Whatever you want to achieve in life, the basis for success is almost always identifying, integrating and sticking to powerful habits. I like to think of habits as powerful tools to automate the goal achievement process: self-insight (WHAT do I want to change?) and motivation (WHY do I want to change it?) get you started, but habits are what really keep you going.
I have compiled a full list of (in my opinion) the most powerful habits for each area of life. Feel free to add more in the comments :)
Whatever habit you pick, make sure you maximize your success when starting and keeping up with your new habit with these tips:
- Actually engineer a habit: Don’t just say you want to go running 3 times a week. Pick a date and time for it and mark it in your calendar. If you pick Tuesday mornings, try to always go running on Tuesday mornings — sticking to the same time will make it easier to follow the habit over time. To keep track of all your habits and priorities, I recommend setting up a weekly default schedule with recurring time-blocks. You can download my own weekly schedule template here to give you an idea of how that could look like.
- Set a trigger: Your alarm clock, a calendar event or a specific action or happening (e.g. you enter the train, you just arrived at home, etc.) can act as a powerful trigger to start your habit. This will make it easier for your brain to remember what to do.
- Stick to it for at least 3 weeks: Research has shown that this is how long it takes to form a new habit loop in your brain. Do everything you can to not skip your habit in the first 3 weeks. After that, it should feel almost natural to do your habit.
- Change ONE habit at a time: Don’t overwhelm your brain and decrease your chances of success. Master one habit and then move onto the next one.
- Do a weekly date night with your partner: Staying at home doesn’t count! This will create space for you to connect and communicate with each other apart from the stresses of daily life.
- Before rushing out of bed in the morning, connect with your partner: Spend time cuddling, kissing, saying I love you and discussing the day ahead.
- Call your parents once a week: Set a date in your calendar if you need to or combine it with another activity like doing your laundry or cooking (headphones are your best friend!).
- Decide how much and what kind of “social” you need and stick to it: If you are an introvert, you might be most happy with meeting one good friend for dinner once a week and spending the weekend with your family. If you are an extrovert, you might want to plan a couple of events every week and activities with your clique on the weekend. Whatever it is, find out what really makes you feel good and make it your social habit.
- Proactively plan experiences with family, friends and your partner: Sharing experiences like traveling, outdoor sports or a great concert deepens the bond in your relationships. Save an evening per week or half a day each weekend for activities with your loved ones.
- Always call for birthdays: Enough said.
- Meet 5 new people each week: Or 10. Or 1. Whatever makes sense for you right now to expand your network.
Mind & Soul:
- Create a daily morning ritual: Include some type of meditation to quiet your monkey mind and some type of visualization or affirmative practice to set your mind up for the challenges ahead.
- Make your bed every morning: This will create a sense of accomplishment right away.
- Let go of negative thoughts, fears and worries within 5 minutes: Acknowledge them, decide on necessary actions, schedule those actions and let the thought go instead of ruminating for hours.
- Think before you speak or act
- Get out of your head every day for 30–60 minutes: Spend time in nature, do yoga, read fiction, spend time with loved ones or do whatever gets your mind of everyday life.
- Regularly plan for things that nourish your soul: Have great conversations with great people, watch a feel-good movie, read a novel, drink your favorite tea, go to a concert…Contrary to the previous habit, this can be activities that you really get lost in for hours.
- Do mundane things differently to challenge your brain: Cook something new, take a different way to work, brush your teeth on one foot…new things keep your brain happy!
- Declutter your space every week: Clean up your living space, your phone (photos, messages, apps) and your computer (emails, home screen, trash) at the end of every week. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind!
- Write in your journal every night: Keep a list of things you are grateful for or simply do a brain dump to empty your head before going to sleep.
- Have a daily evening ritual to wind down: Turn off your digital devices, do your personal care rituals, drink some tea, light a candle, write in your journal, read or listen to a podcast or cuddle your partner. Over time your evening ritual will signal to your brain that it is time to sleep which will make it easier to fall asleep and have a deep restful sleep.
- Plan your week on Sundays: Get off to a good start on Monday by outlining your week the weekend before. It will make it easier getting right into the important tasks instead of just reacting to the email influx and spending hours figuring out what to do.
- Get out of your comfort zone: It’s where the magic happens.
- Do the most important thing first in the morning: This is by far the best procrastination trick I know. Get clear on your most important task for the day and tackle it right away. Even if it is painful.
- Do one thing at a time: Focus. Focus. Focus. Nothing good ever came from multi-tasking.
- Have set times for e-mail and other distractions: Proactively focus on the important things instead of reacting to urgent things. Keeping your email open all day is probably the productivity killer number 1!
- Learn to rest: Take a break in your workday, take a break on the weekend and regularly take time off. You will return refreshed and with a new perspective on things.
- Celebrate small wins: Pause and celebrate how far you have come. Because otherwise, work never stops. And you never have arrived.
- Make it a habit to act: Don’t overthink. It is better done than perfect. And better started than postponed.
- Listen to podcasts for hands-free personal development: Learn while commuting, cooking or cleaning. By far my favorite personal development hack!
- Watch documentaries, webinars or online courses instead of TV: This can actually be equally relaxing — you just need to make it a habit. And once it is one, you will actually crave for your daily dose of learning!
- Read: Schedule some extended reading time for the weekend and read or listen to audiobooks every day before going to bed (it’s also a great way to fall asleep).
- Reflect on your week: Take a few minutes at the end of the week to reflect on what was going well in every area of your life, which issues you are facing and what you can improve next week. This also works well as a reset when you have been neglecting a habit for some time. Reflect why it happened, adjust the habit and start again the next week.
- Sleep 8hrs every night. Or whatever quantity you need to perform your best.
- Sweat every day: Even if it is just for 15min. Your heart will thank you later.
- Start your day with a healthy breakfast: This will make it easier to opt for healthy choices later in the day as well.
- Set up a proper beauty routine and stick to it: Skincare, beard care, hair care — take care of your body.
- Eat mindfully: If you eat, JUST eat. Don’t watch TV or try to reply to emails. Focus on the taste of the food in your mouth and enjoy every little bite. Take a break halfway through and ask yourself whether you are still hungry. And if not, stop eating. This habit might even make you lose some weight — effortlessly.
- Eat well: Opt for fresh, healthy, unprocessed and nourishing food.
This post originally appeared on www.refinedlife.io