2020 has started a new decade, and many people are reflecting over the past as they make goals and plans for the future. I too have been doing a lot of reflecting and meditating on the past ten years of my life. Although I would go back and change some things, the good and bad experiences have allowed me to realize what I do and don’t want out of life. In fact, the most impactful habits that changed my life are still practices that I live by to this day.
A habit is a regular tendency, usually done daily. As parents, we teach our children that building good habits (such as brushing your teeth and cleaning your room) is important. However, chores aren’t the only activity that can become a habit in your life. Watching TV after dinner, stopping for coffee before work, or eating take-out every Friday night are all examples of simple habits.
The positive habits that changed my life are now daily habits that I still use and practice every day.
Whether good or bad, we must be aware of our daily habits and practices. As adults, we should re-evaluate our habits often. Practicing and developing positive habits have the power to change your life, while negative habits can ruin your life. You may think you need to change your life, when in actuality, you may just need better daily habits.
Many times our old, bad habits become second nature and we don’t even realize that our habits are in fact bad habits. Do you have any old or bad habits that are hindering you from growing?
Bad habits to STOP include:
- speaking poorly of yourself
- excessive drinking
- gossiping about and bad-mouthing others
- going to bed late
- skipping breakfast
- saying “yes” to everything
There are millions of articles, books, and videos full of advice on “how to change your life” and “how to develop healthy habits”. There is lots of great advice out there, and I’ve read many articles over the years trying to grab as many ideas and tips as I could. With that being said, if you feel like it is time to make a few life changes, go for it! You are the only one that can make the necessary changes for your life. The most impactful habits that changed my life didn’t start working until I made up my mind I wanted the change – and committed to doing the work to make the changes. New habits don’t come easy, but with time and consistency, anything is possible.
If you want to create new, healthy habits, here are a few tips from personal experience:
- Focus on one new habit at a time. Trying one new habit at a time helps you to ease into your new process.
- Commit to your new habit for at least 21 days. The first few days may be hard – but keep going!
- Reward your accomplishments. Encourage yourself along the way and celebrate your progress!
7 Positive Habits That Changed My Life (and will change yours too!)
1. Practice self-care often. When people think of the phrase “self-care”, they often think about a lady at the spa getting her nails done with cucumbers on her eyes as she gets a massage. The reality is, self-care comes in many forms. For me, self-care is:
- going to bed on time
- drinking water instead of soda
- writing my feelings in a journal
- drinking a cup of tea in silence
- walking to the elementary school instead of driving
- creating with my hands
- listing to podcasts while I cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- Saturday night bubble baths
- binge-watching YouTube videos while my toddler naps
- setting goals for my future
As a mom, self-care is me taking care of myself so that I can give the best version of me to my husband and children. I can’t help them if I am not at my best at all times. When I realized I had to take care of me to best take care of them, self-care became my top priority. Find activities that calm, relax, and reset your stress levels. Participate in activities that cultivate your skills and make you feel confident. Make taking care of yourself a priority, because when you don’t, you and everyone around you will be affected.
2. Be intentional about connecting with others. The older I get, the more I understand the importance of nourishing healthy relationships. There was a time in my life (being the self-proclaimed introvert that I am) when I believed that I didn’t need to have too many friends. I was content with the one or two people in my life that I did trust. In fact, that unhealthy habit was born from a lack of trust that I had developed from bad life experiences. What I didn’t realize is that I was holding myself back from so many new experiences because I was afraid to connect with people.
I have since learned that making new connections can benefit you in many different ways, not just friendships. Partnerships, mentorships, and alliances are all born from meeting and connecting with new people. You don’t have to make everyone your best friend, but it is nice to meet a new face every now and then.
3. Practice daily gratitude. During a rough time in my life, I felt as if everything that could go wrong, went wrong. My days were long and dark, and I fell into a deep depression. “How did I get to this place in my life?” was a constant thought I couldn’t shake. I had regrets and worries, and nothing seemed to help. Years later, when I look back during that time in my life, things were bad, but good things were happening during that time too. The problem is, I was too caught up in what was going wrong that I didn’t even take notice of the subtle things that were going right.
Now, I make it a priority to practice daily gratitude. I know that everything in my life may not be perfect, but I will praise and thank God for my life anyway. Even when things are bad, there is something, somewhere in my life going right. I choose to focus on that.
4. Have patience. Of all the habits that changed my life, learning to have patience may be the one that made the most impact. A lot of my anger and frustration was born from things not happening or things not happening fast enough. For so long, I held myself to a standard of meeting deadlines and accomplishments.
With time and wisdom, I now understand the power and necessity of having patience. God’s plan for your life is strategic, and there are things that you have to go through to become who He created you to be. Not having patience in your journey will cause you to rush through, miss, or overlook the lessons you are supposed to learn in the moment. Remove the pressure of wanting everything to happen “right now”.
5. Say NO. One of my biggest problems as an empath is taking on unnecessary weight and burdens. When people share their problems with me, I can’t help but sympathize, emphasize, or subconsciously take on their burden. Although caring for others is a good personality trait to have, it can become a toxic behavior if you aren’t careful. As an almost 30-year-old, I now understand that NO is a complete sentence. I now realize that I don’t have to take on the cares and burdens of others to show them that I care. There are ways to help others without hurting yourself in the process.
6. Take care of your physical body. I am a naturally petite girl, so working out and eating right has never been a priority to me. For the majority of my life, I have been able to eat what I want, when I want, and not gain too much weight. However, after having kids, the need for a healthier lifestyle has become a priority for me. Because I want them to lead healthy lives, I have to teach them by example. After making healthier lifestyle changes, I have become more alert, my thoughts are more clear, and I sleep better at night. Don’t underestimate the power of taking care of your physical body.
7. Learn new skills. I have been a bookworm my entire life. Reading is my top choice when it comes to learning new things. Now that we have Google, YouTube, and the power of the internet at our fingertips, we have even more access to knowledge. There is no excuse not to always be learning. If you practiced one hour a day, every day, you could perfect a new skill that can get you a raise at your job, help others around you, or create a new stream of income. Learning, studying, and researching grows your mental capacity while facilitating a mental-toughness to not give up. When you push yourself to try new things, it can help you to endure other challenges you may face in life.
8. **A BONUS!** Live in your purpose. Of all the habits that changed my life, this habit gave me an AH-HA! the moment I got the revelation. You were born to live out your purpose. God uniquely designed you for a specific reason with a specific purpose for your life. So many of us aren’t living in our purpose because we are either too afraid to step out of our comfort zones, or too ashamed to be different and go against what society says our life “should be”. We often end up settling for what “seems safe” instead of trusting our inner longing to fulfill our purpose.
You were uniquely designed for a reason – and God doesn’t make mistakes. Living in your purpose is the most important thing you can do for yourself and the people around you. What if someone, somewhere is suffering because you dont want to live up to who you were created to be? That would be tragic. You have to ask yourself the hard questions. Why did God create you? What are you here on earth to do? Are you living in your purpose? Why or why not? It’s time to get to work.
Are you ready to change your habits and change your life? I hope these tips help!