Our habits shape us. It’s that simple.
It’s pretty hard to find a truer statement in life. From Confucius to Aristotle, many philosophers have reflected on this truth.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” said Aristotle.
“Men’s natures are all alike; it is their habits that separate them,” said Confucius.
If you think about it, your entire day plays out in the form of a series of habits that you partake in as the day wears on. You should, therefore, be wary of your habits.
Successful people try to get rid of the bad ones as soon as possible and form life-changing ones instead.
The secret ingredient for changing your habits successfully
While it’s easy to be enthusiastic about developing all the right habits we need to improve our lives, it’s a different thing altogether to commit once we make the resolve to form life-changing habits.
About half of the people who decide to change their habits never make it past the six-month mark. The average human being will repeat a resolution ten times, failing each time.
The most important things we need to help us change our habits in a meaningful way that is likely to change our lives are
For the changes you make in your life to be both meaningful and long-lasting, you need to form and execute new activities that help you consistently reach your goals until they become part of your habits.
That said, here are five life-changing habits you could adopt today for a better and more meaningful life:
Start These 5 Life-Changing Habits Today
1. Do the most important work in the morning
The first step here is to plan every day of your life.
You should never start your day unless you have planned it. Get a list of things you need to do for the day and list them in order of priority.
Once you’ve got that done, do the most important thing on your list first in the very first hour of the day. This will give you a highly satisfying feeling and get you in a flow state right at the beginning of your day.
Remember that: your mornings aren’t for the least important work in your day. Your mornings are for the most important work in your day.
It’s easy to get bogged down doing work in the morning that certainly keeps you busy but doesn’t really add any value to your work, goals, or vision.
Such work includes replying to emails, responding to social media notifications, and other things that can eat into your time without making any major contributions to your day.
2. Focus on one task at a time
We live in an age where digital interruptions are the norm. In such a world, it’s understandably going to be very hard to avoid interruptions.
The best way to deal with this is to direct all of your attention at any given time to a single task and to focus on it until that task is done.
In fact, you could go as far as to allow a fixed amount of time to a particular task you want to carry out, adding dates and times to the tasks on your list.
For the time allotted to a task, focus on nothing else.
Push yourself to do the task and complete it within the allotted time. Do not tolerate any distractions during that time and put all of your focus on the task at hand.
To help you get through this, you can try out the Pomodoro Technique, which drastically improves your chances of success.
According to the Pomodoro Technique, you focus on a single task for 30 minutes straight, then take a break of 5 minutes, then repeat the 30-minute cycle. After doing this about 4 times, you can take a longer break of 15 minutes.
3. Spend 5 minutes a day being mindful
Being mindful is simply being aware of the thought processes that go through your mind. If you can catch your mind wandering at any given time, then you’re already halfway toward being completely mindful.
To be mindful, you should pay attention to everything happening both around and inside you. This can be very helpful for your brain.
When you practice mindfulness, you direct the activity of your brain from the limbic system, which is traditionally reactionary, to the more rational parts of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex.
To achieve mindfulness, you have to be completely calm, and sometimes it’s easier to achieve that calmness when you start your day off right.
You don’t have to do a 30-minute meditation routine to get there. All it takes is being present in every moment of your day.
For starters with this one of the life-changing habits on the list, stop dwelling too much on regret about the past and worry about the future.
That will leave your mind open to information that you were previously unaware of. It can also alter the fundamental way in which your brain works.
Take 5 minutes in the morning or evening to be mindful. In that 5 minutes, you will be able to improve the way you react, make decisions, and the way in which you engage with those around you.
4. Read more
Your brain needs books as much as your muscles need weights.
It will give your brain the freedom to roam in many different dimensions: time, space, and emotion, giving you access to deeper concepts, knowledge, and feelings.
When you subject your brain to books, you give it the opportunity to make new connections, change, and grow.
You get to learn new things, see old things in a new way, and learn new ways of seeing the world that would otherwise have been completely inaccessible to you. You also engage multiple functions in the brain at once when you read, such as sight, hearing, fluency, comprehension, phonemic awareness, and much more.
Reading also slows down the degrading of your brain later in life and keeps your brain much healthier. It’s also valuable in the modern world, where information is everything.
5. Practice lateral thinking
This is simply approaching a challenge from a completely different angle than what is obvious or what you’re used to. Sometimes it’s all you need to get unstuck when you’re dealing with a problem.
Sometimes it’s all you need to get unstuck when you’re dealing with a problem.
The opposite of lateral thinking is vertical thinking, where you go step by step and analyze the facts of the problem based on convention, expecting one clear result at the end.
With lateral thinking, you jump from one step to another, not necessarily in their order, and break the rules and explore the endless possibilities.
This kind of thinking will not only help you solve difficult problems, but it will train your brain to think in different ways, allowing it to form new connections in the process.
It’s way more fun than traditional thinking. This one of the life-changing habits also makes you more creative!
Remember, while these habits can help you change your life for the better, what is more, important is that you keep applying them consistently on a daily basis.
It is only with commitment, consistency, and patient, that a habit sticks and starts to have a meaningful impact on your life.
About The Author
Lauren Adley is a writer and editor at UK Best Essays. She is dedicated to her family, work and friends. She is keen on reading, playing the guitar and traveling. She is interested in educational, marketing and blogging issues.