Building positive behaviors is as important as dealing with negative habits. Here are eight ways to use your habitual nature to create good habits.
Eight Ways to Build Good Habits
We are creatures of habit. So rather than trying to change our nature, we learn to use it. In fact, we’ll use this aspect of our nature to make life better. This is a mind hack that can change the trajectory of your life.
It’s a way of creating positive behaviors by using our habitual nature. Building good behaviors is a worthwhile endeavor. Anyone can make good habits work for their benefit. You can do this.
1) Set SMART Goals
Goals are the most direct and powerful way of creating positive behaviors. We start our discussion on the eight ways to build good habits with “smart” goals. Smart is an acronym to remind of the best way to set goals.
Smart is an acronym (1) for goals, which are:
- Realistic and
- which are Time-oriented or time-sensitive
Another important best practice is to make incremental goals. Use one goal to build onto the next. Breaking the larger objective into smaller benchmarks helps you reach the result. For example, you ultimately want to lose 20 lbs. Start with a target of 2 lbs. Celebrate each step. In fact, celebrating the small steps will encourage and empower you to reach the goal.
Put the hardest item first, at the top of your to-do list. We know this practice as “eating the frog.” You get the hardest item out of the way first. Prioritizing the hardest thing first will help you in several ways.
First, it builds a key behavior for success. Reaching incremental goals will build momentum to accomplish larger objectives. This increases your confidence. And your success strengthens your intent. Your intention is like a garden. Tend to it, and it will grow. This is the basis for building good habits.
Also, make daily goals. Keep the list short, only five or six items. Building good behaviors is easy if you take it one step at a time. This will give you direction but not overwhelm you. If you already use a to-do list, then scale it back to only ten things. Next, make sure one of these is the second and third practices below.
Next, be sure to make time for meditation. Start small, just two minutes. No matter how tight your schedule, everyone can spare two minutes. We recommend starting with mindfulness meditation practice.
This includes both seated and moving forms. It’s easy. This practice provides more energy and focus and is good for overall health and welfare. Use your smartphone to set a reminder every day. We know there are benefits to meditation. So start today.
This is the essence of taking time for yourself. Learning to fold your attention inward is a key to mental and physical health. A two-minute break can recharge your mental batteries and center your focus. Meditation is the foundation of good habits because it provides clarity of thought.
3) Maintain Your Health
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. ― Jim Rohn
We all start in different places. Our bodies are all different. Some people have more obstacles to their health than others. The level of our health affects every aspect of life. That’s why it’s so important to health on the radar.
Exercise should be on the list of goals. It’s hard to be consistent with exercise. So, keep starting over. This is one of the eight ways to build good habits that is easy to overlook. Put your list of things to maintain your health on your SMART goals list.
Learn about all the aspects of your health and wellness. A healthy and skeptical mindset is an asset to your health and wellness. A beginner’s attitude or mindset is equally helpful. Some people believe it is a necessity.
This teaches us to question things and look for a deeper meaning. The study of logical reasoning is critical in helping you determine the facts from the fiction. Exercising the mind and body are good habits essential to mental and physical health.
4) Read Something New
Read something from outside your normal reading genre. Seek books on science, philosophy from outside of your worldview. Read blogs like this one that challenges your thinking.
In fact, read the banned books first (2). The reason people and governments ban them because they expose injustice, bias, and prejudice of the cultural narrative. These are books that reveal the hypocrisies of society.
These are exactly the facts you need to make rational decisions. Reading helps you to ask the right questions and learn to question the cultural narrative. Learn how to break unhealthy patterns of thought.
5) Increase Social Awareness
Increasing your social awareness also increases your problem-solving skills. A side effect of this will be a growing concern for people in harm’s way and the environment. This may open avenues for you to help make the world a better place.
It’s the small acts of kindness that make a big difference. Don’t underestimate the power of your actions. Do what you can within your sphere of influence. Building good behaviors should have a positive effect on the world.
The other side of social awareness is learning to avoid as much of the social programming as possible. Eliminate or minimize the use of TV news and religious programming. These are the primary sources of social bias and prejudice. This will feed the groupthink manipulation, which they foster. Learn to be a freethinker.
Above all, fill your life with hope and allow yourself to become vulnerable. Open your eyes to social injustice. Learn to live a courageous life.
6) Maintain Healthy Friendships
Social media can help us make new connections and maintain personal ones on a superficial level. However, don’t overlook the power of your voice. Nothing is more assuring than your presence. Make time to maintain healthy friendships.
A healthy friendship is one in which both parties gain equal support. It doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of time together. It’s not uncommon for friendships to have common interests. This makes spending time together enjoyable. Friends help each other become the best versions of themselves. Time apart gives a friend new information to share. Time together helps us build meaningful shared memories.
7) Reducing the Clutter
Reducing the clutter in our lives is important. Minimizing clutter enables us to maximize the value of what is most important. This strategy definitely works. Clutter exists in two realms, the physical and mental—both work hand in hand. When things are less cluttered and organized in our physical world, we feel better, calmer, and more self-assured. And when we feel better, we make better decisions.
So, reducing the clutter in our physical world helps us reduce unnecessary and unhealthy thoughts. This is also an unhealthy comfort zone for many. So reducing clutter is an antidote for building good behaviors. This will enable you to make positive changes that will affect the world.
This fits well with the first item on our list, setting goals. The difference here is the focus on minimizing the number of things we own. That’s because our possessions can end up owning us. After all, it takes time and resources to gain them.
Collecting things is habitual in our modern culture. And so things become an external measuring stick of success. This isn’t true, but that’s how the cultural narrative works. One of the major elements of the cultural narrative is commercialism. Collecting things becomes an overwhelming bad habit. Instead, we want to use our habitual nature to build good habits. An uncluttered mind and physical environment are vital to our health.
8) Be Authentic
Finally, be authentic. Don’t pretend your way through life. Don’t fake it until you make it. If you do, you’ll end up being a fake. Be brave and be present. Become a warrior of light, confronting injustice and prejudice with compassion.
Our modern culture teaches us to conceal any negative emotions. We are to smile even when we are sad or depressed. This conditioning leads to stress overload and other serious mental issues.
Many people pretend for so long that they don’t know who they are. They lose touch with their feelings. All their monetary success does not make them happier. In fact, just the opposite. It’s the stark reality that our modern society uses peer pressure driven by commercialism. Presenting a fake persona of success is all that counts.
What got us to the place where our culture drives these hollow aims? The blame lies with the dominant worldview. This is the legacy of the Abrahamic tree (3), which dominates most modern cultures.
These systems begin the programming of children at an early age. They have perfected groupthink manipulation, which overrides logic and reason. In this system, people must suppress questions and feelings of doubt. However, its worldwide reach makes it nearly impossible to avoid its effects. So, do what you can within your sphere of influence. Speak up and plant facts, but be safe.
There are situations where it’s best to guard your words and emotions. Become mindful of the social implications of being honest. Sometimes it is prudent not to express your emotions. Don’t take unnecessary risks. If the situation makes it prudent to mask opinions or emotions, then give yourself time to decompress and express afterward. It’s good to have a friend with whom you can be honest and express your genuine feelings.
Balancing your health and wellness is an important ongoing task. Keep it in mind, and you’ll make it happen.
Final Thoughts on Building Good Behaviors
These eight ways to build good habits are tactics everyone can use. This strategy for creating positive behaviors uses the power of our habitual nature. So, don’t think of habits as bad things but as powerful routines that we can learn to improve our lives.
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(1) SMART goals, Wikipedia
(2) List of banned books by Governments, Wikipedia
(3) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia
(4) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia