The Oxford dictionary definition of a habit is: “A settled tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” With that definition in mind, it makes sense that we work on making our daily habits as beneficial as possible. When something is habitual it becomes part of your existence. You don’t go a day without doing it and it can either have a very positive or very negative affect on your life. That’s why you should build better habits starting now.
Building better habits isn’t as easy as it may seem. Depending on the habit you want to create (think: drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up vs. practicing meditation every night before bed), it will take a different length of time. When something is habitual, it becomes automatic. You don’t even have to think before you do it, you just do it.
And it’s not just creating good habits, it’s breaking bad habits, too. One bad habit I’m looking to kick is my procrastination/social media addiction. Seriously! I’ve wasted so much time scrolling Instagram and my Facebook feed instead of doing productive work, so I’ve been determined to find a system to help my break this bad habit.
Before I get into the tips on how to build better habits, I want to share a few habits of highly successful people.
Habits of Successful People
They wake up and go to bed early
They prioritize their health (mental & physical)
They continuously read and learn
They have self-control
They practice gratitude
They take time to reflect
They surround themselves with successful, inspiring people
They work on their craft daily (even on weekends)
They have a support system
They take initiative
They’re good listeners and communicators
They set goals
They have an action plan to meet their goals
They diversify their income streams
Related Post: 6 Habits of Successful Online Entrepreneurs
All of these habits are ones I strive to do every day. Are you with me? Here are 7 things you can do to build better habits, and simultaneously become happier, more productive and more fulfilled.
1. Acknowledge bad habits you want to change
The first step to making better habits is acknowledging habits you want to change. Do you go to bed super late? Do you, like me, find yourself constantly distracted by social media? Are your go-to meals fast food and take out over home cooked eats? Do some self-reflecting to figure out the habits you need to change to make room for better ones.
2. Start with simple habits you can’t say no to
There are simple things you can change/do on a daily basis that will bring so much value to your life. For instance, whenever you have to commute, instead of listening to music, listen to a podcast that feeds you with knowledge. It can be on whatever topic you’re interested in, but it’s such an easy switch to make that can benefit you tenfold. If you’re prone to eating out every day, make it a habit to make one home cooked meal per week to start. The goal is to stay consistent, so if you can start with these simple things, it will become easier and easier to make them automatic.
3. Read 20-30 minutes a day
This is one of the best habits you can make. Reading helps so much with education and self-improvement. I’ve started waking up earlier each day so I can get half an hour of reading in. If you want to be well-informed and do better at your craft (whatever it may be), reading is a non-negotiable. And I don’t mean reading for entertainment (reading gossip articles on your favourite celebs doesn’t count). I mean books, articles and novels that can enhance your life, boost your career and serve life lessons. Don’t know where to start? Here are 7 books every creative should read!
4. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day
Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day prepares you for a more productive, fulfilling day. You’ll feel more awake and energized throughout the day and you’ll also fall asleep easier and sleep better at night. Most importantly, a consistent sleep schedule creates routine. If you have a set time to go to bed, you know when you have to start your nighttime regimen (face mask, reading, meditation, journaling, writing tomorrow’s to-do list etc.). Otherwise you could spend your time scrolling through social media or watching TV until you get so tired you can’t keep you eyes open. Which option sounds more fulfilling?
5. Start Time blocking
If you have issues with productivity, try time blocking to build better habits throughout the day. Time blocking is organizing your day into time slots. I started doing this at the beginning of this week, and it’s a habit I plan to carry on. The first thing you do is take out a calendar (it could do your iCal, Google calendar, or whatever you like to use). Plug in your non-negotiables first. What time will you wake up? How long do you need for your morning routine (Showering, getting ready, reading, breakfast, etc.)? What time will you go to the gym? What time do you eat lunch? What time will you block out for meetings? You get the idea.
Then, devote time slots each day to different tasks and goals you have. In order to do this, you have to create goals for yourself. I like to set 1 personal goal and 2-3 business goals per month. Once you know what your goals are, you can create time slots around them. Schedule work for your most important goals first and then devote other time slots to work you need to get done, but it’s not as crucial. Instead of having a million things floating around in your mind of what you need to do, time blocking creates a system that helps you get your work done efficiently.
6. Use a Planner
If you’re a regular reader around here, you know how much I loveee using a planner. Specifically my Day Designer. I pretty much can’t function without it- it keeps me organized and on track, and ensures I don’t forget important commitments. Using a planner is a great habit to get into. The reason I love the Day Designer so much (other than its gorgeous design of course), is that it covers it ALL. A lot of planners out there have sections for each day that you can write your schedule in, but each day of The Day Designer has a space for your to-do list, plus it separates the day by hour so you can plan out what you’ll do when (kind of like time blocking!).
It also has a place to write down things that are due, your top 3 of the day (your time block goals), a space for gratitude and a space for notes. Not only is scheduling your days in your planner a good habit to make, it also creates good habits. Knowing what you have to do and writing down time slots to do it in will help you build better habits.
7. If you can’t change the people around you, change the people around you
This is one of my favourite quotes. The people you surround yourself with have the power to raise you up or cut you down. Be VERY careful who you spend your time with, because they have a lot to do with the habits you make. Whether it’s the food you eat, the topics you talk about, or the activities you do, ask yourself if the time you’re spending with them is creating better or worse habits for you. If it’s the latter, then you may want to think about changing the people you spend your time with.
Related Post: 4 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude on a Daily Basis
Do you think you can incorporate these 7 things into your daily life to build better habits? What’s one habit you’d like to kick? Let me know in the comments and we can hold each other accountable!
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