have faith – Believe in Yourself
Faith is complete trust that you are supported in reaching your goals and that everything will be okay. It remedies the worry and stresses in our work, our relationships, our homes, our lives, and stops cortisol and other stress-related chemicals affecting our bodies.
We can not always rely on support from our superiors or peers. And, it’s unfair to expect our loved ones to provide such at all times.
Having faith is a way of leaving our worries to someone else (be that God, or a higher source of intelligence or ultra being, in your mind). We gain courage and inner strength.
Some people use affirmations. Some people like to pray. There is much evidence supporting the value of prayer, and scientifically-supported benefits of prayer include:
- Pray helps us with our moods and emotions (Ref)
- Instills a sense of loving and belonging (Ref)
- Increases trust and optimism about the future (Ref)
- Helps us cope with stress and trauma (Ref)
- Has health benefits (Ref)
- Cultivates gratitude (Ref)
If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered ― Alexis Carrel
Believe In Yourself
Remember…Jedi Master Yoda’s reply in the Empire Strikes Back:
When Luke Skywalker’s exclaimed: “I don’t believe it!”
Yoda replied: “that…is why you fail.”
Believe. Expect that your world will be as it should. This is a mindset.
You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and EXPECT to win ― Zig Ziglar
The power of expectancy is strong. Believe in it!
You are limited by what you believe and your habits…
It is seen in personal bests of weightlifters, in people mimicking their avatars, and even with wine tasting.
It’s a mindset.
- Expect a little miracle
- Expect a little help
- Expect it to be easy
~ The Universe
According to Mark Manson, the reason we fail is that “The mind’s unconscious beliefs about possibilities inform the level of effort and expectation of success from the body’s behavior.”
Manson’s latest book, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is entertaining and has valuable insight. He gives some of his own experiences.
forming A New habit
Developing new habits is not easy.
A new habit will take a minimum of 21 days to form according to Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life.
However, research shows it’s more likely to be two months before a new behavior becomes automated — 66 days on average to be sure.
Persistence is the key. Remember my 4P rule I mentioned above.
How to Practice Good Habits
How to make something a habit? In simple terms, it is to repeat it enough times that it becomes second nature.
A habit tracker will help keep an account of the repeats. You can also reflect on what you’ve achieved. In this way, it’s a good motivational tool.
Steps in developing good habits…
Here’s a simple step-by-step:
Step 1: Choose an anchor that will trigger you to start the activity, feeling, perception, or thought that you want to make a habit. For example, cleaning teeth can be an anchor to meditate next.
Step 2: Try stacking your habits. Decide on the flow of your habit stack, e.g., reflect, then pray, then meditate or pray, reflect, then meditate.
For the stack suggested in this article:
- Find a quiet place, position, and space where you feel safe and comfortable. This can be kneeling, sitting, standing or walking.
- Have a journal or other writing material handy for reflections and gratitude journaling.
- Practice stilling your mind. Meditation will create the right environment for visualizations.
Step 3: Keep a track of your efforts each day (a habit tracker is used for this) as this will help keep you motivated and committed to forming the habits.
- The hardest part is to practice the habits every day. It’s tempting to say: “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy”. That’s the ego. The inner knowing voice says “make time!”
- Try swapping the daily news (which is often negative and misleading), 15 min on FB or on Netflix with your habit stack or any from your good habits list.
- A good habits app will help. A Way of Life is one app that helps with habits.
Quitting bad habits
A behavior or routine that is repeated regularly and which causes harm to you or others in the short or long term is my ‘bad habit’ definition.
There are plenty of examples of bad habits. On my personal list of bad habits …was smoking. I started this when I was 14.
It’s one of those common bad habits that you find hard to break because you associate it with socializing, finishing off a meal, and partaking of a coffee or work break.
I remember when my dad quit smoking (as strong-willed as he was) he replaced it with snacking, aka ‘bad’ eating habits. He gained weight and it wasn’t long before he suffered a heart attack. He then had to switch to a strict low-cholesterol diet for life.
So to quit smoking, I learned I needed to form healthy lifestyle habits at the same time.
Instead of reaching for that smoke, I would go for a walk, drink a glass of water, eat a piece of fruit, or take a shower.
I made new associations, ditching the cigarette that had long been my prop, my sidekick.
It took conscious effort in breaking my habit of reaching for that cigarette when the urge arose. But, I did it.
No joking, it takes commitment and persistence in breaking bad habits. But, change your habits, change your life.
How to break bad habits? How to form good ones?
It is not easy to quit or stop bad habits and the same applies to the forming of good ones.
What’s your best or worst habit?
Have you some bad habits you’ve broken? How hard was that?
- Williams KM, Bentham GCG, Young IS, et al. Association Between Myopia, Ultraviolet B Radiation Exposure, Serum Vitamin D Concentrations, and Genetic Polymorphisms in Vitamin D Metabolic Pathways in a Multicountry European Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017;135(1):47–53. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.4752