Routines are a very influential part of our lives. Often mistaken as insignificant, habits define who we are.
The truth about habits
People tend to have dependencies. We love the feeling of knowing something already. That coziness and comfort of doing things on a daily basis. These are called habits, and believe or not, they define entirely who we are. They are sometimes small, easy to do, fast, but they take a huge chunk of time in our lives. Basically, our time is mostly made by habits. We rarely engage in doing something out of our routines. Maybe we go on a vacation like two times a year and see something new. But mostly are the same things that repeat every day.
Why do I say habits define us? It’s very simple. If you think about a cake recipe that has 90% sugar in it, can you eat it? Definitely not. The majority influence the outcome. Same thing with our lives. What we do on a daily basis influence us, not what we do once a month, twice a year or that resolution we have each time on New Year’s Eve. NO. What we do daily, our habits, our rituals, this is what makes us.
The same thing about motivation and optimism. You can’t do it rarely and expect to change your life. Feeling me? You need to practice it every single day. What you want, what you need, what you desire. Practice it every single day.
Replace bad habits with good habits
We can’t get rid of habits completely. Like I said, we are addicted to addiction, if I can say it like that. We need habits, but we need good ones. So, how to get rid of bad habits? A very simple and useful way I found is to replace bad habits with good habits.
Sounds easy but it’s harder to implement right? Maybe but not so maybe. Let’s take a simple example. I like music. Like any other topic, music comes in a variety of shapes and emotions. I used to listen to negative music, and by negative, I mean with a bad message, with a bad example of behavior. I used to listen to rap music, believe it or not. By that time in my life, I had a lot of bad things going on around me, because of me. After I changed the way to see life and realized that I control my destiny, I started to listen to happy and joyful music, with a good example of behaviors and language. I knew that listening to that music is bad, but I didn’t stop to listen to music entirely. Give me a classic, a dance song or anything cheerful and I get my happy mood instantly. Now don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the hip-hop industry that I followed for years, it’s just that now I don’t see their majority of behaviors applicable to my life. I care about love, helping people and motivate them, and this emotional frequency asks for positive music.
This is just an example. We have a lot of habits and routines in our lives. I am just trying to point out that any bad habit can be replaced with a good one. I will give you another example. I used to smoke a lot of cigarettes, drink alcohol and eat fast food (yes, I was a mess). These were my habits. Once I realized my life needs a change and fast, I switched smoking with working out, drinking alcohol with drinking green tea and eating fast food with eating healthy food. I know cigarettes to workout is a total change but is nothing to smoke that can benefit your health or success.
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Learn from other habits of successful people.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Such a beautiful quote and powerful at the same time. When you think about successful people, you might think about luck or maybe a set of privileges that paved the way for them, but in fact is their habits that are making them excel. We already established: if you want to change your life, change your habits.
But starting from broke, fat and unsuccessful sometimes we don’t know exactly what to do (been there, done that). Even when we are successful we can find ourselves stuck with a lack of ideas, and therefore a lack of progress. We hit what it’s called a plateau.
This is the way to do it: Study other habits of successful people and do them. You will have the same results as those people. Is that simple. Now, I don’t say you need to be a copycat and just mirror everybody, but we all need some role models. These role models might be real people or our concept of role model. We follow these role models, study them, admire them and eventually apply the same things they are doing but with our personal touch.
As an action plan:
Take a piece of paper and a pen, and write down all the habits you want to remove from your life. What it’s wasting your time and energy, but it doesn’t bring anything helpful or useful. Number them. After you finished this, take another piece of paper and write a replacement for each and every bad habit. Again numbered, until you managed to replace all the wrong habits with good ones. Instead of one hour of watching TV, do an hour of reading. Instead of going out for a drink, go out for a walk. Instead of chips or other strange snacks, get some fruits, almonds or whole grain snacks. And the list goes on and on. After you successfully found a replacement for every bad habit, start to implement the change today. One habit at a time, until you manage to fill out your routines with good habits, productive ones and those that pave your way towards success.
So go out there, learn from the best, then apply it with your best.