Today, I come across the article: 7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them. I think it is go to spread the positive advice here. Take note: The post was written by Leo Babauta, not coolingstar9.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.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 often get asked this question, because people are overwhelmed when it comes to starting positive life changes.
They ask me: what one or two habits should they start with?
It’s not an easy question. There are so many changes I’ve gone through, from quitting smoking 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.
That said, if you followed the program below, and worked to develop these habits, you’d probably do pretty well.
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” - ConfuciusHow to Develop the Habits
I’ve written a number of times about developing habits, but 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.
- 13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits
- How to Establish New Habits the No-Sweat Way
- Engineer Life: Set Up Habit Changes So It’s Hard to Fail
- Autopilot Achievement: How to Turn Your Goals Into Habits
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.
I learned this when I quit smoking — when I 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 succeeded. This discovery lead to me practicing this over and over, until I was able to form just about any habit I needed. It’s been invaluable to me, and I think it could be to most people.
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 throughout the day, marking a tally each time you notice a negative thought. Soon you’ll recognize them, and you can squash them.
- 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.
- 4 Simple Steps to Start the Exercise Habit
- How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit
- 7 Ways to Build the Exercise Habit
- 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.
- How Not To Multi-task: Work Simpler and Saner
- Now Do This and the Single-tasking Philosophy
- The Magical Power of Focus
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, turn them into habits — focus exclusively on turning the goal into a habit, until the habit is ingrained. Then focus on the next goal.
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.
- Eliminate All But the Absolute Essential Tasks
- Haiku Productivity: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential
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.
- 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule
- Faith in Humanity: How to Bring People Closer, and Restore Kindness
- A Guide to Cultivating Compassion in Your Life
- 25 Ways to Help a Fellow Human Being Today
- The No. 1 Lifehack You can Implement Today to Make the World a Better Place
How will that 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.
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” - John Dryden—
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