midlife, midlife health & wellness, personal growth

How We Can Cultivate Good Habits

Image of notebookwith words daily habit written on it for Cheers 2 Chapter 2 How we Can Cultivate Good Habits page

How We Can Cultivate Good Habits

Who we are is the result of what we repeatedly do so cultivating good habits is a worthwhile endeavor if we want to live our best life.

You may think that good habits, or bad habits for that matter, are not that big a deal. If we point ourselves in generally the right direction, won’t we get there anyhow?

Not necessarily. Think of your habits like the trajectory of a rocket. If the rocket is off by just the tiniest distance, that little error is compounded dramatically over time and will greatly affect where it ends up.

Where is your rocket headed?

Are your habits leading you in the direction of how you want to live your life or are they missing the mark and eventually going to land you in a place you don’t want to be?

You are the sum of your habits. Good or bad.

Consider that it takes the same time to cultivate good habits as it does to repeat the not-so-good. Whether you’re starting your day with a healthy uplifting morning routine or you’re watching the news and eating donuts. It’s the same fifteen minutes.

“What we do every day matters more than what we do once in a while.” Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

Are you avoiding cultivating better habits because you’re choosing the path of least resistance? Have you considered what you are creating by avoiding an honest look at your daily habits? What will your choices cost you if don’t adjust your trajectory?

Here Are 3 Things You Can Do to Cultivate Better Habits

1. Wean off bad habits

Let’s start by getting real about our bad habits. You can’t begin to remove bad habits (and their negative impact) from your routine until you can recognize and name them for what they are.

What are you doing on a regular basis (let’s say more than three times a week) that is negatively impacting your well-being? This means little habits that, over time, negatively impact your health, your mind, your spirit, your outlook, your momentum toward your goals.

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

It takes honesty and courage to see where you are hurting, sabotaging or neglecting yourself. Are you hitting snooze on your alarm in the morning, drinking too much coffee during the day to feel energized, not prioritizing sleep, eating poorly, watching too much news, getting lost in social media, ignoring piled-up clutter, over-volunteering, or using alcohol or food to soothe boredom or anxiety.

Be honest with yourself about what is more than an occasional choice but has become a habit.

When you can define where you have gotten into a routine that is hurting your mind, body or spirit and stunting your ability to feel positive and energized, you can set intentions to wean yourself away from those low vibe habits.

Pay attention to how those habits leave you feeling. Is that how you want to feel? Is that habit going to lead you to feeling good and doing your absolute best?

If the answer no, you deserve better!

It’s time to dig into why you are making those choices. Give yourself a little self-therapy self-love.

Talk to yourself (in your head, on paper, out loud) with love and compassion. Explain to yourself where and why you may have started the bad habit and why you want to move away from it.

Coach yourself into replacing that habit with a higher vibe, more nourishing habit. Consider, in detail, how developing better habits can positively impact your life and will compound those healthier results over time.

2. Commit to a habit by getting visual

Sometimes a visual representation can be a powerful reminder.

Write down the unhealthy habit and visibly cross it out with a big red marker. Then write down the better habit you want to replace it with.

Under the new habit, list three reasons why the good habit will help you live a better life and how it will make you feel over time.

Post this somewhere you’ll see it every day. Make three copies. Hang one on your bathroom mirror. Put one copy on your desk, maybe one on your fridge. Take a photo of the sheet and make it your phone wallpaper.

Many studies show it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit. Do you not have twenty-one days to do something good for yourself?! Quit making excuses my friends!

Don’t be shy about sharing your good habit goals with your family. Maybe having your family see it will end up providing the accountability and support you’ve been needing.

3. For the hundredth time, learn to ditch the guilt!

Just as the effects of your bad habits usually spill over to impact your loved ones, your job, your dreams, your energy toward everything around you; your good habits do too.

It’s not selfish to want to live your best life. When you’re getting in the good habits groove you are not only improving the quality and satisfaction of your own life, you’re in a better place to help others.

So, ditch the guilty shadow you’re in the habit of casting on self-care!

The healthier and happier you feel physically, mentally and spiritually because of your good habits, the greater the possibility that you will positively influence others.

When you set the intention to cultivate good habits, you are plugging in to what you intuitively know serves you better and can lead you to living your best life.

 Good habits don’t have to be huge and seemingly insurmountable. Start by building good small habits to start.

 Need examples?

  • Eat one more serving of veggies per day
  • Commit to walking five days a week
  • Learn to reduce stress and center yourself regularly through a free meditation app, an online course or yoga practice
  • Simplify and declutter your home, one room at a time, twenty minutes per day
  • Limit your evening phone, social media and general digital gadget use
  • Take daily vitamins
  • Use sunscreen on your face and neck, everyday
  • Track and limit your daily sugar intake
  • Read ten pages of an inspiring book each night before bed
  • Start and continue a morning gratitude journal habit
  • Get more sleep
  • Or, maybe commit to the small but mighty habit of regularly flossing your teeth!

We’re never too old and it’s never too late to build good habits.

At any stage of life, there can be a ripple effect to adopting healthier habits.

When we set our intentions and put in the effort to build better habits it often improves other areas of our life as well. For example, creating an exercise habit or a nourishing morning routine can help you feel more confident and less anxious as you move through your day. It may positively affect what you choose to eat, how able you are to shift your perspective to optimism or react to challenges with a partner or children.

Don’t let the fear that you might fail and not stick to your new and improved habits stop you from starting. Commit to the twenty-one days and see how you feel.

Get going! Cultivate good habits and build a daily routine that propels you to be your best you. – Marlene

 


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