Habits are an important component of my life and don’t believe I’m alone here.
I like to think that I’m a pretty productive individual with habits helping me to achieve and sustain this. Until the end of July my life was highly structured and regimented. With a busy full-time role, exercise regime, blog and coaching business to juggle (plus the household), I had to be pretty organised to have a hope of getting even half of it done. Hence the use of habits.
Since then, things dipped a little as we travelled this summer and were out of our normal routines. It’s now the second week of September and we’re pretty much back into the swing of things. Habits are now definitely helping us all settle back into everything.
What are habits?
Some of the dictionary definitions I found aren’t actually particularly positive, with some referencing unconscious and annoying behaviours.
I prefer this more innocuous definition from Make-or-Break-Habits.com:
“Habits are routine behaviours done on a regular basis. They are recurrent and often unconscious patterns of behaviour and are acquired through frequent repetition.”
They further to explain that habits involve a mental connection between a trigger thought or event (stimulus) and our response to that trigger. By repeating this connection time and again, this forms a habit and reinforces all subsequent decisions and actions. If repeated often enough, this connection can become very strong and could become difficult to disconnect unless we take conscious action to change it.
Good & bad habits
Habits in themselves are not good or bad. However, they’re often perceived as such by association with their action.
With ‘good habits’, we tend to think of virtuous things like heathy lifestyle choices including eating well and taking regular exercise. This could also extend to sleep hygiene and positive social interactions etc.
Depending on your view point (and your particular poisons), ‘bad habits’ could include smoking, eating unhealthily, excessive drinking, or excessive anything!
The benefit of using habits
Habits help me to take the thinking (and some of the required energy for willpower & planning) out of my life. This ensures that things I value get done, without having to take up too much of my brainpower or time, two of my most precious commodities.
Furthermore, in conjunction with planning, habits can be really useful in terms of taking away some of the motivation or decision efforts.
This blog on the benefits of developing the right habits and making them stick sums it up nicely for me, especially through an Age Life Balance lens.
The right habits:
- can help you reach your goals
- help you become the person you most want to be
- allow you to help people around you
- increase the overall quality of your life
- help you reap lifelong benefits
Food – eating similar things on a rotational basis can take away excessive choice, limits temptation and paths the way for sustaining a balanced diet.
Exercise – try to move in some way every day, so it’s more a question of what and when, rather than do or don’t. This could be as simple as getting out for a walk, but could incorporate other activities too.
My current favourites
I won’t bore you with every single habit I’ve ever had, but these are some of my key ones.
Planning ahead for the week on a Sunday – clubs, events, parties, meals, timings etc.
Use of some recurrent menu plans and batch cooking
Washing – doing a load each morning
Planning for the week: exercise, other commitments etc.
Evening preparations for the next day, lemon water, breakfast preparation, exercise prep, 5 key priorities etc.
Morning habits – affirmations, vitamins etc.
Social media – plan for the week ahead
Dealing with finances promptly
Coaching sessions, review and summarise promptly etc.
Habits are a big part of my life, by helping me to get many of the things that are important to me done, with minimal time, effort and brain power.
They can be useful for establishing good practice for the short or the longer term. They can help us be more effective in the day to day as well as living a better and more wholesome life.
Thank you for reading! For more on Age Life Balance, browse the blog at www.agelifebalance.com to find out more.