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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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