Start Creating New Habits Today!

January 25th, 2012


We are creatures of habit, so it is important to be aware of our habits.

Although it is difficult (but NOT impossible) to get rid of negative habits, it is easier to create new and positive ones, by creating positive habits, we will change our circumstances for the better.

The funny thing about habits is that they become so automatic that we often don't even know we have them, this is good, and bad...

*Good because when you are trying to create a new habit, it might be hard at first, but once you have done it long enough (about 90 days) it becomes effortless and part of your routine.
*Bad because negative habits can go unnoticed which will make it difficult to break them.

One set of habits most of us have is getting ready in the morning to start our days. I bet most of us do all or some of the following:

Take a shower, brush our teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast / have coffee, comb our hair, etc.

All these are things we do without giving it a second thought, they are part of our daily routine, right?

Now, all of these habits prepare our BODIES for the day, but is there anything we do to prepare our MINDS for the day ahead? I bet most of us do not.
Just as much as our bodies need some preparation, so do our minds!

Devoting a little time everyday to clear our minds, is very important, just us we wash our body, we need to "wash" our minds! We are a combination of flesh, mind and soul, and we do need to attend all three aspects of our existence.

Our minds can get very "dirty" so to speak, we have so many thoughts (between 60000 and 80000 a day) that they can rule over our lives, and if the thoughts are not of positive nature, the results can be pretty negative in our emotions, feelings and environment. Therefore, finding some clear space between our thoughts is a great way to clean our minds every day.

The best way to do this, is practicing meditation a couple times a day, but if you are not familiar with it and would rather start with something else right away, you can also do creative visualization or intention setting in the morning, as part of your "getting ready" routine.

Creative Visualization is about picturing in your mind something that makes you feel good, for instance:

Imagine yourself in a place that brings you peace and happiness. For this, you may create a clear picture in your mind, such as: a clearing in a forest, a warm and cozy log cabin, a gorgeous deserted beach in the tropics, the garden you used to play in when you were a kid, etc. and try to use the same image every day, just picture yourself there and take in all the beauty, the peace, the comfort, etc. Try to feel it! breathe deeply as you do this, and focus on just that image.

Intention Setting is about focusing on your goals, your intentions and/or your desires, for instance:

  • You can picture in your mind what you would like your day to be, and you can use any amount of detail as you wish, you can see yourself driving to work with no traffic, finding a great parking spot, having a successful business meeting, eating a delicious lunch, etc... imagine your whole day filled with perfect moments.

  • You can also picture more broad goals or desires, such us: going to Paris for the holidays, meeting your soul mate, winning a Nobel Price, etc. Don't be afraid to think big, you HAVE to think big in fact, be as wild as you want and enjoy the ride!

The idea of these exercises is to tune your mind into a "feel good" state. They will ensure you start your day with a positive note and will clear any worries, anger, resentment, etc. that may be lingering in your system.

By doing these exercises you will train your mind to be in a more positive frequency and with time the effects of this training will last longer and longer, until they remain present for the whole day. No matter what the day may bring to you, you will be better able to find peace and calm to manage everyday challenges.

That is that for "washing" your mind, but another great thing you can do to determine what good habits you can implement in your life is making a list of 5 things you can do to improve your current life. Your list is totally personal and unique, but just to give you an idea, below is a sample list:

  1. Go to bed earlier
  2. Reconnect with friends
  3. Laugh more
  4. Eat healthier food
  5. Read more

Now, once you have identified the 5 things, how do you implement them effectively into your life?.
Making them into a HABIT. How do you do that? Here is a strategy suggestion for every example given above:

  1. Set a time, say between 10:00 and 10:30 PM and every night, and whatever happens, go to bed between that time. You can use a timer, set it for 10:15 PM and when the timer goes off, you drop whatever you are doing and go get ready for bed!

  2. Decide on a time of day, for instance: after your lunch break, and set aside 10 minutes to call a friend. Make a list of the friends you would like to call and carry it in your wallet, if the first does not answer, try the next and so on, add family members to the list too! and do it every day! Just to say hello! you don't need more than 10 minutes.

  3. Find web sites with jokes or videos that make you laugh and, everyday, at the same time, go to them and read stuff for 5 minutes or until you find something that makes you laugh.

  4. If you usually skip breakfast, everyday after you get dressed, have ONE glass of water and ONE fruit, that should not be too hard to do... it is a start!

  5. Pick a book that you have been meaning to read (something you are interested in!) and everyday in the bus or before bed (anytime is good as long as you do it the same time every day) set aside a realistic time, if you only have 10 minutes, do 10 minutes, and read a few pages. If you are afraid of going beyond the time you have, use a timer and stop when it goes off.

The important thing is that you create your habits in a realistic way, you need to fit them into your daily schedule without making it too hard for you. If you set unrealistic goals (like for instance: read for one hour, or eat two salads a day) you won't stick to them, so start with baby steps, make it EASY on you, but do it EVERYDAY until it becomes part of your routine, something you do effortlessly: a HABIT.

Have a great week!


* 21 Day Meditation Challenge, starts February 20th Free Registration.


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