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How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

Imagine for a moment all the small decisions you’ve taken today or over the past few days. Now, can you identify all the habits you have formed in your life? Our lives are filled with recurrent and often subconscious patterns of behavior. They are formed and reinforced by our small daily decisions, so it would be good to know how to form our habits well!

Choose a positive habit to develop

First, we have to identify a positive habit we would like to acquire. It cannot be expressed in the negative form. For example, “Quit smoking,” “Stop complaining,” and “Stop watching TV in the evenings,” are extremely hard to form. Their positive counterparts are much better: “Take 10 deep breaths and think about my family whenever I feel I need a cigarette,” “Read three positive articles every day before 10 a.m.,” “In the evenings, read a book for at least half an hour.”

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If you want to fight some negative habit you already have, don’t think about simply getting rid of it; think about the positive behavior you would like to exchange it for. Human nature simply hates voids!

Your positive habit has to energize you because it will take weeks to become a pattern. For “Watch one TED video every day and think how I can put that into practice,” think about how inspired they make you. For “Do all tasks that take less than three minutes immediately,” remember the great feeling of accomplishment you will have. For “Note down whenever I lend anything out,” consider how you lost so many books already! And for “Communicate according to Non-Violent Communication,” think about how you want to really express what you mean.

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Once you’ve identified the habit, let’s start.

Take your time

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to form a habit? Imagine you want to start doing something or change one behavior for the other. Some people say it’s 21 days, but if you try to find the source of that information, you will probably fail.

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A great article on PsyBlog, “How Long to Form a Habit,” gives us the answer. To start drinking your daily glass of water, you will need approximately 15 days. However, if you want to start doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast, it will take you 254 days, which is nearly nine months!

The average time to form an automatic behavior is 66 days. You need to give yourself two months of daily repetition before the behavior becomes a habit. Give yourself some time and don’t give up too early! (And by the way, the study has shown that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit!)

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Form 200 habits

Now I want to challenge you to start forming just one habit, right now. Think about one positive automatic behavior you would like to acquire. It can be very simple, but you should feel energized about it. Now put a reminder on your phone timed for just after you wake up, or put a note on the phone’s main screen. Make a sticky note on your computer, ask your family for support, write it on your hand, write it on the wall, do whatever suits your personal style and will remind you that you are in the process of learning something new.

On average, after 66 days, you’ll be done. It will be fully automatic. This is the time to pick up another positive habit. This way you can form six positive habits every year. Just think for a moment: in a year from now, you will have six subconscious positive behaviors! If you continue that process over the next 30 years, you will be able to form 200 good and healthy habits, just by working on one habit at a time. Exciting, isn’t it?

Start now

I encourage you to start this right now. Sit down, relax and think about just one habit, or make a short list. Focus on just one and simply start. Not this coming weekend, not tomorrow, not even later today, start it right now. In about two months you will be ready for another new habit. If you write them down in a list as you achieve them, years from now you will be able to notice the huge positive impact some small decisions made and how many of these previously so-much-desired patterns are now fully automatic.

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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