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How to develop habits? Get broken up with! Ha! However, it wasn’t necessarily the start of my formation of good habits–it was a catalyst for self-reflection and change. Weekly goal-setting with my nutrition coach helped me to form habits like journaling daily. But my break up pushed me to re-evaluate how I was spending my time.
A lot of components contribute to the development of habits. I just finished listening to James Clear’s, Atomic Habits and throughout this book I’ve learned that there are SO many things that contribute to one’s success with developing a habit. What’s interesting is that I’ve been practicing a lot of what he discusses but never had the words for it.
Things like environment, how easy a habit is to perform, cues, cravings–there are a lot of factors that go into whether or not a habit will stick and work for you.
I wanted to start thinking about ways to that I could improve my productivity and my health(physical, mental, and emotional). How can I get 1% better every single day (a core concept discussed in Atomic Habits)? How can I start doing the things I’ve been putting off for no good reason?
Here are 9 habits that I’ve developed since my break-up…
New Habit #1 – Start the day with positive affirmations.
I read a book a few weeks ago called Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein. One of the main themes of the book is to be grateful and emit positive energy into the universe. Positivity attracts positivity. She recommends starting each day with affirmations in order to emit positive energy. I loved this idea.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, what is the harm in setting your intention for your day? Why not start with positivity?
If you’re not sure where to start, here is a nice list of 50 that you can pull from and tailor to suit your personality. I say things like: “My body is strong and beautiful.”, “Today is a good day.”, etc.
Once you have your list (write it, type it) put it somewhere that you will see every morning easily. I have mine hanging by my coffee pot. My reward for saying my affirmations is a cup of coffee, and I will do pretty much anything for coffee!
New Habit #2 – Place my phone in a drawer until 10am during the work week.
I weigh myself every morning (positive habit!) and log it in MyFitnessPal. After I log my weight, my phone goes into a drawer in my kitchen until 10am. This gives me about 2 1/2 hours without the distraction of my phone.
We are a very distracted bunch. And the number one thing pulling our attention is our phones. Even the dumb notifications pull away our focus for a split second. I heard this idea in Atomic Habits (I’m telling you, this book is life-changing) and it has made a significant difference already.
In order to get better at something, you need to do it more. Practice as much as you can. Right now I am trying to improve my writing and I like to focus on this first thing in the morning. By getting my phone out of my sight, it has allowed me to write more without interruption.
The biggest distraction for me is seeing how a post is performing on Instagram–a behavior I need to get away from. As much as Instagram is a way to connect and share my work, it has not translated to much traffic on this site.
Moral of the story: Your phone is a huge distraction. If you want to be more productive put it in another room, drawer, etc for a few hours. Trust me–you’ll be okay.
New Habit #3 – Read at least 10 minutes every night before bed.
Most days I read well beyond 10 minutes, but I’ve kept it at 10 minutes to make sure I get into this habit consistently. Part of how have habits are developed is by making them easy and attainable. Ultimately I’d love to commit to 30 minutes everyday, but I’m trying to focus as much time and energy as I can on writing.
Reading is a great way to wind down at the end of the night. It gets your eyes off of that blue light, and helps you to relax. Need book recommendations? I have quite a few you can check out here.
New Habit #4 – Charge my phone across the room at night.
Very much related to my New Habit #2, the idea is to get that distraction as far away from me as possible. We’ve all done it (or do it): turn the lights off to go to sleep and the soft glow of our phone starts calling to us. It’s an addiction. Truly.
I assure you that charging your phone out of arm’s reach, or even in another room will only have positive benefits. There is really no valid excuse NOT to do it.
Bonus: Implement your phone’s built-in timers to reduce screen time.
This is a habit I hope to adopt in the near future: reducing screen time to 30 minutes a day. In the interim, I’ve been using features on my iPhone to try to reduce the amount of time I’m on social media specifically.
If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > Screen Time.
As you can see, your girl is on her phone WAY too much. I am a work in progress, but two things that I have done to try to reduce the time that I’m on my phone is with: Downtime and App Limits.
Downtime just makes it harder to be on your phone during that period of time. I am going to close that window a little bit more since I am typically in dream land by 11:30pm.
For me, App Limits is the more powerful tool. Right now I have a 45 minute per day limit on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once that limit is reached I can still open the apps, but still have limits. For example, if I’ve reached my limit for the day and try to open Instagram, I’ll be prompted with: “One more minute”, “15 more minutes”, or “Ignore limit for today” before the app opens.
I recommended easing into a social media cleanse using those tools if you have an iPhone. I’m sure Android phones have something similar.
New Habit #5 – Floss each night after dinner.
I should’ve have been doing this for years, but I have only recently made this a habit. I care too much about my teeth to be messing around. To make this as easy as possible, I purchased Plackers and have them sitting out on my bathroom counter.
I am also trying to get into the habit of flossing and brushing fairly immediately after dinner. The periodontist I see (gum recession from many years of braces) suggested I brush after EVERY meal. I’m not there yet!
New Habit #6 – Make my bed every morning after I brush my teeth.
My house was on the market for a solid year back in 2011-2012, and that catapulted me back into the habit of making my bed every morning. I had done it every single morning as a child until high school, and then never again until my house was on the market.
I like this habit because it’s an easy win. It takes under a minute, and you feel like you have accomplished at least one thing for the day. Plus it makes your room look nice and clean!
New Habit #7 – Write 3 blog posts every week.
I launched this blog on July 10, 2020 and have committed to writing a minimum of 3 blog posts every single week since inception. My ultimate goal is to generate as much traffic and interest for this site as possible. In order to do that I have to have quality content.
I spend a lot of time on the weekends writing my content and getting it ready to publish during the week. I keep a running list of topic ideas, but I usually tend to write in the moment. For example, I didn’t necessarily plan to write this post well in advance. I was inspired by Atomic Habits and thought that this was really interesting content.
I acknowledge that my writing isn’t perfect and it usually gets published with typos–but it gets published. I enjoy it and my hope is that I can help people as they’re trying to navigate life as well. The more I keep working at writing, the better I will become.
New Habit #8 – Practice Spanish for 15 minutes each night.
I have wanted to learn to speak Spanish fluently for a very long time. I have never devoted any time to learning outside of a required classes in high school and college. A few years ago I downloaded Duolingo on my phone and would open it up from time to time and do some of the lessons, but I never stuck with it.
Now I am practicing Spanish for 15 minutes every night with the app. Is that going to make me fluent? Hell no. But I am trying to cement this habit right now. Eventually I will increase my study time and possibly use another tool, but for now as I learn the basics again it is perfect!
New Habit #9 – Practice yoga daily.
I actually started this habit about a month before my break up, and I can report that I have done yoga every single day since May 25, 2020. I included it because it has been such a positive force in my mental health and would encourage everyone during this crazy time in our history to do something that makes your feel good every single day.
I am a Yoga With Adriene devotee. I love her teaching style and laid-back approach. Right now I am in the middle of her Dedicate series. I have done her Home series, and other random videos on her channel.
Only have a few minutes? She has several videos that are 10 minutes or less. There are also plenty of other yoga instructors and practices available if you are looking for something specific. But Yoga With Adriene is definitely my favorite.
How Habits are Developed…
Habits are developed one day at a time, one choice at a time. If you stick with them, they will transform your life. The key is to set yourself up for success. Make your daily habits as easy for yourself as possible. The goal is for them to eventually become automatic and things we do without a second thought.
What are some habits that you incorporate into your daily life? How do you set your environment up for success?