I certainly had some “lightbulb moments” looking inside my “Habit” closet after reading Mary’s blog. I almost instantly discovered that I have several long, loose, flowing garments that I enjoy slipping into in the evening. In addition, I found that not all of my other habits are created equal!
Some of my habits produce wonderful results in certain areas while others have disastrous impact on my very best intentions. All of them are tenaciously persistent and are quite reluctant to relinquish their control on my behaviors. After all, habits are rituals and behaviors that we perform automatically, allowing us to carry out essential activities such as brushing our teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed for work, and following the same routes every day without thinking about them. They free up resources for our brains to carry out other more complex tasks like solving problems or deciding what to make for dinner. I seem to have hundreds of them!
As I sorted through them, I picked out those that seemed like my “Top Five Habits.” Three were positive and two were negative. Frequently, they competed with each other for prominence. Exercise, Meditation, Writing as well as Procrastination and Overeating seemed to have considerable influence on my overall wellbeing. Everybody is different and your top five are probably quite different from mine.
I wrote them down with a marker in capital letters at different points on a blank sheet of paper. I drew arrows from one word to another as I discovered a connection that often work at cross-purposes. For example, overeating when stressed by procrastinating negatively influenced my love of getting out in the fresh air and taking a walk. Walking helped clear my head, relax and open my mind to fresh ideas to write about. I became more aware that my most entrenched habits have a significant impact on my daily life. It isn’t just a matter of doing away with the “bad” habits. It is also important to celebrate and practice more often the “good” ones. Focusing more on these key habits seems to be contributing to my overall happiness, productivity, and well-being.
I bet that your most important habits don’t exist in isolation, either. What are your “Top Five” and how do they affect your life? Jot them down, post them where you can see them and work on changing them a bit each day and see what happens.
Learning as I go, Barb