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10 Important Habits You Need to Be A Better Person This Year

10 Important Habits You Need to Be A Better Person This Year
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Ben Franklin once said, “Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”

Whether you want to be a better person, get healthier, or find fulfillment in your work, there are a number of habits you need to develop that are common to all of these goals. In this article, we’ll explore 10 of the most important ones.

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1. Socialize with people with similar interests.

There’s one thing all successful people are good at: networking. It’s a simple premise: find people with similar interests and spend time with them. Use social media to form connections and network with these people as much as possible. Spend more time with your friends who share your interests too. They can be a great source of inspiration.

2. Stop multitasking.

When you multitask, you’re not putting 100 percent of your mental effort into whatever you’re working on. If you want to be a better person, you need to develop a more singular focus so you can put in your best effort. This is what leads to improvement. So close those 10 browser windows you have open. Put your phone on silent. And just focus on one thing at a time.

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3. Copy the habits of successful people.

One of the most important habits to develop if you want to improve is to spend more time with successful people. Want to lose weight? Then hang out with people who have done it. Want to start a new business? Surround yourself with entrepreneurs and folks who have been there, done that.

4. Make a to-do list every day.

An infographic published by Entrepreneur Magazine showed the habits of the world’s wealthiest people. One of the more interesting habits was this: 81 percent of wealthy people keep to-do lists. You should do the same. Write down the tasks you want to complete before you start each day, and then evaluate at the end of the day to see what you accomplished. Prioritize the big-ticket items that are going to get you closer to your end goals.

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5. Don’t leave things unfinished.

One habit you need to develop to experience more successful outcomes is finishing what you started. We’ve all been guilty of starting something important to us and then giving up before it’s done. Try a different approach: see things through no matter what the outcome. If you fail, the valuable lessons you will have learned will be worth the effort. A lot of times we don’t realize how close we actually are to accomplishing something great.

6. Spend some alone time every day.

Humans are social creatures by nature, but making a habit of spending time alone is important too. Spend time every day reflecting, pondering, and visualizing what you want to happen in your life.

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7. Set one or two big goals.

Your desire to work hard usually matches the size of your goals. Set small goals, and you can expect small results. Set big goals, however, and the sky is the limit. You may not (and probably won’t) accomplish them right away. But it will help you form a mindset of aspiring for bigger and better things for your life.

8. Focus on the process of achieving your goals.

Big goals are important. But what’s even more important is developing habits and routines. These are what will ultimately determine your success or failure. Those seemingly insignificant, day-to-day tasks compound into great achievements over time. Once you set your goals, forget about them and focus on the process. Plant a seed, water it every day, then sit back and watch it grow.

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9. Eat real food.

What does eating healthy have to do with becoming a better person? A lot, actually. Following a healthy diet can help your brain function at a higher level, is good for your heart and can help you live longer. So get into the habit of eating better by making a commitment.

10. Be productive with your downtime.

There’s a big difference between being productive and being busy. Busywork is meaningless if it doesn’t make you a better person or get you closer to your goals. Take a long, hard look at what you consider “productive” work. Hint: checking emails every 5 minutes won’t make you more productive—it will just distract you from getting work done.

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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