Think about this—your life today is essentially the sum of the habits you have created over the years. How in shape or out of shape are you? A result of your habits. How happy or unhappy are you? A result of your habits. How successful or unsuccessful are you? A result of your habits.
Since habits have such an impact on our current and future happiness and health, I wanted to take some time to talk about habits and which ones can help set you up for daily success.
What are habits?
Habits are the small decisions you make and actions you perform every day. According to researchers at Duke University, habits account for about 40% of our behaviors on any given day.
So how can your habits help you build a happy and healthy life?
What you repeatedly do (i.e. your habits) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. Our habits are more important now than ever. It is easy to slip into repeating bad habits, but I encourage you to set yourself up for daily success with some of the habits below.
● Determine your daily to-do’s: Write your top three goals for the day. This will require less mental energy and create less unexpected stress. Think about the 3 results you want from the day. If you accomplished nothing but those three things all day, you would still feel like you had a successful day.
● Create a daily routine: A simple daily routine can help the days go smoothly. Getting up around the same time each day, taking a shower, and getting dressed can start your day with a sense of normalcy. Morning routines can help you start your day calm and in control. There are less distractions in the morning. Less obligations come up and you have a better chance of being able to focus on yourself.
● Practice daily gratitude: The practice of daily gratitude will quickly shift your perspective onto what is going well in your world and lead you to better appreciate what you have in your life. This is an instant game changer!
● Set reasonable goals and stay focused on your goal(s): Set yourself up for success, not failure. Do you really think you are going to clean out the entire garage in one day? Think about how realistic a goal is before diving in head first.
● Move your body: During the work day, get away from your desk and spend time away from distractions. Even 15 minutes of movement, fresh air and disconnecting from technology can improve your mood and productivity.
● Practice mindful eating: We are all busy and stressed, but we also need to eat. Taking even just a few minutes to sit down at an actual table and eat meals mindfully can do wonders for your mental health.
● Get organized: Clean-up your space. Seeing too much stuff makes your brain slower, like a computer with too many apps open. Start with your workspace, then move to other areas of your life (car, bathroom, closet, kitchen, etc.).
● Unplug at night: Technology is a wonderful thing, but it can also cause us additional stress, interfere with our sleep and our relationships. Set a “bedtime” for your phone in the evening, at least 1 hour before you plan to be asleep. Place it in another room and spend your time with the people or activities you love.
Maaliea Wilbur is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Executive Director of TherapyWorks. With 10-plus years of experience, Maaliea’s broad-level expertise allows her to successfully support kids, teens, adults, couples and families. For information visit mytherapyworks.com.