Are there habits that can change your life? Absolutely.
Your life has become boring, routine, and just the same old same old. You have not had a decent date in months and there is nothing going on that gets you excited.
This is no way to live. Believe me I have been there. Hell, I still am on the dating thing but that is a story for another time.
This is a post about creating habits that can change your life. You no longer want to live like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day(great movie BTW).
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” – John Dryden
If you could just pick one or two (or seven) habits to create in the next few months — habits that will have the most impact on your life — what would they be?
I actually received a personal message today from someone asking how to actually start the process of changing their life. It is easy for people to be overwhelmed when it comes to starting positive life changes. I know first hand what it feels like when you want to give up.
What are habits that can change your life?
It’s not an easy question. There are so many changes I’ve gone through, from finding a fitness plan I can stick with, to finally getting my eating on track, to simplifying my life to reducing debt to many more. And they’ve all seemed life-changing, and they’ve all seemed important.
But if I were to start again, and had to pick one or two, it would be the one or two listed below. The list that follows is in order of what I think I’d do the first 6-7 months of changing my life … but realize that every person is different. No one should follow my choices exactly — you’ve got to figure out what works for you.
Related: How to Change Your Life in 30 Days
That said, if you follow the program below, and work to develop these habits, you’d probably do pretty well.
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” – Confucius
How to Develop the Habits That Can Change Your Life
Here are the basics:
- Do a 30-day challenge, focusing on just ONE habit.
- Write it out on paper, along with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
- Commit fully, in a public way.
- Log your progress.
- Remain publicly accountable — report on your progress each day.
- Have support for when you falter — either in real life or online.
- Reward every little success.
- If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.
The Seven Habits That Can Change Your Life
OK, so now you know how to form a habit — and remember, only do them one at a time — but you want to know the seven little habits. Here they are, in my order of preference (but yours may be different):
1. Develop positive thinking. I put this first because I think it’s the keystone habit that will help you form the other important habits. Sure, positive thinking by itself won’t lead to success, but it certainly goes a long way to motivate you to do the other things required.
When I have allowed myself to think negative thoughts, I would end up failing. But when I learned how to squash negative thoughts and think positive ones instead, I succeed. This discovery lead to me practicing this over and over, until I was able to form just about any habit I needed. I still have to work at this at times.
Focus on this habit first, and you’ll have a much easier time with any of the others. Start by becoming more aware of your negative self-talk — do a little tally sheet, or use the elastic on the wrist trick- throughout the day, marking a tally or snapping the elastic each time you notice a negative thought. Soon you’ll recognize them, and you can squash them.
Call to Action: What is one thing that you are grateful for in your life right now? Write it down and post it on the mirror in the bathroom and on the refrigerator and on the ceiling above your bed. You have something to be grateful and positive about. Do this right now!
2. Exercise. We all know the importance of regular exercise so don’t roll your eyes. Sure, exercise is healthy and all that, but how exactly is it a habit that can change your life? I’m glad you asked.
- It makes you feel better about yourself, and more confident. That leads to better success with other positive changes.
- It reinforces the positive thinking habit — you need to think positive in order to sustain exercise.
- It relieves stress and gives you time to think — this leads to better mental well-being in your life overall.
- It helps with creativity. Don’t ask me to prove it, except to say that my best ideas and brainstorming sessions come from when I exercise.
Here’s how: How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit
3. Single-tasking. The opposite of multi-tasking. Why is it life-changing? A couple powerful reasons:
- You’ll be more effective with your tasks and get more done. It’s hard to achieve important things if you’re constantly switching tasks and distracted by other “urgent” things.
- You’ll be less stressed overall and (in my experience) happier throughout your day.
Read more: Why Single Tasking Makes Your Smarter
4. Focus on one goal. Just as focusing on one task at a time is more effective, and focusing on one habit at a time is more effect, so is focusing on one goal at a time. While it might seem very difficult, focusing on one goal at a time is the most powerful way of achieving your goals. When you try to take on many goals at once, you’re spreading thin your focus and energy — the two critical components for achieving a goal.
What if you have 5 goals you want to achieve? Pick one to focus on first. Break it into a mini-goal you can accomplish this month, if it’s a longer-term goal. Pick an action you can do today. Keep doing this until the goal is accomplished — do an action every day, finish the mini-goal, pick the next mini-goal to work on. Then, when your One Goal is completed, focus on the next goal.
Some goals are ongoing ones — like blogging every day, or exercising every day. In those cases, turning them into habits — focus exclusively on turning the goal into a habit, until the habit is ingrained. Then focus on the next goal.
5. Eliminate the non-essential. First, identify the essential — the things in your life that are most important to you, that you love the most. Then eliminate everything else. This simplifies things and leaves you with the space to focus on the essential. This process works with anything — with your life in general, with work projects and tasks, with emails and other communication.
This will change your life because it will help you to simplify, to focus on what’s important, and to build the life you want.
Read more: The Most Important Hour of Your Life
6. Kindness. Yes, kindness is a habit. And it can be cultivated. Focus on it every day for a month and you’ll see profound changes in your life. You’ll feel better about yourself as a person. You’ll see people react to you differently and treat you better, over the long run. It’s karma.
How do you develop the kindness habit? First, make it a goal to do something kind for someone each day. At the beginning of the day, figure out what that kind act will be and then do it during the day. Second, each time you interact with someone, try to be kind, be friendly, be compassionate. Third, try to go beyond small kindnesses to larger acts of compassion, volunteering to help those in need and taking the initiative to relieve suffering.
7. Daily routine. It’s so simple, but creating a positive daily routine for yourself can make a big difference in your life. The best routines, I’ve found, come at the start and end of the day — both your workday and your day in general. That means, develop a routine for when you awake, for when you first start working, for when you finish your workday, and for the end of your evening. It is all about learning how to organize your life.
How can this be one of the habits that can change your life? It will help you get a great start to your day, and finish your day by preparing for the next day. It’ll help you firmly root the productive habits you want to firm in your everyday life. It’ll help you focus on what’s important, not just what comes up. It’ll help you make sure you get done all the things you really want to make sure gets done everyday. And that can mean a lot.
Only You Can Implement The Habits That Can Change Your Life
It really is up to you. No one can do this for you. Life is too damn short to sit around wallowing about your situation. You can make changes that will improve your life and they will stick. The best way to make life worth living is to find ways to ensure that you really are living. And making every moment that we live and breathe count.
Habits that can change your life
What are habits you follow that have changed and improved your life?
Enjoy this post? Please share it on social media. Thank you.
“Change The Code. Change Your Life.”