We usually want to get rid of bad habits and work a lot on replacing them with good ones.
But there are some that are just forgotten, which technology has replaced, or that just aren’t cool enough for people to pay any attention to.
In this post I’ll remind you of some of them that are still quite powerful and can be beneficial to your personal and spiritual development.
Sometimes, when we don’t know what new behavior to start (or can’t as most are hard to build), it’s not that bad to go back to the basics that used to work some time ago, but which we’ve left behind somewhere on the road.
Here are some good old habits:
The Old But Gold Habits You’ve Forgotten About
1. Reading paperback books.
No matter what new ways of learning there are and what new technologies we are introduced to, reading will always be the best way to engage your mind, learn new stuff, entertain yourself, get motivated and inspired, get familiar with the life of successful people and how they got to where they are today, and more.
Reading (together with writing and a few other good old practices) is one of the habits that both successful and average people do, the rich and the poor, the great leaders in history and the hard working startup enthusiasts of today.
It’s okay if you’re already an avid reader, although it’s becoming a rare thing these days. But here I’m talking about unplugging and using paperback books.
There’s something special about the act of taking a book, opening in, reading it in silence without any devices or distractions around you, truly getting the meaning of each sentence, thinking while reading, and then putting it on your shelf next to the other books.
Moreover, I consider reading such a book before bed the best way to both engage your mind, learn new things and get to sleep faster and naturally.
If you’re not a fan of including that in your evening routine, then do it in the morning. Wake up earlier, grab a book (preferably non-fiction) and grow spiritually and intellectually.
So to conclude, here are the parts of this habit that work best for me:
- reading a paperback book;
- doing it first thing in the morning or while in bed in the evening;
- choosing non-fiction – motivational literature, biographies of great people that inspire you, or any self-help or business book you choose.
Combine these 3, make it a daily habit, and without any effort you’ll be working on your personal development daily.
2. Saying ‘yes’ only to things that truly excite you.
We have enough time daily to do many things, to exceed in many areas of life, and to relax, communicate and enjoy our leisure time.
But it’s never enough if we say ‘yes’ to everything there is. Some people have long to-do lists, but many of the tasks there don’t need to be done any time soon, can be delegated, or aren’t important at all. Others work on many goals at once, and thus don’t get closer to any of them.
Truth is we can focus on just a few things. And we can’t have it all. If we try, we end up feeling disappointed, always craving more, never being satisfied and not getting any results in the end.
If you want to get things done, be successful and yet stay sane at the same time and have time for some pleasant things too, you’ll have to say ‘no’ to most of the things you currently do.
That means saying ‘no’ to people who always fight for your attention but don’t have a deep relationship with you, in order to spend time with the ones who matter.
It means saying ‘no’ to many projects that are not that important or which you’re in doubt about, so that you can say ‘yes’ to 1-3 big goals that truly excite you and stick to them.
When we were children, we did only the things we loved. Not just things that were okay, or which we thought were right, but only stuff that enthused us.
Today we settle for less, we don’t aim high, don’t believe we can do things and find excuses. But back then, we just threw ourselves into what we thought would be great. And it always worked out. If it didn’t, it was a priceless lesson.
Here’s what Derek Sivers says about that:
“Those of you who often over-commit or feel too scattered may appreciate a new philosophy I’m trying:
If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
Maybe you’ve done it as a kid, just tried it a few times, or never actually took it seriously.
But it’s a powerful technique, simple yet with a profound effect.
Writing down your thoughts (on paper!) can happen at any time of the day, although the early morning and the time before going to bed are also winners.
It’s a therapeutic practice that lets you clear you mind, find out new things about yourself that you didn’t know where there, define your deepest desires and fears and let them out.
Writing it down can be hard in the beginning if you’re a newbie and don’t consider yourself much of a writer. But you don’t need to be. It gets easier every time.
Just put pen to paper as a part of your morning routine, for example, and write down how you feel, what you miss in your life, what you can do to get closer to your goals. Or analyze past situations in order to take the lesson and leave them behind.
There are health benefits to that too:
- you reduce stress;
- less anxiety;
- better mood;
- you become more focused;
- you improve your writing;
- self-analysis – you get to know yourself better;
- finding solutions to existing problems in your life;
- improved memory;
- you sleep better;
- you generate ideas;
- you complain to the sheet and thus empty your mind.
4. Spend some time alone in nature.
The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.
Robin S. Sharma
That’s another thing we almost don’t do these days.
People are either at work, in front of the computer, out with friends, or indulging in lazy habits.
But this old behavior can be the one thing that will help you find peace in the chaos of the day, react to problems with calm, be inspired again and grow spiritually.
There are 3 key components: being on your own, walking and contemplating, and being in nature.
When combined, they become a powerful practice that can help you live better and be happier in general.
Start by doing it for a few minutes (even if it’s not in nature), every 2 or 3 days. But then make the walks longer and do it daily.
5. Calling people instead of texting them.
Communicating through social media has become the preferred method these days. But it’s not healthy for a relationship.
A call still feels special, especially if it’s for an old friend and when he least expects it. It shows that you care, that you think about them and have taken action.
That’s part of the give and take approach in relationships and can be the missing piece in yours.
So what other old but gold habits like that can you think of? And which of these 5 are you willing to come back to?
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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