Summary: Everybody has habits and rituals in their lives. Why are some habits or rituals more effective than others? In this article I am telling you more of my (sometimes strange ) habits and how they can be so powerful when they are in line with your values.
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O boy, I love habits! I have some after waking up, to motivate me when doing something challenging, to help me focus or to help me gain more confidence before an event. It seems that many people are talking about their habits or those of somebody who inspires them. Perhaps habits help people to accomplish something or to get somewhere.
In this article I am telling you about some of my (sometimes strange) habits and how they help me. Some are my own and some are from others. Also, I am writing about the importance of habits and how they can help you to reach your goals.
After waking up, the first habit I do is to make my bed. The idea behind this is that if the day ends up being a failure, then I will at least know that I have accomplished something. By already successfully accomplishing one task, right at the beginning of the day, will set the tone for the day. I am more positive and inclined to take on challenging tasks and projects.
Then, I go to the kitchen and drink a big glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The idea behind this is that after a long night (I go to bed early: another habit) my body is pretty dehydrated and I get headaches quickly if I don’t drink enough water or tea. I want to perform at my best during the day so I drink a lot of fluids.
A conversation with..
After this, I do my morning contemplation and reflect on my dreams or any issues in my life (my worries, my goals and what I want to accomplish that day) for about 20 minutes. My contemplation is comparable to having a conversation with a higher consciousness. Often, I get new ideas and I am afraid that I will forget these ideas. But I restrain myself to write these down later, together with my dreams after the contemplation in my 5 minute journal. Nowadays, this takes me a little more than 5 minutes.
Downstairs, my son has set the breakfast table and my wife has made a delicious fruit salad. I make coffee and have breakfast with my family. Breakfast is an important ritual to set the day, to connect with my close ones. We talk about the day ahead, any dreams we have had and any worries (like upcoming tests).
Nearly every day I bring my youngest son to school and when I get home, I write down 5 things I want to do that day and start with the most challenging task. When that is done, all other tasks are much easier. Also read my article on how to really get things done.
Staying in line
Before a training or workshop, I have the habit of asking my client if any new issues have come up during the last time we’ve talked about the event. Sometimes things have changed or something has happened which can influence the planned program. When necessary, I adapt some content by adding or removing some exercise or story. I intent to be in line with the needs of a group and not just do my thing at a workshop or training.
Strange habit #1
Sometimes, I can be pretty anxious speaking before speaking in front of a large crowd. I also have this fear of failing or people judging me. I deal with this to stand in front of a mirror with my hands in the air. Then I smile to myself and say that I like myself. This gives me a lot of confidence since there’s already one person who likes me!
Strange habit #2
I also shortly (for about one minute) touch my pinkie with my thumb. This comes from a (Kundalini) yoga class. The idea is that by touching your pinkie with your thumb, you will be able to communicate more freely and more creative when you’re blocked [by fears]. You can also touch your thumb with index finger. It is said that this helps to generate knowledge, wisdom, receptivity and calmness. I mostly experience knowledge, receptivity and calmness.
Strange habit #3
Deep breathing (in and out) also helps me to stay calm and focused. By deep breathing I mean the breathing where your belly and your diaphragm under the lungs are expanded. By the way, deep breathing will also help you to stay calm when taking a cold shower or bath.
Why are habits so important?
There are many more habits and rituals in my life. I am sure you also have your rituals when going to a meeting, making a call, starting with a project, giving a presentation or bringing your children to bed.
Structure, boundaries and recovery
Habits help you to have a structure in life. Especially, today as we are overwhelmed by choices, opportunities, information and demands. They can also create boundaries. A walk during lunch can get you away from emails, tasks and questions from colleagues or clients. Then you’ll be able to recover, get recharged with energy to face the remainder of your day.
Meaning for life
By performing certain habits you demonstrate meaning you have for life, for something or someone you find important. By performing the right habits you will reach your goals faster.
Which habits do work for you?
Why is it then, that some habits will work and some others will not work for you? I believe that if a habit is not in line with your values in life, it will be not very effective since you simply don’t believe that they’ll work. Whenever a habit becomes a drudge and you feel resistance to perform a certain habit, go back to your values and reconnect with them. Without values, there are no values and there is no goal, purpose or WHY in your life.
So, the first step to create habits is to find your values. Do you have trouble defining your values? Read my previous article on ways to find discover your values.
Trust and loyalty are important values for me. Also, I hold kindness, respect, harmony, support, care and honesty as important values. Most of them can be found in my daily habits. These habits help me to live my highest potential and support me to get things done. That’s why good habits are important.
Discipline & habits
Do habits require discipline? I don’t think so. Discipline requires energy from me and habits give me energy. And as I have writing in my first article this year about starting with just one resolution, we just have a limited amount of willpower (which requires energy) each day.
So think about calling clients, assisting coworkers, tidying up your desk, hugging your loved one or going to the gym. Do you feel pushed to perform an action or are you pulled to do something? If you’re pulled, chances are great that you’re dealing with a habit based on a positive value!
What habits do you have? Let me know in the comment field below. I and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you!
Do you need help to find your values and create habits to reach your goals? I can help you through coaching. Contact me today for a FREE intake by clicking on the button below!
For more valuable information, background and tools about habits and rituals, read these books: Personal Development for Smart People (Steve Pavlina), The Power of Full Engagement (Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz, James E. Loehr) and The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck (Mark Manson).
You can also follow a workshop that will help you to find your purpose in life. Together with Marjolein Diks & Marius van Vlijmen we will be exploring what your WHY is, how to make better choices in line with your WHY and how you can communicate this. Habits will play an important role in all this. Stay tuned for more information soon!
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