You are your habits. If you want to transform your life, you need to cultivate the right habits that will help you create a life filled with meaning and purpose. Here are 5 steps on how to cultivate habits.
What are habits? And why are they so important that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to it?
Our daily lives are guided by habits. From waking up, to brushing our teeth and commuting to work, to the timing of our meals.
Every single moment of our lives is guided by habits.
Physical habits, like the examples I just gave, but also emotional and mental habits, like the way we talk to ourselves, or the way we perceive the world and interpret situations that happen to us.
Our lives are guided by habits.
So if you want to transform your life, you need to cultivate habits that make you feel good. Habits that encourage the person you want to be, the lifestyle you want to live and the dream life you want to create.
Your habits have the power to create an inspiring and positive life for you. Or they have the power to bring you down, discourage you, and bring you down.
Which one will you choose?
Why habits are important to help you create your dream life
Like I said before, you are your habits. Your day-to-day thoughts, actions and behaviours are governed by the habits that you practice.
And the thing about habits is that it’s so engrained in you that you don’t even realize half of the things that you do are your habits!
Like brushing your teeth. Or the foods you choose to eat. Or how often you move your body. Or the limiting beliefs that are reinforced by your thoughts.
Every. Single. Moment of your day is guided by a habit.Every moment of your life is guided by habits, so you need to cultivate habits that will create a meaningful, purposeful and positive life! Click To Tweet
Think about it – what’s the first thing that you think when you wake up? What do you do when you open your eyes first thing in the morning? What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? What’s your morning routine like? Do you dash out the door and grab a breakfast on the go somewhere? Or do you have an inspiring morning with some journaling and meditation?
Do you see how much of your day is governed by habits?! And we only just talked about the first few hours of your day. Think about the rest of your day, your week…your LIFE!
>> Action item <<
Take 5-10 minutes to think about the habits that you currently practice in your life – anything from your morning or evening routine, how often you exercise, how much water you drink, what you eat, your lifestyle, your posture etc. See if you can write down at least TEN habits. Ok, GO! And then come back to read the rest of this post.
So why am I putting so much emphasis on your habits?
If you are your habits, then if you want to change your life, then you need to change your habits.
You need to re-think how you spend your day-to-day. You need to choose more empowering, inspiring, supportive and overall healthier habits to help support the dream life that you want to live.
Because the healthier, stronger and more positive and inspiring your are, the more they can sustain you in achieving your goals because they can help you give the emotional and physical energy to do the things that you want to be doing.
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How to cultivate habits
Step 1 | Pick the right habits
You’re probably wondering at this point “Ok Seppy, we get it, we need to cultivate better habits. But WHICH ONES?!”
I hear you!
And the easy answer is that you have to pick the right habits that you need to create the life that you want to live and the person that you want to be.
If you’ve done the exercise before (and if you don’t what I’m talking about, read this first) then you already have an idea of who you want to be and how you want to feel.
So let’s work backwards – what habits will help you get there?Cultivate habits that you need to create the life that you want to live and the person that you want to be. Click To Tweet
For example, if you say that you to be someone that’s active and moves their body because you want to feel healthy and full of energy, then you need to ask yourself, what habits will help me get there? What habits do I need to cultivate to be active on a regular basis (*you also have to define what “regular basis” means).
Does that mean you need to move your body 6 days per week, for an hour each day? Or do you want to exercise and work out?
Or if you said that you want to feel connected to yourself and be happy – define what that means to you so that you can understand the habits that will make you feel connected to yourself, the habits that make you feel happy.
I know this is not necessarily a straight forward exercise, but trust me when I say that if you look within yourself, give yourself the mental and emotional space to ask yourself these questions, the answers are already within you. You just need to be open to listen to the answers.
So now that you’ve identified the habits that you need to cultivate to become the person that you were always meant to be and start living the dream life that you want for yourself, you need to break down the habits into smaller, more manageable steps.
Because you don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up.
If your mind already feels as though it will fail at something, do you think you’ll even have the courage to TRY?!
So start small. And when I mean, I mean REALLY small.
Is the ultimate habit that you’re trying to cultivate is to eat better?
Start small. Start by doing a bit of research to understand what “healthy eating” means. Then you might want to de-clutter your kitchen to throw away any junk food so you remove any temptation.
And then maybe you’ll try to remove one thing from your diet, like sugar.
Take it one step at a time.To cultivate a habit, you have to break it down into tiny, easy steps so that you can build momentum and feel fulfilled as you accomplish each step. Click To Tweet
Because to cultivate a habit, you have to practice it over and over again, which means that you have to start easy and build your capacity to do it. You have to be able to NOT think about it and for the habit to just come to you without even thinking about it twice.
It has to become second nature, but for that, you need to keep it simple at the beginning.
For example, if you’ve never ran before, how do you expect yourself to go out and run 5 km?! HECK NO! You’re going to FAIL! And that’s normal that you’d fail!
Set yourself for success and break down the habits you’re trying to cultivate so that you’re not overwhelmed and you can consistently practice it.
Step 3 | Create a path of least resistance
Your mind is constantly looking for shortcuts, for easier ways to get things done. You’re always trying to avoid pain.
So to make things easier for you to be able to practice the habit, you need to reduce the friction to a minimum.
What does that mean?
It means you have to remove any potential obstacles that might come up, whether these are physical obstacles or mental ones that you might set up for yourself.
For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, but you leave a bowl of chocolates on the kitchen island, what do you think will happen?
Instead of relying on willpower, which is most often NOT reliable for ANYONE, you need to anticipate the things that you will do that will go against the habit you’re tyrant o cultivate.
- Related: How to Transform your Mindset
If you put the chocolates in a closed container, out of sight and out of reach, what do you think will happen if you’re sitting comfortably on the couch, curled up under a couch, watching a movie?
Most likely, you will NOT want to get up and get the chocolates. You created a friction, some resistance, you set up a barrier to help you think twice about doing the opposite of what you’re trying to cultivate.
You’re making it easier for your brain to do something (or NOT do something) and the easier it is for your brain, the easier it will be to continue and practice the habit.
Step 4 | Find an easy trigger
A trigger is a reminder to practice the habit. It can be a visual trigger or a time trigger.
A visual trigger is when you see something that reminds you of the habit you were trying to cultivate. For example, if you’re trying to drink more water, having bottles of water around the house or at your desk at work is a visual trigger to drink water.
You still have to actively think about it and do it, but at least if you have a visual reminder of the habit, it will be easier to practice.
You can also have a “time” trigger, which means that you practice the same habit, at the same time, each day.
Are you trying to cultivate the habit of jorunaling? Then maybe you want to leave your journal on your bedside table so that you can:
- Have the visual reminder
- Have a time trigger to practice journaling before bed
- Reducing friction by having journal and pen readily accessible so that you don’t have any excuses NOT to journal!
See how small changes can have a big impact to help you cultivate the habits you’re trying to cultivate??
Another easy trick is to attach the new habit you’re trying to cultivate to an old habit.
In other words, if you’re trying to floss more often, then an easy way to do that is to find a visual reminder to attach it to the habit of brushing your teeth (assuming that you brush your teeth every day and that it’s an instilled habit already!).
The visual remind can be something simple like taking out your floss and leaving it beside your toothbrush. That way, when it comes time to brush your teeth, you have the visual reminder to floss right after you brush your teeth!
Step 5 | Do it over and over again
It sounds so simple but it’s not. There’s a reason why we fail to cultivate habits, it’s because we don’t practice it enough.
Depending on the habit you’re trying to cultivate, it’s going to take different lengths of time.
But the one thing that’s important is that you need to practice the habit over and over and over again until it becomes second nature, until you don’t even have to think about it and you just do it.
And if you find yourself falling off the bandwagon and not practicing the habit, then you need to re-assess the above steps and adjust – maybe you need to set a reminder on your phone?
Maybe you need a friend to remind you to practice your habit? Or maybe journaling in bed doesn’t work and you need to do it at another time in the day.
Whatever it is, adjust your strategy as you go and keep on thinking about how you can make practicing your habit easier and how you can adjust to be reminded of the habit.
I want you to pick ONE habit that you’re going to cultivate this month. Keep it simple and follow the 5 steps in this post.
Share the habit you want to cultivate in the comments below and let’s encourage each other!
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