Are Your Habits Moving You Forward or Backward in Life?
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” Will Durant in a discussion on Aristotle
Our life is inevitably made up of the choices we make, including our daily habits. I strive to have more good habits than bad and work to reframe the bad ones with positive ones as much as possible. When we get in the habit of doing something on a daily basis, be it meditation, movement, a spiritual practice or practicing gratitude, it becomes second nature and builds momentum. We can’t expect to live a fulfilling life if we aren’t taking daily action that moves us forward. My morning routine is one of the habits I believe sets me up for success on a daily basis. It centers me for the day, leaves me feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to attack the day with purpose.
“The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits. We can never free ourselves from habit. But we can replace bad habits with good ones.” Steven Pressfield
Habits can also be a tricky thing, and I have a few I struggle to change. For me, it is snacking after dinner. Like clockwork every night about an hour after dinner, an alarm bell goes off in my head that tells me I need something sweet. I used to keep dark chocolate and snacks around the house, but I would inevitably end up eating the whole bag. I rationalize this by saying, oh well I might as well get rid of it all so I don’t come back tomorrow night. Now, I quit buying them all together. I determined that I had to set the right environment for me to succeed in cutting out snacks. I now only keep healthy snacks in small quantities around the house. My cravings still win on occasion but at least I make it more difficult and I am working to change one bad habit for a good one (sweets for fruit).
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun
Charles Duhigg’s work suggests another way to change habits. Every habit has three parts, a cue, a routine, and a reward. The best way to change a habit is to figure out a positive cue and give yourself a reward after you complete the task. In this Youtube video, he gives a great tip for starting to exercise. You can give yourself a cue such as putting your shoes by your bed or going with a group. After you finish, eat a piece of chocolate or some other type of reward. When first starting a new habit, you have to trick your brain into believing you really want to do something with a reward. Check out the video for more tips on teaching and changing habits.
To Sum it Up
We all have a vision in our head of where we want to go in life and what we want to accomplish. Do you have the habits that will push you to this place or are you just taking every day as it comes? I encourage you to set out daily habits and routines that will get you to your long-term goals.
Call to Action
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