Two focuses of my blog are Creating Ecosystems of Success and Health/Wellness. One of the things that successful people do is consistently build better habits. The following guest post is entitled, The Art of Building Better Habits.
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Building better habits isn’t a science; it’s an art because everyone builds habits differently than the other. While building habits can benefit anyone, you should also aim to ditch bad habits. Starting good habits takes practice and patience with yourself. It’s not something that can happen overnight. Keep reading if you’re ready to change your life; in this article, we’ll discuss how you can start building better habits today.
Building Better Habits
Our habits define who we are and what we do. Ditching old habits and getting new ones is easier said than done. Ultimately, your habits can impact your health and happiness, so it’s never a bad time to start taking a deep look at your daily habits and determine which ones are doing you more harm than good. Here’s how you can start building better habits today.
There’s no reason to start off building a new habit that will be difficult for you to maintain. Instead, you should start with a habit that’s easy and simple so you can remember doing it every day. Because the most important thing you can do is stay consistent, you should start with something you can easily sustain. Your first habit should be straightforward so you know you can do it. For example, if you want to start working out more, you can make a goal to exercise for just 5 minutes a day.
Starting small gives you the ability to pick up the intensity level once your habit becomes a part of your daily routine. For example, if you want to build a better skincare routine, you can put on one moisturizer at night. After you’ve succeeded at that for a few weeks, you can start building onto your routine by adding other skincare products. By proving to yourself you can stick to a small habit, you can start to build confidence knowing you can make better choices in the future.
Understand Current Habits
Part of building better habits is understanding your current habits, especially the unhealthy ones. Let’s say that instead of working out like you know you should, you sit on the couch and watch television for a few hours after work. If this sounds like you, consider why you’d rather sit on the couch than exercise. Then, break down the habit of exercising. You might realize it’s not the habit of exercising itself that holds you back; instead, it’s the hassle of having to shower for the second time in a day. In this case, you’ve found out the reason you don’t have an exercise habit is that you don’t want to shower in the morning and at night.
Knowing this, you can think about ways to make exercising easier and eliminate what’s holding you back. In this instance, you might realize it will be less of a hassle to work out in the morning and shower before work so you can still enjoy leisure time at night.
Of course, it’s always best to start small. If you decide to start exercising in the morning, set your alarm earlier to ensure you have enough time to make it to the gym. You also shouldn’t expect yourself to be able to complete a 30-minute workout. Instead, consider the first tip and start with just a few minutes of exercise a day until you get the hang of it.
Breaking down habits can work for building just about any good habit. For example, if you want to live more sustainably, you can try to recycle one thing in your home a day until you can build on that and train your brain to recycle without thinking about it.
Plan for Failure
If you make a plan and fail to stick to it, it’s okay. Failure is inevitable when you’re trying to build better habits, especially if you’ve had the same habits for years. It’s important to learn not to feel guilty when you don’t follow through with a new habit every day. For example, if you wanted to do yoga in the morning before work and sleep in one day, instead of feeling guilty, you should recognize that your body and mind may have needed a few extra minutes of sleep more than a few minutes of yoga.
By not judging yourself, you can focus on a new plan for how to get back into a healthy habit as quickly as possible after breaking it. Having a backup plan doesn’t prevent failure, but it can help you get back on track. Here are some ideas for your plan:
● Set schedules
● Reward yourself for success
● Never punish yourself for failure
Replace Bad Habits
Instead of simply getting rid of bad habits, consider replacing them with good ones so you won’t feel like you’re missing something. For example, people who quit smoking typically find another activity, such as chewing gum, to help them stop thinking about wanting to smoke. Removing something negative and replacing it with something positive can keep you on the right track while motivating you to make healthier choices.
Know Your Triggers
If you’re trying to stop a bad habit, then you’ll need to understand what triggers your bad habits. For example, if you’re on a diet and want to stop eating junk food, it’s best to avoid stressful situations. Of course, you can’t prevent a stressful day of work, but you can understand that work might be a trigger for you so you can come up with ways to deal with the trigger, such as meditation or an adult coloring book to stimulate your creativity and reduce stress.
Rewarding yourself is one of the best ways to keep up with your good habits. You should reward yourself for any good habit you’re able to sustain. For example, if you want to start working out every day, reward yourself after the first two weeks with something you enjoy. Of course, it’s always best to keep your rewards in check. For example, if your habits revolve around your health, it might not be best to reward yourself with chocolate cake right away.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.