Humans by nature are creatures of habit, aren’t we? If we accept this to be true then it makes me wonder whether any habit can really be considered ‘bad’ or ‘good’….Surely, they’re just a manifestation of each persons reality and what makes that reality work.
I’m definitely a creature of habit…some might venture to say….a control freak, but those brave few don’t live long enough to talk about it….wait, what? Yes, I enjoy habits. Habits of the mind, habits of the body, habits at work, habits at home…I am big on habits of all kinds (except those ones that the Catholic nuns used to wear at my school, those are just nasty!) I find habits empowering, comforting, freeing and powerful in all aspects of life.
Habits help us to maintain order, focus, make decisions, organise ourselves, remember things, and express our individuality. Sure some habits could be considered kookier than others but who are we to judge the habits of another. One persons kooky is another persons life saver. I say let all habits live! Fly, be free little habit….I do not judge thee.
Some of my habits include –
- Reading as many news and professional articles as I possibly can each day (I like to stay informed, don’t judge me people!)
- Creating a list of what I want to achieve today…before I begin the day. I find this very useful to focus my work but also to help celebrate at the end of each day, by seeing all the things I have achieved. This is NOT a ‘to do’ list, it only lasts for one day. Start with a new one each day.
- Never eating breakfast before 9am (unless I am absolutely forced to, and then sometimes I just skip it altogether :P)
- Recording my health stats each day in my Tactio app (sleep, mood, steps, physical activity, etc.). This helps keep me focussed on a healthy me. I like that me, so I love this habit.
- Making sure my iPhone has none of those annoying numbers on it at the end of the day (you now the ones I mean….the white numbers in little red boxes that sit on the corners of apps…staring back at you and cursing you for your inattention!)
- Using my calendar for everything. This includes both my work and personal lives. I record everything I need or want to do in my calendar – email time, blogging time, research and writing time, phone calls, meetings, doctor’s appointments, school events, date night dates, etc. This sets up an expectation of the task being done, but also provides me with a deadline to work to.
- Realigning the photos on our dresser at the end of our bed each morning. I really must have done something unforgivable to the photo moving elves to warrant them coming each night to disrupt my photo harmony!
- Listening more than I speak. This is HARD but so very worthwhile! (As you may be able to tell from my blogging….I do love words, and talking!). Whilst this habit was harder to cement into my daily routine it was worth the effort. We learn so much more by listening than we do by speaking. This habit has made me a better person, life partner and leader… it’s a work in progress and likely always will be :).
- Making sure I always follow my healthy meal plan wherever possible. The learning to be okay when an ingredient isn’t available thereby necessitating a change to my plan, much harder….but I did it!…Ok, you got me….it’s a work in progress :(.
- Writing about, sharing or highlighting causes I am passionate about as often as I can. This is not only good for me and good for the cause, it’s also good for strengthening community.
- Folderising EVERYTHING! Okay, I know ‘folderising’ is not a word…but it should be! I like tidy, so I keep all my electronic files in folders, and sub-folders, and sub-sub-folders (alright you get the idea). I also keep my browsing bookmarks in folders, and my apps in folders….it may seem a little extreme for you but it helps me to order things and it makes it so much easier to find something when you are looking for it.
- Communicating with my tribe often. My tribe are my people. They get me in ways that others don’t. A member of my tribe may be so because of a blood connection (shout out to my Mum and Dad, love you x), a work connection, a social connection, or a connection made via a shared ideal or cause. Whatever the reason I consider a person to be a part of my tribe, these are the people I want to hold the closest and I can’t do that if I don’t make the effort to communicate and stoke the fires of my relationship with each of them. Making this a habit and not a task, has made it so much easier and more natural.
- Going to the toilet before I leave the house, always. OK, I have Mum to thank for this one….she trained me in this very useful, and important habit as a child. It has helped me out on many an occasion when others have not been so lucky (a strong bladder helps too!)
- Always leaving my desk tidy at the end of the work day. It’s a sign of respect to myself and others that I might be working with, but it’s also a beautiful clean slate to start with each morning.
- Practicing gratitude. Every day I find three things that have happened that day and I take a moment to offer up thanks for those things. Before I offer thanks though I take a moment to let go of any negative feelings from the day. Tomorrow is a new one after all and more things can be achieved in my new day.
I love habits but more than that I value what they can bring to my life, both professional and personal. We all have our quirks (and you’ve seen some of mine in the list above) but I am big believer in habits. I don’t see habits as limiting, I am able to set them aside, make new ones, discard useless ones, and step well outside my comfort zone if I think that not enough magic is happening within it….habits don’t hold me back…they just help me where needed.
So, if you don’t have many habits, or you just feel like adding a few more to help your life be even more awesome than it already is….feel free to pick and choose from my list above…or go on out and create your own. Be bold habit formers!