The Power of Habits

I read a lot of self-improvement, travel and finance blogs, and there’s a major topic that comes up in nearly every post, no matter the content.

It’s HABITS.

The act of setting goals and sticking to those goals. Not getting distracted and moving onto some new diet, workout routine, or to-do list app the moment you get bored.

I think the problem is people feel the need to find the perfect habit before they actually decide to stick to it. I know I’ve been guilty of this, searching around and reading endlessly about habits without actually implementing anything new in my life.

A good habit will change your personality for the better, so don’t expect that your current personality will be too thrilled about waking up at 7am, or getting cold showers, or anything else which takes you out of your comfort zone.

Also, don’t expect results to be immediate. Habits worth keeping will take time to cultivate. Especially things like exercise, meditation and quitting caffeine – these are habits where you’ll notice more results if you stop doing them. They cause subtle changes that most people don’t even realise they need in their lives – which is perhaps why they’re so neglected by lots of people.

Human beings are hard-wired to respond to immediate results, which makes sense when you’re a caveman trying to get food as quickly as possible. But in this age of smartphone distractions and constant sitting, we need to exercise our minds and bodies more than ever.

In my previous (mostly half-arsed) blog, I tried out a number of habits (no coffee for a week, a week of cold showers etc), but rarely did I stick to any of them. This blog is more focused on long-term goals and habits, since I’ve done quite a bit of experimentation these past few years and finally discovered the habits that work for me.

After university I would very much like to work for myself, so I need to put these habits in place beforehand so that I’m not constantly getting distracted and out of routine when I could be a much better version of myself.

What if you keep seeing no results every time you pick up a new habit? Here are some tips:

  • One week is quite a short time to notice improvement for any habit. If the end of the first week comes, tell yourself to try just one more week. If you don’t notice improvements by week 2, then start researching alternatives.
  • Read online forums, blogs and follow Facebook groups focused on your new habits. The more you surround yourself with like-minded people, the quicker you’ll pick up tips regarding your habits and the more motivated you’ll be to keep going with them.
  • Research common pitfalls for newcomers regarding your chosen habits. Perhaps there is something you’re not doing correctly that’s making the habit seem a lot trickier than it needs to be.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t be open to change – if you’ve been sticking with a certain exercise program for 3 months and it’s causing you problems and not showing results, move on. Life is a constant process of refinement, you will never reach a point where you no longer have to adapt. With this refinement also comes constant improvement, but you have to be open to change in order for it to happen.

(Image source: https://www.lifefitness.co.uk/sites/g/files/dtv351/f/life-fitness/commercial/cardio/elevation-series/gym-Munich-feat-Elevation-Series-Treadmills-in-DiamondWhite-L.jpg)

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