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Friday, July 15, 2016

How to Make Small Habit Changes

As I was reading through this article on How to Make Small Habit Changes by Sourav Adhikari, it occurred to me that we really can be empowered by the things we do everyday -- yes, those things we call habits. Making frequent smart small habit changes can lead to so many good things from choosing the right foods to eat, to balancing the checkbook to exercising before we head out for the work day.

How many times have we contemplated changing something that we find ourselves doing everyday, yet we don't change anything! The following is a great list of 15 ways we can make small habit changes that can have long-lasting outcomes we can be proud to follow. Thank you Sourav for the reminders!

(1) Take Small Steps: Time to reflect on the things we do throughout the day - consciously that is. Is there a habit that you would like to change and simply find it too difficult to consider changing? Even if it means getting up one hour earlier than you normally would to exercise or get ready for your day (running, yoga, or meditation), by doing this one act, you set your day off on the right course.

(2) Habit Identification: Perhaps you may not even be aware of your bad habit or you think you might, but you are not even considering making a change yet. At least by identifying your habit, you become aware that it may be preventing you from progressing to better things. 

(3) Make a proper plan: What are the things you want to improve or change? By having a solid plan, one can move forward.

(4) Challenge yourself: Once again, start out small. What if you are a smoker? Could you challenge yourself to not smoke a half pack of cigarettes before 10 am? What will make you stop or seek help?Smoking goes beyond just being a terrible, bad, unhealthful habit, but it keeps you from being your best! Give yourself credit to be better than that!

(5) Be positive: It is all good! In attempting to be positive, you are already setting yourself up for success. It just may take a little effort on your part, but you should be pleased with the results.

(6) Cut out distractions: Is something keeping you from completing your intended task/project? Clear your head first by taking a brief walk or stretching -- come back to what you were doing with a new mindset.

(7) Self-talk: Classic! We all have a little devil on one shoulder and a little angel on the other -- at least that's what it feels like sometimes. It is so tempting to talk yourself into blowing something off that you don't want to do. In being aware of the chatter in your head though, the next step would be in trying to re-focus and silence the chatter.

(8) Keep a Journal: This is so wise! It really is amazing what pen and paper will do with helping you to remember where you were and where you want to be.

(9) Breath Deep! Breathing fully and deeply re-energizes you and sets you on a course for success. It may not be the huge problem you think it is -- stay calm and breath.

(10) Replace thoughts: I really like this one. By replacing negative thoughts in your head with positive ones, it simply gives you perspective and another way of looking at things. It's sort of like seeing the "glass half full" instead of the "glass half empty" scenario.

(11) Good Habits: Hopefully by following some of the above-mentioned changes, good habits can become more frequent. In taking a step back and seeing the result of something positive, you'll want to keep doing it!

(12) Hire Someone: This may not be ideal for everyone as it could involve money that we don't have or don't want to use for this reason, but in "hiring" someone -- friend or family member -- to keep us accountable and on a well-paved path could be a really good thing!

(13) Reward Yourself: By rewarding yourself, good habits become easier to handle. It just makes sense to reward ourselves with good outcomes. It doesn't have to be food, but maybe a CD or coffee with a good friend or an extra hour of sleep on Saturday.

Lastly, in being mindful of our actions, we can gain so many good things that will benefit us in the long run. It may not seem like it at the moment, but having good self-control at the right moments counts for a lot! Imagine having a really bad temper and losing it every time something doesn't go your way. You aren't doing yourself any favors by getting upset since you are only hurting yourself! People may not remember the good things you do as frequently as they will remember the bad things! 

There really is nothing more inspirational than seeing the success of others who have worked hard to get where they are, right? In following the small changes listed above, you'll definitely be off to a great start!

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