Rashi is a lifestyle coach and a techie. She pens down her personal growth experiences backed by a detailed research on the topic.
An Arab proverb goes -
Habit is the 6th sense that overrules the other 5.
If you train your mind to adapt to the correct habits and to adhere to them, you give yourself a good life. Good habits are like a cocoon that saves you from an unnecessary bumpy day. For example, suppose you have a habit to keep your workstation clean, you would have a better focus at work. The contrary, that is your habit to keep your desk untidy - with unclean coffee mugs, piled up notebooks and used tissue papers lying around - would almost always keep your mind clogged and unfresh.
While a good habit acts as a catalyst in your general efforts, a bad habit can make simple things cumbersome.
Many habits are formed unconsciously and they account for over 40% of daily activities. What if you could make those default habits the good ones? Don't you think it would be great? But is it even possible to control our subconscious thoughts?
Well, with practice it can be done. If you diligently practice working on a habit for a very long time, it settles in your subconscious mind and becomes an effortless move.
The best example that I can give here is learning to drive a car. Initially it takes special attention and effort to learn the accelerator-break-clutch coordination. But with a regular practice it becomes so effortless that it almost becomes your reflex which is nothing but an unconscious habit.
Right from childhood we learn to tell good habits from the bad ones, but making anything a habit isn’t as easy as it may sound. It takes practice. A lot of it. Some theories claim that 21 days are enough to embed a habit to one's character. But this is debatable and it would be best to practice on self to find out how much time a particular habit takes to settle deep within.
There are some very basic habits which have the potential to change the way you live, and for your good. These may look small, but if done regularly, can yield great results for you. Let us take a sneak peak into them.
Making Your Bed
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed
- Admiral William McRaven
The task may look trivial, but it is the stepping stone towards achieving the daily goals. Ok, it’s always great to get a nicely done bed by mom for you, but doing it yourself only gives you a sense of satisfaction and you are ready to face the next challenge of the day chinned up.
Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project says, making your bed makes a big difference in happiness. So wouldn’t it be a good deal to trade your effort in making your bed to a happier self? If you didn’t do it today, go for it tomorrow and see the difference!
Keeping Your Closet Tidy/Cleaning Up
This one is a variant of the above point. In general, cleaning gives happiness. This is also obvious as a clean surrounding gives a sense of well-being. So next time when you bring down the hanging clothes that you left for drying up after laundry, nicely fold and put them away as soon as you bring them back, and feel the sense of this tiny achievement.
Brushing Your Teeth Twice Daily
Well I assume most of you reading this would already have it in practice. If not, for you I would quote my dentist sister who says, "if you want to do others a favor, brush after getting up in the morning; if you want to do yourself a favor, do it before going to the bed at night.”
Calling Up a Friend/Relative Once/Twice a Week
I cannot emphasize more on this. The daily chores and duties are important, but not so much that you skip connecting with your friends and family once in a while.
Also, studies suggest that video calls are better for your mental health than audio calls. But again, suiting your convenience, you can choose from audio or video. Whatever it is, adding this to your habit is sure to enhance your social security as you know you are connected to real people that you care about.
Keeping Away from Phone in the Morning
Haven’t we all tried this a couple of times? Doesn’t overuse of phones make us feel intoxicated? And on those intoxicated nights we promise to keep away from the phone the next day but end up sneaking into the screen the moment we wake up the next morning?
Dr Nikole Benders Hadi, a psychiatrist says, “ immediately turning to your phone when you wake up can start your day off in a way that is more likely to increase stress and leave you feeling overwhelmed.”
Mornings give a clear mind to start afresh. Take it as an opportunity to do something creative, not destructive(that the phone can offer).
Let your smartphone not ruin your peace of mind. You need nothing but a strong will power to keep away from your phone in the first few hours of the morning, and the day is sorted.
Anything I write about exercising would sound rhetoric as, come on, you have heard a lot about it already. So be it a small one, start with it and make it a part of your daily routine.
Where exercising is to the body, meditating is to the mind. It sure isn't easy to get started as there will be zillions of distractions. But this single habit is going to do wonders in your life. So be it a video or a meditation class or whatever means, learn doing it and buy the reasons to enjoy your life.
Writing a Journal
The whole day passed by and it is still hard for you to count the positive outcomes of the day on your fingers. Isn’t it a familiar scenario? Don’t you want to feel the weight your day carried so that you go to the bed feeling fulfilled?
Well, the easiest way is to write a journal. It has many benefits. In short, it structures your mind and declutters the unwanted built up in the head.
You can start by buying a funky looking journal and just get started with whatever comes to your mind. You can structure your content just like the slam book you used to fill in your childhood. For example,
- Today I am grateful for
- Today’s achievement
- Today’s learnings
- Today’s failures
Customize it according to your need and keep penning down. You will see the difference in your thought process very soon, and for good.
Good habits are like smooth roads that make travel easy. Bad habits, on the contrary, are like rough roads full of potholes that sometimes make the journey of life troublesome.
An activity if done repeatedly, becomes a habit when done so much that it becomes an effortless part of life. You can consciously work it up to make it a subconscious way of life. So choose the habits wisely and see your life getting transformed to a better form.
The habits listed here is a snapshot of the life of healthy and successful people. Customize it to suit yourself and practice the habits to make them work for you.