What Habits Are You Cultivating?
Like everyone, you have habits that make your life run smoother. You don't have to think about whether you put your right or left shoe on first. Brushing your teeth is part of your morning and evening ritual. When you drive to work, you follow the same route you've followed for years. Habits free your mind to attend to more important details, like planning your day, deciding on dinner and formulating that email to an important client.
But not all habits are helpful. These are ones that don't give you the results you want. They may be physical habits, such as eating too much at a meal which causes you to gain weight. Or they might be mental habits of self-doubt that undermine your success. Some are outdated, formulated to help you when you were younger but no longer serve a purpose. Procrastination, perfectionism and seeking approval fall in this category.
Habits develop by what you pay attention to and repeatedly act on. You make small decisions each day, that compound over time. They create pathways in the brain, and you eventually operate on them automatically.
You can choose what your habits are, by consciously deciding on specific actions and following through on them. Or you can drift, and choose the easiest course. Taking the path of least resistance may be the simplest in the short run, but it will probably detour you from your desired goal. And this, too, may become a habit.
Just as you exercise your body to make it stronger, you have to repeatedly choose constructive actions and thoughts you want to make into habits if you want a better life.
Athletes train their reflexes and to build muscle-memory. This allows them to respond more quickly to specific situations, such as a starter pistol or ball coming at them. They perform in the way they've trained to achieve maximum results. They've drilled the reaction into their bodies. In a competition, they don't have to think about how they're going to respond, they just do it. Each movement was considered and implemented ahead of time to result in a specific outcome.
Are your habits positive or negative, beneficial or self-sabotaging? What routines have you created for yourself? Do they further your success or have they undermined it? What behaviors have you cultivated in your life? If you want to make a change in your life, practice different thoughts and actions.
Here are some tips to help you create new habits.
1. Decide on your outcome. Do you want to have a healthier lifestyle, more friends or greater success? What do you have to do to achieve that? Develop a series of steps that will take you in the direction of your goal.
2. What do you have to let go of? Whenever you invite a new idea into your life, you have to let go of something else. If you want to exercise more and be healthier, you have to leave the comfort of the sofa. To reduce weight, you have to reduce portions and avoid fast food. For greater prosperity, you have to release the belief in lack.
3. Compare each choice to your goal. Ask yourself, "Does this bring me closer to it or push me farther away?" It may be tempting to ease off if you're overwhelmed, but you will ultimately pay the cost of a delayed or sabotaged achievement. Persist each day, one decision at a time. Those decisions build up to create the habits you want.
4. Be careful about what you say to yourself. The statements you make to yourself will either support and encourage you, or undermine your progress. Pay attention to what you're saying to yourself about your intention, and make it positive. Habits are created by what we focus on, because action follows attention.
Ultimately, to create a new habit, you have to break the old one. Then you have to substitute the new decision in its place. When you're consistent and persistant in your actions, you'll develop your new habit within a short time.
It may not be easy, because your subconscious doesn't like change. But your determination and resolve will persuade your inner mind to support you on your quest. Stay the course and soon you'll have cultivated a habit that produces the results you're seeking.
Copyright © 2009-2017 Linda Ann Stewart
As a speaker, personal and professional development coach, and hypnotherapist, Linda-Ann Stewart helps business and professional women who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to focus, prioritize and break through so they build more business and create a consistent income. Sign up for her FREE guide, "Take Control of Your Day," at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/guide-takecontrol.html.You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.
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