Creating Positive Habits
5 Tips to Creating Positive Habits for a Happier, Healthier Life
Surround yourself around positive people
Ever heard “misery loves company”? If you spend the majority of your day around people who constantly complain about the most minuscule things or who have a negative outlook on life, then it is likely that you will catch their negative Nancy bug. Without even noticing it, you may start to find anything and everything that makes your day miserable. Before you know it, you end up thinking your entire life is falling apart and that the world is out to get you. Attitudes are highly contagious. Then this attitude becomes a habit and essentially consumes your mindset.
Even though you can’t always avoid people with a negative attitude, you can choose to distance yourself from negative people. Maybe it’s time to find friends who choose to look at the bright side of life, people who laugh, people who find goodness in life even when the going gets rough. Fortunately, positive attitudes can be just as infectious as negative ones. Along with attitudes, you can also pick up positive habits from other positive people.
They say (whoever they is) that you are most like the five people you surround yourself with the most. That makes sense! Ever realize you are starting to pick up little mannerisms, routines, ways of doing things from your best friend, significant other, or family member? I love going to the gym with my sister not because I enjoy the company, but because she pushes me to do more challenging exercises or go up in weight. Her habits of working hard and pushing herself to do better rub off on me while I’m at the gym. So keep the ones in your close circle that influence you in a positive way.
Make plans & stick to them
I’m a fairly type-A person, so to-do lists are my staple in life. I always feel the need to plan or organize (blog post on how to be more organized). Typically I have noticed that I feel my best when I am productive and am able to accomplish the items on my list. However, the times that I don’t make plans and just go with the flow, tend to bring me more chaos. When making plans, don’t go over board. Come up with a few ideas of things (simple or complex) you need to accomplish. I would stick to a few on your list at first so you don’t end up getting overwhelmed. Try to get into a habit with when you make the plans. For example, each Friday night I plan out my meals and write my grocery list for my 7AM shopping trip Saturday.
You could also think of your t0-dos as scheduled appointments. If you had a dentist appointment, you would leave the house at an appropriate time so you would arrive there on time. So if you schedule “clean the house” at 11AM, then at 11AM you should be cleaning the house. Don’t be late or miss that appointment! If you really want to get extreme with the appointments, you could set alarms on your phone to tell you when you need to start specific tasks. When you have a way of keeping up with your tasks and you stick to them, it becomes less daunting since it’s something you are used to doing regularly.
“If you know you can do better, then do better.”
Find a workout routine
Everyone knows that exercising can benefit our lives in all aspects. However, a lot of people have a hard time committing to a gym or to working out. I have found that it is much easier to get a workout in if I realize it’s part of my routine. After a few weeks of keeping up with a routine, it starts to become a habit. Your mind and body will start to assimilate to the idea of going to the gym at a specific time.
After you’ve created the positive habit through a routine, you will realize that you might actually get upset if that routine messes up. You could even go to the extent of assigning certain days of the week for targeted areas like legs, back, arms, etc. A lot of times people will find excuses to not go to the gym like not having time, not knowing what to do, low motivation, and so on. However, if you have a workout routine in mind and you know that Saturday morning is leg day, you almost make it feel like an appointment as I said before.
Make healthy dietary choices
You have also probably heard of “you are what you eat”. If you don’t want to look like you eat donuts for breakfast everyday, then don’t eat donuts for breakfast everyday! Yes, I generally believe it’s as simple as that. A lot of health related issues go back to what you consume on a regular basis. For example, I used to drink soda when I was younger. As I grew up I realized just how terrible those carbonated, sugary, long list ingredient drinks truly are.
Although it may have been a normal thing to enjoy a Sprite with a sandwich, I changed my habit by switching over to water. Eventually it has become a norm for me to almost always drink water at most meals. My sister has done the same thing and there have been times where she had a bit of soda, then she felt sick. It’s like her body is so stuck on the healthy habit, that it rejects the soda.
If you think you are addicted to something, then you will be addicted to it. However, if you change the habit of consuming bad food and drink items, then a good habit can come about like drinking more water. A healthy diet and lifestyle comes from a particular mindset. You must first develop the mindset to want better for yourself to then obtain it.
Create a morning routine
I’m a firm believer that starting the morning off right can set the tone for the rest of your day. Now I’m not saying that if your morning starts out poorly, then your whole day is ruined! However, it does help to start the day off in a positive manner. Everyone’s morning routine should be personalized so I’m not going to suggest exactly what you should do each morning. However, for the most part you should be consistent about the time you wake up and the tasks you complete each morning.
Maybe you drink a glass of water and take your dogs for a walk. Or maybe you read a self-help book for 15 minutes while drinking a cup of coffee. Perhaps you start your day off with simple stretches or peacefully medittating on your back porch. Having a morning routine will also probably help you have a more timely and less rushed morning. For more on developing a morning routine, check out my sister’s post.
We all have some bad habits, but why not try and incorporate some positive habits into your everyday life? Remember it takes about 21 days to create a habit, so don’t get upset if this 5 tips seems like chores. With time, it will become second nature for you and you will start to see the benefits as well.