We all have bad habits (i.e. Internet surfing, phone addiction, watching too much TV etc.) but why can’t we have good, healthy habits as well? This is the question I ask myself all the time.
If it’s easy to form bad habits, logically, wouldn’t it be easy to form good habits?
The answer is no.
Okay, not no, but truthfully, bad habits are easier because they tend to be the things that entertain or relax us. Good habits usually include: exercising, eating healthy (which can be not so appetizing), writing every day, reading every day, or anything else you want to be doing with your life but you aren’t. (Because you’re too busy partaking in your bad habits.)
So, if you’re looking to start creating some good habits in your life these are the three things I do to make it happen:
Yes, lists can become overwhelming and even more stressful, but they can also take all the noise that’s buzzing around in your head and give it direction. Just make your lists small and doable. I try to make a list of things I need to do during the day in the mornings, then check them off as the day progresses.
Three or four things probably should be your max, anything more than that and your head might explode from feeling overwhelmed. (Remember, feeling overwhelmed can lead to paralysis of the brain, which equates to doing absolutely nothing, which equates to guilt and even more stress, so keep it simple.)
Now that you’ve got your list: add one thing on it that you want to become a good habit. For me, it was exercise. I started this fifteen years ago and I’ve been exercising ever since. It became a part of my daily routine because I added it to the list. It sounds over simplified, but it really worked for me.
2. Do it every day.
In order for something to become a habit, I need to do it everyday for at least two months. Otherwise, if I forget even one day before that time, I won’t do it for months. My brain and body need to feel like whatever it is I’m doing is permanent, or it’ll slip right back into doing nothing again. I did this with exercise and writing. For me the elliptical was the best way to form an exercise habit. I love watching TV, so I figured, if I’m watching TV anyway, I might as well hop on the elliptical while I’m doing it. And like I said, I’ve been doing it for fifteen years!
As for writing, I started small, writing five hundred words a day for thirty days. Then I upped it to a thousand, and now I’m at two thousand words a day. Once it’s a habit, I can take a day off here or there, but the impulse to write two thousand words a day is officially ingrained in my brain, which is exactly what I wanted!
3. Accountability partner.
It always helps to have someone you can develop good habits with. It makes it so much easier if you have someone you can call when the last thing you want to do is write, or exercise, or read, or any other good habit you’re trying to lock into your brain.
Choose your partner wisely though because you don’t want to enable each other back into your bad habits!
The important thing is to at least try. If you want to change your life, you can. It just takes some determination and persistence!
I'm a writer of YA fiction, fiction, comics, television and movies. I try to make all my stories full of jumbly goodness :-)