Creating good habits is something people talk about a lot. So is the elimination of bad habits. Before you can start to create or eliminate it is important to understand the habits you have already.
What bad habits do you have?
Are you a habitual snacker? Maybe you’re a smoker or drinker. These are some examples of bad habits that people have and these habits are formed over time. But not that much time.
So what about good habits?
When we talk about habits and think about habits we often think about bad habits that we have, what about the good habits? Do you have good habits? Maybe you go for a walk every day. Maybe you spend some time reading every day or spend some time exercising.
Creating good habits starts with eliminating the bad
I have, over the last few years, been trying to eliminate a lot of my bad habits from my life. Many years ago I stopped drinking. I was drinking every day. I got into the habit of consuming alcohol on a daily basis, so I had to stop. Much more recently I stopped smoking because I had gotten myself into the habit of smoking cigarettes on a regular basis.
There’s still more to go, more bad habits that need to be eliminated. For example, I drink too much coffee. A little bit of coffee is good for you, a lot of Coffee is not. And I consume lots of coffee. I also have some dietary habits that are less than good as well. For example, I tend to eat crisps every single day. I have some chocolate every single day. These are habits I’m working through. I’m planning on eliminating them one by one.
Good habits take just as much effort to introduce as the elimination of bad habits
There are some good habits that I would like to introduce, which I am working on introducing into my life. It’s all well and good eliminating the bad habits but if you don’t initiate some good habits then what do you even have left?
As human beings, we actually need habits and routines in our lives. It is something that is part and parcel of our sanity. So, I am working on instilling good habits. I’m getting pretty basic with it. At the moment I’m working on my consumption of water, I don’t consume enough and I am working on making that no longer an issue by increasing my water intake.
Another good habit I’m trying to bring into my life is exercise. I’m not talking about pumping iron and the gym, I’m just not capable anymore. I am talking about walking and things like that. I have been doing some exercises Tai Chi inspired exercises recently that I have been doing every day. So I have woven that into the fabric of my day to day routine and has become a habit.
Creating good habits, how is it done?
How is that actually done, how are habits created? It’s not that difficult, it’s done one day at a time. You do so by setting daily targets, really small and minor targets.
They say it takes around three weeks for a habit to be created. That three weeks, when you’re looking forward, can appear to be quite a long time. I mean, it’s not a long time, but it’s definitely long enough to drop off and start making excuses. Go smaller than that. Create seven-day targets. Over the course of the next seven days state to yourself, “I will…” and then whatever the desired habit may be.
In the instance of doing these exercises, these Tai Chi inspired exercises, I told myself that over the course of the next seven days I will do them every day, twice a day. Then at the end of that seven days, I can stop and assess. I can celebrate. Celebrate the fact that I did it because it gave me that short term goal and it was easy to manage and then after the seven days, I’ve set myself another seven days. Rinse and repeat the cycle. Simple, yes. Easy, not always.
Creating good habits is a mindset issue
If you have a fixed mindset, as in you think of things as being set in stone or you perceive absolutes, then you will likely struggle with both the exclusion of bad habits and inclusion of good habits.
Life is, by its very nature, fluid and dynamic. There are no absolutes, nothing is set in stone, nothing is immutable. If you want to make changes in your life then you need to develop a growth mindset. Basically, you need to shake off your current fantasy of what the world is and envelope yourself in reality. I have previously written about the dangers of a fixed mindset, something that you can view here https://mybizacademy.co.uk/why-a-fixed-mindset-will-kill-you-and-a-growth-mindset-will-set-you-free
For further reading on the differences between a fixed mindset vs a growth mindset have a read of the article at the following link https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/29/carol-dweck-mindset/