Habits are more important than you can ever imagine.
Our lives, since childhood, have been formed from habits. We get up brush our teeth, come our hair a certain way and drive in a certain position every day.
Who we are and want to be, relies on the habits we practice every day.
If you start building a habit of going to the gym, it shows that you see yourself as someone who is fit and healthy.
If you struggle going to the gym, it simply means that you don’t see yourself as someone who is healthy and works out.
Habits grown stronger and stronger over time and become routine.
The simple truth is, if you want to make changes in your life or reach a certain goal, you need to repeatedly complete a certain task until it becomes part of your natural routine.
You need to create the things you want in life through habit, they won’t just happen.
Although it would seem that some people seem to have their sh*t together, this unfortunately didn’t happen overnight.
Habits are created over time, not overnight. It’s important to stick with them and make it part of your daily routine.
Here are the best habits your can start building now to set yourself up for the best year. Start now!
1. Challenge inner critic
Many of us are challenged everyday by that nagging voice telling us we aren’t good enough and reminds you constantly of your failures.
This inner critic often stops us from taking the steps necessary to accomplish our goals.
All it does is waste your time and create a wave of negativity that can affect the things you do on a daily basis. Thus, doing more harm than good.
Criticism, whether inside or outside, can often have the opposite effect on motivation.
Now, you definitely shouldn’t ignore your challenges in your life, instead you should use them to fuel you to either working harder or working smarter.
Turning the negatives into positives sounds like a cliche, but it couldn’t be more true.
When a negative thought pops up in your head, challenge it. Ask yourself how self criticism affect me personally?
Try an adapt your thoughts to work around how your inner critic affects you.
You should always be in a scenario where YOU always win, not your inner critic. When your critic fires out negative lines, ask yourself:
- What does my inner critic know?
- What’s the worst that could happen?
- What advice would I give to my friend?
The point is not to let him take over, challenge what evidence your inner critic has and base your next moves on that.
Go Against the Advice of Your Inner Critic
If you’re dealing with failures, use them as positives by adapting yourself to work around the mistakes you made in the past.
Accept it and move on into self improvement.
2. Create a 1 hour morning routine
Set aside an hour as soon as you wake up in the morning to use as your “Golden hour”.
This hour will only be used each morning for motivation, productivity and positive affirmations.
Doing this daily will give you the fuel and motivation you need to become more of a positive person.
The more positive you are, the more motivation you will have to get things done.
Related Post: 12 Steps to The Perfect Morning Routine
3. Learn to say no!
An essential part of life skills is learning how to say no.
Many of us are people pleasers.
Going out of your way to help someone out when they really need it, is great for them, but not so great for us when we feel drained and it holds us back from accomplishing goals.
Their responsibilities automatically become ours and their burdens too.
People often, possibility without knowing, involve us in their problems and issues.
When you see the possible outcome of saying yes turning out negative for you, it’s time to say no.
And there is definitely an art to saying no.
Instead of declining a night out by saying you’re ill, tired or broke, tell them the real reason.
Always value your time, don’t apologize for it and stand strong if you have commitments.
People appreciate honesty more than you know and you don’t always need to feel like your letting people down.
Never feel like your having to justify yourself and put you first.
4. Take ownership
At times it may seem like things that happen to us may be someone else’s fault, but the truth is we control everything that happens to us.
We are the ones in control of our emotions, actions and reactions.
It’s so much easier to blame others and use bad experiences to support their behaviour or the reason they are why they are.
Instead you should use bad experiences to help you through and change your life for the better.
Take ownership of your life by taking responsibility for the things you do.
Don’t relinquish your responsibility for the things that happen.
If you find yourself in a challenging situation, take a moment, refocus and work out solutions to work around it.
Accept the role you play in your own life and determine who you want to be.
Related Post: How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve them This Year
5. Have regular ‘check in’ meetings
Are you having weekly meetings with yourself?
If you aren’t, then you need to be!
I have noticed a huge difference in my productivity and overall mental health since I began my one on one weekly check ups..
Checking in with yourself regularly, gives a huge harsh reminder as to why you started the project in the first place.
It often looks something like:
- Select the same time every week to have a meeting with yourself, a time you know you can stick to
- Prepare for the meeting the day before
- When you are in the meeting:
- reflect on the previous week
- set/rewrite short term/long term goals
- cut out unnecessary distractions
- Plan the following week
Stick with this habit!
You’ll be able to regularly assess what works, what doesn’t and what needs to be improved; in any area of your life!
6. Set yourself a monthly challenge
A great way of ensuring that habits become a permanent part of your life is to set yourself a challenge for a month.
Doing this could significantly improve the area of your life, most important to you.
But it also challenges your mind and body to ‘new behaviour’.
New behaviors can be scary and at often times unpleasant, however over time these repeated behaviours become part of your routine, something you don’t consciously think about.
Typical challenges could include:
- working out 5 minutes more each day
- waking up earlier every morning
- reading a different book each week
- have 10 minutes less down time on social media
- keeping a daily journal
- learning something different each day
- eating one less snack every day
Focus on one challenge at a time, whatever it is you want to focus on.
The reason why we do this for 30 days, is because the first few weeks are the toughest.
After that, you should be doing it with ease.
At the end of the challenge, your ‘challenge’ you now form your routine.
7. Start tracking your progress
We know that setting goals are important for success.
However if you don’t track your progress how do you know how close or far away from your goals you are?
Tracking your progress can start off as a weekly habit and then expand to monthly when you are more comfortable you are getting things done.
You also get to know what weaknesses you have or mistakes you’ve made in the process and find way to improve yourself.
8. Practice gratitude… Daily
Another great habit to form is waking up every morning feeling grateful.
Reflecting and showing gratitude for the things you have not only supports your mental health, but it also creates the feeling of having enough.
When you focus on the goods things what you have, rather than what you don’t, you’re able to attract more of the ‘good things’ into your life.
I have a gratitude journal I write in daily to help me remember all of the amazing things I have. It’s so important!
When you wake each morning, spend 10 minutes reflecting on the things you’re grateful for. No matter who you are or where you are, you have something to be grateful for.
Just trust me on this one, practice gratitude daily and you will transform your life for the better.
9. Take Self Care seriously
We often pout ourselves and our mental states on the back burner, with all of the things going on in our busy lives.
Taking care of yourself is important being it affects everything you do and the output you produce.
Do something for yourself that you know will lift your mood and make it a part of a routine!
Self care has been proven to uplift, motivate and inspire confidence in people to get things done.
It boils down, not only, to caring for yourself mentally but also consciously taking care of your health and body.
Wrapping it up
It takes time to build a habit, as not everybody is adaptable to change and there are often distractions that throw us off track, however if you stick with these you will almost certainly see your life change for the better.
If the above habits seem daunting, start with one and then move onto the next.
There is no better time than now to start building habits, so go out there and give it your best shot!
Good luck and as always, let me know how you get on!