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7 Signs That You Have Formed A Good Habit

7 Signs That You Have Formed A Good Habit

A habit is a routine that you keep repeating without really thinking about it. But when does a routine become a habit? And when is a habit a good habit?

1. You are consistent.

You wake up every day at 8:30 am. That’s a habit. Even if the alarm does not go off, you still wake up at that time.

True, sometimes you might oversleep or wake up earlier. But those days are the exceptions that make the rule. The rule is your good habit of waking up at 8:30 AM.

Consistency is how you get results. Imagine exercising for two months, and then stopping. Sure, you got stronger and leaner during those two months. But what’s going to happen once you stop? Bye-bye flatter belly and leaner legs.

Build the habit so that you get to keep everything you get.

2. Doing it moves you closer to your dream life.

How’s the image of you in your dream life? Are you, say, healthy and fit?

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If it is your dream, for example, to be healthy and fit, exercising now is a good habit to have–it gets you closer to the fit image of you in your dream life.

At the same time, sinking on the couch for hours while drinking beers might be a bad habit for you–it definitely doesn’t move you closer to your dream life of a healthy and fit you.

With everything that you do, ask yourself: “Does this move me closer or farther away from my dream life?” The answer might surprise you!

3. You don’t have to use willpower to do it.

When you get in the car and put your seat-belt on, you hardly have to persuade yourself to do it. You just do it.

Now compare this to exercise. Most people have to fight with themselves to get off the couch and do it. Why? Because exercise is not yet a habit. If exercise was a habit, then these people would also just do it. Exercising would come naturally for them.

Habits don’t require willpower, and if you think they do, then that’s a sign that what you’re doing is not a habit yet.

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4. When you don’t do it, you feel “strange”.

You get in the car. You’re about to put your seat-belt on when your phone rings. You answer the phone. You then go ahead and drive, skipping the “put your seat-belt on” step.

Yet, after a few hundred feet, driving feels strange. It’s as if there’s something missing, but what is it?

Oh, right, the seat-belt!

When a behavior is a habit, it’s so ingrained in you, that if for any reason you don’t do it, it feels really weird.

That’s awesome for a good habit like exercise. When it comes to skipping a workout, you might actually feel strange and inclined to actually work out. Yet, that’s bad for bad habits like smoking; you skip a cigarette and just feel like something’s missing, so you go have a smoke.

Habits are powerful in making you act, and they’re hard to resist. Take care of what becomes a habit and what doesn’t.

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5. You take pride in doing it.

You are proud of your daily writing routine, just like writer Jeff Goins is for his. Daily writing is such a good habit to have. That’s what makes you a writer. You’re writing day in, day out. Your daily writing is what makes you who you are.

6. You find it hard to help others do it, because it’s so natural to you that you don’t know how to explain it.

Because habits can be unconscious, it might be hard to help others do what you do so naturally.

So if you’re a writer, and have the good habit of writing daily, it might be hard to help others also develop a writing routine. The reason? You don’t really know what makes you write daily. You just do it.

Sure you might come up with tips like “make writing a priority,” but your tips are generic. (Admit it!)

Yet being a bad teacher shows one thing: Writing is a very well established habit! Good for you!

Now having established good habits doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a bad at helping others create a routine. If you have struggled in developing this habit, then your chances of being a good teacher go up dramatically!

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But if writing, or exercising, or eating right, or whatever your good habit is, was natural for you to start with, then sorry, you might not be the best teacher.

7. You don’t realize you’re doing it.

A habit might be so well-established that you might not even know you’re doing it. Here’s an example. Have you noticed that some people smile when given a compliment, while others say “thank you”, while others look down because they’re shy?

All three behaviors are habits.

These individuals don’t know they have the habit of smiling, or saying “thank you”, or looking down when given a compliment.

Yet they do it, each and every time.

Similarly, do you remember putting your seat-belt on today? No?

That’s totally normal. Putting your seat-belt on is such an ingrained habit that you just do it without thinking about it. It’s almost unconscious. A good, well-established habit that shows you have done a good job training your brain to make you wear your seat-belt when you get in the car. Nice!

So what habit do you need to work on? What is it that you want to do that makes you think you need more self-discipline, when in fact, you need to focus your attention on building the habit?

More by this author

Maria Brilaki

Maria helps people create habits that stick not just for a month or two but for years and decades.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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