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9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life

9 Daily Habits That Will Change Your Life

Having enormous goals for your life is exhilarating, exciting… and at times, utterly terrifying. If you create daily habits to automate certain aspects of your life, however, you’ll create a sturdy foundation to take risks from. Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty, calls these habits “certainty anchors”. They add a sense of reliability to your day so no matter how many risks you take, your habits will always be there to depend on.

How to Develop Daily Habits

As tempting as it is to try and change more than one habit at a time to reach your goals more quickly, the opposite is true. Doing poorly with one habit will have a domino effect on the habits you’re doing well with. The house of cards will topple over and the level of discouragement you’ll feel will make it that much harder to get back on your feet.

Here’s the habit-building process that’s working for me:

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  • Focus on building one habit per month.
  • Don’t give yourself a deadline: Some daily habits will be easier to build than others, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to build the habit, as long as you build it.
  • Commit fully and don’t back down.
  • Go easy on yourself if you stumble. Instead of getting angry with yourself, use it as a learning experience. Figure out what caused you to stumble, deal with any external influences causing you problems, and try again.
  • Each time you hit a milestone—one week, one month, six months, etc.—reward yourself in some way. How is completely up to you.
  • Once you’re able to complete the habit without having to think about it, it’s time to move onto establishing your next habit.

Here are daily habits that will make an immediate difference in your lifestyle and help you reach your goals sans Xanax prescription:

1. Visualize

I used to find it hard to fall asleep until I began visualizing how I wanted the next day to go. Instead of my mind wandering from topic to topic, focusing on what “might” go wrong, I started focusing on what “would” go right. If you not only list in your mind what you’re going to do the next day but visualize yourself doing it, this matter-of-fact planning process helps keep uncertainty at bay (and the next day goes much smoother!).

2. Define Your Priorities

One of the big reasons why you’re not reaching your goals is likely to do with how much you have on your plate, professionally and personally. It’s likely you’re trying to do too many things at the same time. Ask yourself: what are your ultimate goals? Once you’ve defined them, drop everything that doesn’t cater to them. You can always come back to these things later, after you’ve established what’s most important to you.

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3. Get Up Earlier

I now get all of my important work done before everyone else is even awake—you would not believe the difference this makes! There’s no better feeling than knowing no matter what happens for the rest of the day, you’ve accomplished what you set out to. Bring on the interruptions and distractions; you’ll be armed and ready!

4. Create a Morning Routine

Wake up and do the same things in the same order before you start your day: have a glass of water, exercise, read, etc. Do things that you normally don’t have time for that make you happy. Easing into your day instead of rushing to get started not only depletes your stress level significantly, but puts you in a proactive frame of mind for the remainder of the day.

5. Drink Water

Having a glass of water first thing in the morning helps rid your body of toxins that have been stored overnight. Not only does it aid your digestive tract, it also boosts your metabolism, helping you feel energized sooner.

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6. Singletask

Only 2% of the world’s population can successfully multitask. The rest of us posers are serial-tasking: flitting from one task to another, nudging ourselves forward with each instead of focusing on one at a time. I broke this habit by choosing one item on my to-do list, then hiding it in a drawer until I was done. It’s a tough habit to break, but once you do your mind feels clearer, you feel less restless, and the quality of your work skyrockets across the board.

7. Go Minimal

External clutter leads to mental clutter. Do a clean sweep of your home and get rid of everything you no longer use or have never used. By the end of my own clean sweep last year, it looked like I’d been robbed! There’s no better feeling than knowing you actually need and use everything you’re surrounded by. Bonus: you also save time by not having as much to clean!

8. Set Online Boundaries

It’s too easy to get sucked into an online world of status updates, memes, list posts, and videos. Before you know it, over half your day is gone and you have nothing to show for it. This is especially difficult for those of us who work on the Internet. One of the best daily habits I’ve established is not checking my e-mail or social media accounts first thing in the morning. Create specific windows of time for your online tasks. It’s okay to check your e-mail periodically in case you receive urgent requests from your boss or co-workers, but if you check and there aren’t any, abort and get back to your day.

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9. Create an Evening Routine

Your evening routine is just as important as your morning routine, as it prepares your body for a solid night’s sleep. Create a relaxing routine that starts about an hour before you go to bed, and use it as your body’s “signal” that it’s time to go to sleep.

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Krissy Brady

A women's health & wellness writer with a short-term goal to leave women feeling a little more empowered and a little less verklempt.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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