This is a guest post by Ash Govender.
Making changes can be hard. In your own case, you may have often heard someone say: “make it a habit to…..” followed by some difficult to accomplish task. Then, you try it a few times until you either stop because you don’t see results, or you let your hectic schedule get the better of you.
If you have experienced the difficulty of creating healthy habits—this article is for you: positive motivation to help you start incorporating healthy habits into your life.
I recently read several books on self-development. I was going through a phase of uncertainty in the direction of my career. Through reading bestsellers and inspirational blogs there was always one key point repetitively illustrated i.e. the creation of healthy habits.
I was determined to develop them since I wanted to experience change. So I set out on a mission to master the art of creating positive habits.
Here are my experiences with the creation of these habits and how they have changed the way I think:
Always have a plan
I found the most important part of creating healthy habits is to have a plan. What is it you want to improve in your life? And what positive actions do you want to habituate? For me, it was to gain more clarity and mindfulness. I identified these key habits to incorporate into my daily routine:
• Practice gratitude in the mornings
• Practice mindfulness once a day during my lunch breaks
• Practice positive affirmations three times a day while driving
Get out a piece of paper and draw up a timetable of your day. Identify periods where you are likely not to be disturbed. Then allocate times and venues for carrying out whatever actions you set.
Keep the habits you are trying to form to a maximum of 3 each time; You don’t want to burn yourself out with too many complicated tasks.
The key here is to make it as easy as possible to do these things. Always choose times in which you will rarely become unavailable.
The role of willpower
Willpower can be defined as the strength to go on even when it seems like you are fighting a losing battle. For example, waking up extra early to go for a cold, winter jog would probably take a heavy strain on your willpower.
The hardest part I found during the creation of these habits was having the willpower to see these habits through. You are often programmed to only move forward with things once you see results. However, certain good habits only start showing positive effects over time.
To overcome this, I created positive pressure. I told all my family and friends I was going through a personal transformation for self-improvement and that I would tell them about the positive effects it was having on me. The results were phenomenal. I was now forced to overcome my willpower because I didn’t want to look like a failure in front of those close to me.
Another way to overcome a weakness in willpower is to identify the importance of the actions you set. For example, I knew I wanted to gain clarity and purpose in my life and to do that I needed to remove clutter from my mind.
Every time I felt like giving up, I reminded myself of how an increase self-awareness, as a result of these actions, would help me. Then I would go ahead and keep working at forming my habits.
The power of habits
Before I knew it, I started to experience the power of habits. It was somewhat magical. I began to intuitively carry out positive actions without having to remind myself of them. It was like the act of brushing one’s teeth—effortless.
Now, even on busy days, when it is time to do the activities I have set out, I prioritize them.
A few months into the new habits I have created and I have started creating additional great habits. This was possible because, over time, the initial habits become first nature, allowing you to create more positive habits.
One of my favorite results has been the way encouraging myself to be grateful seems to have led to unexpected positive effects. For example, I used to have an issue with parking spaces at work. Ever since practicing the habit of showing gratitude by thinking: “Thank you for the car space,” there has always seemed to be a spot waiting for me—or someone ready to leave.
You, too, can experience a more fulfilling life geared towards achieving your goals. Don’t wait any longer—start creating those positive habits today!
Ash Govender is a practicing engineer and aspiring polymath. He has a deep interest in how the mind works. Through his blog mindspurt.com, he shares his insights on how to make better and more productive use of the mind to achieve goals. He hopes to make his site a hub-spot for intellectual thinkers and to promote better ways of thinking and making decisions. You can contact Ash at admin AT mind spurt DOT com or follow his blog on facebook.