LAST UPDATED September 13, 2017Your daily routine influences your life’s direction and how free you feel in getting to where you want to go. That’s what I’ve found, and you’ll probably agree. Most of us get stuck in the grind of the day-to-day slog. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just a few minutes each day cultivating a new perspective through certain habits can help improve your vigor for life. This article lists five things to include in your good habits list to get you moving along that road of success (plus a free habit tracker). Unlike others, it is not a list of good manners.
Choosing the right direction in life starts with knowing the Self.
What are healthy habits? Let’s say they are more than just healthy food habits.
Read on below. But, here’s my 1-min video of my 5 recommendations, if you’re short on time. You can also download my PDF habit tracker here.
According to Wikipedia, “a habit is a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously.”
There are good and bad habits lists.
A behavior or routine that is repeated regularly and which causes harm to you or others in the short or long term is my ‘bad habit’ definition.
There are plenty examples of bad habits.
On my personal list of bad habits …smoking.
It was a habit I started when I was 14.
Smoking is one of those common bad habits that is associated with socializing, finishing off a meal, or having a coffee or a work break.
I remembered when my dad quit smoking, as strong willed as he was, he replaced it with snacking — gained weight and suffered a heart attack. He then had to overcome his ‘bad’ eating habits for life.
So to quit smoking, I learned that I needed to change my behavior by creating healthy lifestyle habits.
I had to make new associations and make sure that they were healthy habits.
Instead of reaching for that smoke, I would go for a walk, drink a glass of water, eat a piece of fruit, or take a shower.
It took conscious effort in breaking the habit. But, I did it.
No joking, it takes commitment and persistence in breaking bad habits. But, change your habits, change your life. See the book.
How to break bad habits has similarities to how to form good ones.
It is not easy to quit or stop bad habits and the same applies to forming good ones.
Examples of good habits that people seek to form include good eating habits (or other habits of health and nutrition) and good work habits.
The ones I list here are on another level.
Habits make living life easier.
Basically, they allow you to perform a series of actions without much cognitive effort.
We operate on automatic with most of what we do — we just don’t realize it that often.
Without habitual processes, “we could not accomplish everyday tasks as each little act, like tying our shoes or dressing ourselves, would require so much conscious effort that we will be exhausted. … The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work,” according to psychologist and philosopher William James.
There is one habit that I recommend you do every morning first up or with any of the first three of the PRIME 5 that follow.
That is, get a hit of outside natural light early in the morning. This helps your circadian rhythm, which helps with mood, learning, and memory as well as a good night’s sleep.
While healthy eating habits are important for wellness, the following is a ‘good habits’ essay that lists five things to living a healthier happier life in tune with getting you on your path to success and wellness.
Consider these as daily habits to improve life in our 21st-century craziness.
The first three of the PRIME 5, when stacked together, involve a mere 15 mins a day. That’s a small investment towards an improved life and overall betterment.
The fourth and fifth are more habits of thought or mindsets to have throughout the day.
I consider these to be some of the best daily habits for an everyday to-do list that can help you in overcoming bad habits as well.
These also would suit children and students. They would be good for kids to adopt to start them early on a journey with healthy habits that support them through life.
Remember, habits are not only formed from repetitive behavior, but also from repeated thought, emotion, and perception. It is important to form healthy habits for life in all these avenues.
Remember P R I M E as your anchor for daily healthy living habits.
I do believe this is one of the best habits to have.
If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered ― Alexis Carrel
Spoiler alert: I don’t align with a particular religious group. I was raised a Catholic. But, today, my inspiration for prayer may come from varied sources, including Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Mother Nature, or Native American beliefs.
Prayer gives me courage and inner strength to carry on. Some people prefer affirmations. I use both and each has value in my mind.
Prayer: The most powerful form of energy one can generate with its effect on the mind and body as demonstrable as that of secreting glands. ~ Alexis Carrel, Nobel Prize laureate
I’ve seen how it makes a difference, but in case you are still doubting, there is much evidence supporting the value of prayer.
The list of the scientifically-supported benefits of prayer includes:
You need faith: complete trust or confidence that you are supported in reaching your goals.
Most of us don’t get that support from our superiors or peers. And, it’s unfair to expect our loved ones to provide such at all times.
Great continuing power that sustains and strengthens comes from prayer in depth. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Prayer remedies the worry and stresses in our work, our relationships, our homes, our lives. That’s been my experience and that of many others.
Worry and chronic stress impair our wellness. WE all know that.
The continued release of cortisol and other stress-related chemicals in our bodies from worry and stress plays havoc with our health and well-being.
So, a daily habit to relieve such is pertinent if you are seeking wellness.
In prayer (or in making affirmations), you allow a ‘higher intelligence’ deal with your issues and open yourself to support, help, and guidance.
Prayer has a way of lifting you up for a higher look — transcending your ego, personas, and others’ perceptions.
Prayer is a way of increasing our sensitivity to the spiritual aspects of life. ~ Robert I. Kahn
A favorite of mine is the St Francis of Assisi prayer:
Choose an Eco-prayer from any of these:
Christian Prayers of Gratitude and Care | Buddhist World Healing Prayers | Muslim Green Worship Resource | Hindu World Healing Prayers | Jewish Green Worship Resource | Tao Quotes on Nature and the World | Native American Beliefs and Prayers| Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime
Why not consider prayer as a must in good daily habits.
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect). ― Mark Twain
Reflecting is next on my daily task list. This is not the same as praying (in this context). It involves thinking (not over-thinking), contemplating, and acknowledging.
I do perceive this is important in any daily goal examples.
At times, I like to open a book at a random place to find inspiration, a spark or message for reflection.
The 7 Keys to Self Wilding covers behaviors and attitudes for reflection.
Reflecting opens the door to noticing what needs change, what needs adding, and what’s been achieved:
This is not a self-criticism session. Don’t beat up on yourself.
Aim for a constructive outlook.
If you find something you are dissatisfied with, look for a solution, find the positive.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. ― Søren Kierkegaard
Ask: What can I change or not?
If you have bad feelings, acknowledge them, and then visualize putting them in a balloon and it floating out the window – gone.
You now have a clear start for imagining wholeness and abundance entering your life. Imagining is the next part of this habit stack.
One of the good habits to start is journaling.
A gratitude diary is a great tool. I enter at least three things to be grateful for each day. After a month of doing this, you will notice a marked difference in your perspective, I assure you.
Journaling helps with changing bad thought habits.
Janice Kaplin’s The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life confirms the advantages of do this.See it here. .
Practically, all you need for a gratitude diary is a notebook – it can be digital, but I find hard copy works best for me.
It is best to make the writing journal a special one, like this gratitude journal.
Reflecting will prepare you for the next routine on my good habits list – imagining.
Imagining is one of the best habits to form. Just ask Albert Einstein.
Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere! ~ Albert Einstein.
Imagine achieving the desires you’ve just reflected upon.
Imagine yourself attaining steps in achieving these.
To imagine is to form a mental picture or concept. It is a powerful tool for attracting conditions you desire.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand ~ Albert Einstein.
The aim is to access a state of mind that is relaxed at an Alpha level, 8 – 13 Hz. This is when you are “in the flow.”
Creative visualization is potent at this Alpha level.
Creative visualization uses your imagination to manifest conditions in your life.
Many successful professionals in health, education, business, sports and creative arts use this technique to succeed.
Visualization with meditation is powerful in manifesting your goals.
Don’t take my word for it. Shakti Gawain’s Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life has sold millions of copies. See it here.
Creative visualization might seem out there, but it works. Be patient and continue practicing.
My 4P rule applies: patience + persistence + positivity = payoffs.
Make imagining a daily habit. Over time you will soon find mastery. Be like a child and let your imagination run wild.
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~ Albert Einstein
This, number four, is a mindset: Make a habit of moving, and make it outdoors in nature.
You’ll find exercise in most top 10 good habits lists.
Humans are built to move and to be in motion and so moving is a habit of life.
Sadly, in the 21st century, we sit more and move less.
I always remember the jelly-like humans in WALL-E.
It’s enough to get me motivated to get outdoors. To walk among the trees in the park. Nourish my mind, body, and soul — exercise!
It is a good idea to schedule in motion at lunch time, before work or as an after work activity.
There are a variety of outdoor activities to do, even at night, e.g., try stargazing.
Why does it matter so much?
Try… natural movement or fitness outdoors.
Moving can mean decluttering. Consider Fung Shui, simply moving furniture or home décor will shift blocked energy and increase energy flow.
The saying: “Change is as good as a holiday” is right.
While too much movement can be stressful, a certain amount is necessary for energy to flow and to remove blockages to shift the ‘tired’ and stale.
Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change. ~Jim Rohn.
This positive habit will help to attract success.
You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and EXPECT to win ― Zig Ziglar
This is a mindset.
Science tells us of the power of expectancy in the placebo effect.
It is seen in personal bests of weightlifters, in people mimicking their avatars, and even with wine tasting.
As Mark Manson expressed, non-believing is a reason to fail, since: “The mind’s unconscious beliefs about possibilities inform the level of effort and expectation of success from the body’s behavior.”
Remember…Jedi Master Yoda’s reply “that…is why you fail” to Luke Skywalker’s exclamation: “I don’t believe it!” in the Empire Strikes Back.
Chris Berdik writes in Mind Over Mind: The Surprising Power of Expectations about how our brains work in the future tense based on our expectations.
The book offers a captivating look at the frontiers of expectations research. See it here.
As Shakti Gawain noted, “…we always attract into our lives whatever we think about the most, believe in most strongly, EXPECT on the deepest levels, and/or imagine most vividly.”
A person can try to convince himself that he is happy, but if his mind is filled with counter intentions and self-limiting beliefs that tell him otherwise, he will never make any progress. ~ Dr. Joe Vitale
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we EXPECT it, can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity. ~ Henri Nouwen
Finally, expectations can be powerful when used to your advantage.
The 5 listed above are also good habits for students. I wish I had adopted them during my years of studying.
Habits take a minimum of 21 days to form according to Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life.
However, research shows it’s more likely to be two months before a new behavior becomes automated — 66 days on average to be sure.
Persistence is the key. Remember my 4P rule I mentioned above.
It’s a good idea to schedule time in your calendar every day for two months at least until you no longer need to …because, like brushing your teeth…it becomes a daily routine. Trello can be useful for this.
A habit tracker is vital for keeping you to account and also looking back and seeing what you’ve achieved. It’s a good motivating tool. You can download mine here. Use it as is, or modify it to suit your personal habits.
How to make a habit? In simple terms, it is to repeat something enough times that it becomes second nature. How to develop good habits is not easy but.
Here’s a simple step-by-step:
Step 1: Choose an anchor that will trigger you to the start the activity, feeling, perception, or thought that you want to make a habit. For example, cleaning teeth can be an anchor to meditate next.
Step 2: Try stacking your habits. Decide on the flow of your habit stack, e.g., reflect, then pray, then meditate or pray, reflect, then meditate.
For the stack suggested in this article:
Step 3: Keep a track of your efforts each day (a habit tracker is used for this) as this will help keep you motivated and committed to forming the habits.
Keep P R I M E in mind in your good habits list:
P R I M E is the prompt to recall your routines to do each day. But, don’t forget to get my habit tracker to record your efforts for keeping you on track.
Feel free to comment below.
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