Developing the right habits of mind is where we need to start, before we move onto setting and achieving big life goals.
Change is a powerful process. But it only works if you give it enough time and let your mind get used to it without feeling overwhelmed.That’s why it happens on a mental level first, before we see any actual outcome in real life.
Habits are the things we repeatedly do that let us transform our behavior and who we are in the long-term. They let us build willpower in the process, and move gradually from old patterns to new, successful ones.
But too many people start big and rush into changing things like the time they wake up, what they eat, what they do daily, etc.
They do it at once, without any mental or physical preparation. And soon fail.
That’s because there’s a certain set of steps we need to follow if we truly want to build better habits. But most of all, we need to pay attention to our mind first and make it stronger and adaptive to change.
And, in fact, that’s easy. It too is a matter of choosing the right habits and sticking to them. It’s just that everything happens in your head. So others have nothing to do with it and no outer factors will have any influence on your mindset change if you’re serious about this.
By the way, you may find my book on mental habits useful. It covers 10 such behaviors.
But if you just want to take action mentally right away, here I’ve summarized four of them. They are easy but quite powerful if turned into a habit.
1. Always keeping your why in mind.
First, comes the importance of having a direction in life. That’s your purpose, the reason you wake up every morning and what will give meaning to your days.
It’s also what will make you happy and without regrets over time. But for now, you just need to figure it out and always keep it in mind.
Know that there’s a why behind everything we do, no matter how mundane.
And if our why isn’t defined by us and strong enough, it will be something ordinary. Then, it’s no wonder that we’re living an average life.
To find it, see what moves you, what you’re passionate about, what you can talk about for hours without getting bored, or what you can do for the whole day without feeling exhausted.
It doesn’t need to be a hobby. It can be something that’s not so visible. Like your love for teaching people, or for books, or for meeting new people.
All that must be analyzed as it’s obviously what you love doing the most. And then, be sure that with today’s opportunities there’s a way to make it a permanent part of your life and turn it into your career.
But even if that doesn’t happen, you’ll have defined yourself more clearly, will make sure your life goals and daily actions resonate with that why, and will take decisions more confidently having it in mind.
2. Learning how to focus.
The benefits of finding focus in daily life go beyond just doing productive work.
First, make sure you’re aware of all the distractions around us and how they are preventing us from getting things done. But what’s worse is that they are also leading us astray from our goals and dreams if we let them.
So we need to stay focused.
A goal can only be achieved if we keep our mind concentrated on it long enough and don’t let other people and outer factors get in the way.
Focus is the ability to choose to pay your undivided attention to just one thing, while many others will be fighting for that attention.
But here comes the moment to realize how precious our limited time is. And that we need to be selective.
So do only what’s essential. There’s no point and time for anything else.
3. Being present.
In this chapter of the book on the mind habits that lead us to success, I talk about letting go – leaving behind any thoughts connected to the past and future – and experiencing the present moment instead.
This moment is all we have control over. It’s where life happens and the only place we can do something about our future.
It’s also a great additional habit to focusing. They go together and form a state close to meditation, or when someone’s in the zone, when we feel super inspired and are more concentrated and productive than ever.
Only when we’re present and have ignored distractions, can we work on an important project, communicate with a person on a deeper level, breathe, work out, write, read, etc. Because then we’ll be one with the activity and thus be able to make the most of it.
Just imagine making this your lifestyle by doing it daily. It can be your approach to anything.
Forgiveness too happens on the inside. And must be turned into a habit if you want to make sure your life is peaceful and contented.
When I say forgiveness, I mean forgiving any other human being that’s done anything to you, forgiving life for the times it didn’t answer your expectations, and – most importantly – forgiving yourself for all your mistakes and the things you didn’t do but wish you had done.
If forgiveness becomes our habit, we’ll live simply, freely and happily.
There won’t be any burden from past relationships or unpleasant moments to carry with us, no blame as we’ll know life and other people aren’t responsible for what happens to us, and no regrets and disappointment as we’ll just accept ourselves for who we are.
Think about these four powerful habits of mind, make sure you understand their purpose and why they are good for you. Then make a plan on how to build them gradually. And take the very first step today.