Advertising

20 Lessons You Can Learn About Habits

Advertising
20 Lessons You Can Learn About Habits

It is the habits we adopt that make us who we are and guide the way we live our lives. Therefore, particular habits tell particular things about a person, hence the matter of habits needs to be taken seriously and the right kinds of habits should be adopted.

When it come having habits, people have different habits and different people adopt them at different times in life. Therefore, there are always different sorts of discussions concerning habits and their adoption. I’ll cut to the chase and will tell you the 20 lessons which you can learn about habits.

1. There is no shame in starting late.

The first thing that you will have to do away with pertaining to habits is the shame of starting late. You must never feel ashamed no matter when it is you are adopting a habit. If you wish to get into the habit of exercising or anything else, then you need not feel ashamed regarding starting it in a later part of life.

2. Small changes are easier to start.

If you are pursuing a particular habit, then instead of causing a holistic paradigm shift in your life, the wise way would be to start by making small changes. If you wish to make exercise a habit, then you need to start by moving around in the house, taking small walks and then make a routine out of it.

3. Small changes are easier to sustain.

In addition to making the start easier, small changes also help in sustaining the path and ensuring continuity. When you do things bit-by-bit, it gives you encouragement and from there you only move forward.

Advertising

4. Incremental changes add up to huge changes.

When you bring drastic changes suddenly into your life, you are not able to cope up with them for long and as a result, you quit. On the other hand, when the changes are gradually increased, the result is that these small changes combine to give a holistic effect causing a greater change in your life, thus making it possible to stick with the habit.

5. Build trust in yourself.

Habit is something which is initially not in your routine, but with consistency, you achieve excellence in it and make it a part of routine. This excellence and regularity can only be achieved if you think that you have what it takes to adopt the habit. Therefore, before pursuing or making anything a part of your life, build trust in yourself and think positively.

6. Energy and sleep matter a lot.

No matter whatever kind of habit you wish to develop, it is directly or indirectly related to your sleep and energy levels; therefore, in order to stick with your habit and be consistent in it, you need to achieve better energy and sleep levels.

7. Don’t go for excess.

The difference between a habit and obsession is the intensity. Therefore, never ever be excessive in your habit pursuit; rather, keep it moderate and make it a part of your life—not your whole life.

8. Strike balance between your heart and mind.

For something to be a habit, it is imperative that both your heart and mind accept it. If there is a conflict between the two regarding acceptance, then that thing won’t become a habit and if you force it, it will never stay for long. Therefore, pertaining to habit, try striking a balance between the two.

Advertising

9. Dedication is the key.

Developing a habit requires that you believe in your habit and then pursue it with dedication. Therefore, if something attracts you and you enjoy doing it, make sure to accompany it with dedication if you wish to make a habit out of it.

10. Set higher standards.

If you wish to reach the roof then aim for the sky; similarly if you wish to develop a habit of running a mile daily, then you need to aim for 2 miles a day, and then you will end up running one mile.

11. Dealing with disruptions in routine is a learned skill.

If you think that in order to develop a habit, you will have to disrupt your routine, then think for a while and you’ll come to know that all your life, you have been adjusting things in your routine and you have quite a mastery of this skill.

12. Have powerful motivations.

When developing a habit, there will be factors that will hinder you during the process; therefore, to overcome them and continue with habit, make sure that you have powerful motivations that keep you going during the whole course.

13. Don’t make exceptions.

When developing a habit, and something comes up so you make an exception, then let me tell you that it won’t be an exception; rather, you will begin a routine of making exceptions and your habit will go to the sidelines. Therefore, stay committed and don’t make exceptions.

Advertising

14. Habit is the reward—it’s not a chore.

Most of the people think that habit is a chore, and when they achieve consistency and regularity in this chore, they will earn some reward for it. Although there can be rewards for habits, the actual the formation of habit itself is a reward and not a chore.

15. How you deal with failure is key.

In formation of habit, you will definitely fail at one point or another; however, it’s your attitude and how you deal with failures that matters, and not the failures themselves. Therefore, develop a positive attitude when dealing with failures, and you will see continuity follow in your habits.

16. Define your breaks.

When you take on making changes slowly, then within those changes, you will definitely take breaks. Therefore, before starting the change process, identify the breaks you are going to take and then don’t take a break other than the ones you have set.

17. Be kind to yourself.

In your habit-formation process, don’t make things hard on yourself. Take them slow and step by step; this way, you won’t put your body or mind into undue pressure, hence better chances of longer and quicker habit formation.

18. Do it in a group.

If your habit is something which can be done in a group, then do it in group-form. Groups of people help each other in sticking with the activity, hence the group provides benefit to all.

Advertising

19. Make them fun.

Above all, the easiest way of making something your habit is to add the element of fun into it. When you make it fun, you enjoy doing it, and when you enjoy doing it, and then you keep on doing it.

20. Keep an eye on the end goal.

In order to make sure that you know why you are undergoing habit formation, keeping in mind the end goal can serve as a great motivation factor and give you a clear picture of what waits ahead in the form of fruit of your efforts.

Now it’s your turn!

What kind of habits do you have? How did you form them? What kind of difficulties did you face? How did you overcome them? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More by this author

Beliefs That Will Free You From Negative Thoughts 20 Lessons You Can Learn About Habits 7 Ways You Can Reach Your Highest Potential 7 Simple Tips On How To Become a Better Person By Increasing Your Self-Esteem 5 Tips to Help You Succeed In Making Money with Your Passion

Trending in Communication

1 How to Live a Happy Life: 10 Keys to Happiness 2 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 3 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 4 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 5 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Advertising
How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next