Listen to this episode of the Focus with Marlene Podcast:
Get caught up with all episodes in the Moving Beyond Survival series.
This month, we have reflected on and became aware of our habits, both habits of thinking and habits of behaviors.
Go back and review the answers you gave to the questions asked in each of the four previous blog posts:
- How to Replace Bad Habits With Beneficial Habits
- Changing Negative Habits Formed During Childhood
- How to Replace Critical Self-Talk with Affirmations
- 4 Ways Habits Are Created
Which habits grabbed your attention?
Which current habits are helpful, and which are not?
Look at your list of potential habit changes and prioritize them. Which one would benefit you the most?
Any habit change requires starting small.
You may have two or three habits you want to start working on. Choose one. If you work on more than one at a time, you can quickly find yourself struggling to be consistent.
Begin by establishing an easy-to-follow daily routine.
What habits do you currently have that make it easy to maintain that routine?
Now choose a habit you want to replace or start and find a slot in that routine where you will most likely follow through.
Set up your environment and a cue to get your attention. For example, you want to walk or run every day. Take your shoes out of the closet and put them somewhere where you see them. Your cue will be the time you have designated. The shoes are in the environment waiting to be put on.
As you plan, remind yourself of the rewards you will receive. Many of them will be long-term rewards, such as better health. But you will begin to experience more immediate rewards too. You will feel better and more positive and energetic.
I bundle easy-to-do tasks together with other things.
For example, while fixing my breakfast, I do other necessary routine tasks in the kitchen. Sometimes, while preparing a meal, I do simple exercises such as stretching, knee bends, etc. In bundling them together, they get done without a lot of special consideration or extra time.
When planning your routine, don’t forget to include time-outs and relaxation and recreation times. I have a morning ritual that allows me to have my cup of morning coffee before I go to work in my office.
Don’t underrate the importance of your environment.
Design it for success. Certain behaviors will repeat themselves in certain environmental conditions.
What we see, we reach for.
Visual cues are the greatest catalyst of our behavior. A small change in what we see can lead to a big shift in what we do. If you are constantly distracted by your phone, put it away and designate a time to review calls.
If the environment of your home or office is always messy and chaotic, take time to organize and find a place for things. Enjoy how nice it looks and the ease of finding what you want.
Setting up such an environment can be the motivation to put things away at the end of each day before it becomes a mess. That can soon become a habit.
When you begin to make the habit changes that free you from procrastination or wasted time, you will find yourself becoming energized and motivated.
Habits happen with repetition. At some point they become instinctive. But in the beginning, it is important to be consistent.
As you move further towards a new productive and exciting life, consider the following.
- Make a list of the expectations or prospects you had for your life when you left home. How many of them came to pass? What factors kept them from happening? What new habits will help you reestablish your earlier goals or make even greater ones?
- What expectations do you have for your future? What will you do to help bring that about? How will those expectations require adjustment when you hit roadblocks?
- Create a vision of yourself moving forward. Close your eyes and see yourself doing the things you want to do. Keep that image in the forefront every day.
- Believe that you can make it. Go back and listen to the podcast episode on your inner critic. Challenge it every day. Put in place critical thinking.
- Review your achievements every day. Congratulate yourself for every little step you make. Don’t minimize any of them. It takes courage and determination to put new productive habits in place.
The following are books you might like to read that speak to habit changes and the enormous difference it can have in your life.
How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where you Want to Be, by Katy Milkman and Angela Duckworth
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg