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20 Lessons You Can Learn About Habits

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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