Change Your Habits Change Your Life

A stack of books on a table that inspire Change Your Life.
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That’s it; tomorrow, you’re going to start working out and change your life. When tomorrow comes, you hit the gym, but by day 4, you turn to your old habits of scrolling on your phone. And just like that, your plans to change your life derail. But what if I told you that changing your habits is the secret to changing your life? “Change your habits, change your life” is the way you’ll reach your goals.

Your life is based on your habits.

Your habits define your life. The big and small things you do on a daily basis are the reasons your life is the way it is. If you want to live your dream life, you also need to have the habits to go along with it.

These are just some of the ways that changing your habits affects your life.

  1. Improved Productivity: By replacing unproductive habits with more beneficial ones, you can enhance your productivity. For instance, replacing mindless scrolling on social media with focused work or study sessions can significantly boost your accomplishments.
  2. Better Health: Habits related to diet, exercise, and sleep play a pivotal role in our overall health. Replacing unhealthy eating habits with nutritious choices or incorporating regular exercise into your routine can lead to improved physical well-being.
  3. Increased Mental Resilience: Habits like mindfulness meditation or journaling can help you manage stress and build mental resilience. These habits can transform the way you react to challenging situations, leading to greater emotional well-being.
  4. Personal Growth: Cultivating habits of continuous learning and self-improvement can fuel personal growth. Reading regularly, setting goals, and seeking new experiences are habits that can lead to lifelong development.
  5. Enhanced Relationships: Changing habits related to communication and empathy can positively impact your relationships. Active listening and showing appreciation through small gestures can foster deeper connections with others.
  6. Financial Stability: Habits such as budgeting, saving, and investing wisely can lead to financial stability and long-term security. Transforming spending habits into saving habits can significantly impact your financial future.

Understanding your habits

You probably already know what a habit is, but what you might not know is exactly how it works. I first learned about this from a 15-minute recap of the book Atomic Habits, which you can listen to along with many other popular titles from Blinkist.

In the book, they talk about what’s called the habit loop. The habit loop is a three-step process that describes how all habits work. It starts with:

  1. Cue: This is the trigger that initiates a habit. It could be a specific time of day, an emotional state, a location, or even a particular person.
  2. Routine: The routine is the behavior or action you engage in when the cue occurs. It’s the habitual response to the trigger.
  3. Reward: The reward is what reinforces the habit. It’s the positive outcome or feeling you experience as a result of completing the routine.

For example, when you get bored, you might reach for your phone in order to feel better. The cue is being bored, the routine is reaching for your phone, and the reward is the instant release of dopamine you gain.

Changing your habits

Start being aware of how you spend your days, how you start your morning, what you are doing throughout the day, and how you end your days.

Maybe you’re doing things without even noticing, and maybe there are things that you’re doing that you notice. The important part is that you take some time to recognize as many of them as possible.

Create habit goals

Once you’ve recognized your habits, the next step is to set realistic goals and figure out what it is that you want to achieve by changing these habits. For example, maybe you want to stop spending so much time on your phone so you can have time left over to work out and do other things. The clearer you can get, the better it will be in helping you stay motivated and focused.

Start small and build from there

The key to changing your habits is to start small. Trying to change everything at once will lead to feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. Pick one or two habits to work on at a time and build from there. For example, start by drinking more water every day or going for a 10-minute walk each morning. Once you’ve successfully made those changes, add in another habit to work on.

Create an environment to foster positive habits

One of the biggest things that has helped me build better habits and stop bad habits is creating an environment that fosters the habits I’m trying to improve. Modify your surroundings to support your new habits. Remove temptations and make it easier to engage in the desired behavior. For example, putting your workout clothes in open view so that you see them more often will drive you to put them on and go for a workout.

Make it a part of your identity

One of the most powerful ways to change your habits is to make them a part of your identity. When you identify with a certain behavior, it becomes easier to maintain that behavior as it aligns with your self-image.

To do this, start referring to yourself as someone who engages in the habit you want to adopt. For example, if you want to become a writer, start telling yourself and others that you’re a writer. The more you do this, the more you’ll start to see yourself as a writer and the more motivated you’ll be to engage in writing habits.

Conclusion

Remember that changing your habits takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. Keep track of your progress, celebrate your successes, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. The key is to keep moving forward and making progress towards the life you want to live. It’s not something that will happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and focus on progress, not perfection. With time and effort, you’ll be able to change your habits and change your life.

Lucas Silva

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