When you hear the word habit, I bet your mind automatically starts to think about all of the bad habits that you have developed and how difficult they are to break. Well let me bring you some good news. You don’t need to dwell on your old habits. If you want to make changes in your life, you can focus on creating new and more life-enhancing habits instead.
Many of the habits we form are to make our life easier and to stop us having to think about endless choices. They tend to be actions with little conscious energy attached to them and therefore are the easy option. But if we do not review our habits regularly and question whether they are serving our best interests, they can become our prisoners, stopping us from being able to move on and find new ways of expressing ourselves. We can consider a habit as bad for us, when we know it leads to feelings of unhappiness, worthlessness or dissatisfaction. Whatever the reason for the compulsion to follow an unhealthy habit, we need to find the will to create new ones to take their place.
What new habits could you start today?
The good news is that habits can be very easy to create. We need to focus less on the effort of breaking bad or unhealthy habits and more on creating new ones, which will no longer be compatible with the old ones. This is a much gentler and supportive way to bring about change without using a negative or judgemental inner voice, which is often applied to ‘break’ bad habits.
Ask yourself what one thing can you start to do for yourself today, which will make a big difference to you and your life? If it is achievable and you can see a definite reward in doing this habit, set your intention to start it straight away.
Whatever area of your life is asking for your attention, commit to a new habit to support it for three weeks. If it hasn’t worked, don’t get disheartened or give up; simply try a different habit! Keep going until you find one, which works for you and when it does work, stick to it. Over time you will see that crowding out the old habits with the new habits is the best form of change you can make.
Here are some simple habits that will help you
- Write down your goals. This simple act of writing something down gives it a solidity, that we cannot achieve by merely thinking it. In the same way as we might write down goals for work, we need to write them down for life. Target 2 – 3 goals that you would like to achieve over the next three months.
- Start a gratitude Journal. Being grateful for the little things in life, opens us up to receive much bigger benefits. We don’t know exactly how it works, but the theory runs something like this: if we give out the frequency of gratitude to the universe, it responds by giving us more and more things to be grateful for. Now what greater incentive for a new habit do you need? This one is a win/ win.
- Start your day as you mean to go on. One of the most influential times to set our thoughts, emotions and habits in train for the day is when we first wake up. Just as we transition from dream state to our waking state, our ego mind wakes up and starts babbling lots of thoughts about what we should, could or will do for the day. Instead of allowing your mind to go on to auto-pilot in this way, stop, breathe and set your intention for the day. Intend a positive day by repeating a phrase such as: ‘Today is going to be a great day’ or ‘I will take every opportunity to make this a happy and positive day’.
If you’d like a little more help in developing some new life-enhancing habits, download the worksheet below that will help you on your way.