Hey Gemmers, it’s another Monday again so it’s time for your weekly dose of #MondaySelfcare vitamins with your friendly Dr O. Today’s prescription will help you out with maintaining good habits like it says on the title. Please Like, Comment, Share and Subscribe. Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, thank you.
NOTE: Take Action: don’t be merely a reader and not a doer. I liken it to wanting to run a marathon, reading the rules and techniques all the time and then expecting you to become a full-fledged pro when the race comes without ever practicing how to run marathons. Let's goo!
I’m glad we went kinda extensively into what habits are last week so now I can breeze through this one because I’ve fulfilled all righteousness. We all know examples of goods habits such as exercise, punctuality, healthy eating, saving, sensible spending and just moderation in a lot of things. These good habits should be a choice you have to make and not being forced on you like when your mum tells you to do chores. I’m a prime example that chores have not become a habit even after doing them for years and years.
Benefits of Good Habits
I did say in my last post How to Break Your Bad Habits that bad habits are easier to pick up than good ones but then again does anything good come easy? I mean, no pain no gain, right? It’s important to have the benefits of developing and maintaining good habits in mind for the hard or rainy days. A good chunk of personal development or self-help boils down to transforming your new knowledge into daily healthy habits. The importance and benefits of good habits cannot be overemphasised, I mean your fave celebrity has probably said it. Anyways, here are a few benefits of good habits:
(i). Good habits are necessary for your goals: If you want to succeed in life then effective goal setting is a NECESSARY habit to have and so is self-discipline to carry out the necessary actions to achieve your goal(s). You can’t do one without the other or your life is gonna be a bumpy ride like Mohombi lol. For example, if you want to win a professional sprint race coming up you have to set up good eating habits, sleeping habits and obviously exercising and training habits amongst other habits. Unless you’re The Flash or Dash from The Incredibles you can’t just roll outta bed on the day of the sprint and expect to win.
(ii). Good habits can make up for wasted times: Wasted times cannot be gotten back especially time spent on unnecessary things which you may or may not regret later on. When you form good habits such as living a healthy lifestyle by eating and exercising well, it will in a way make up for the times you wasted being unhealthy for whatever reason, plus, you’ll feel much better about yourself when you’re being and feeling effective and healthy!
(iii). Good habits are more effective than motivation: One of my acquaintances used to say, “we don’t move by feelings”. Motivation is a finite resource and really and truly it relies on how you feel and this is partially why we procrastinate. There will be days you don’t feel like working, working out, eating right, waking up early but once these are habits it cuts your work out because they become AUTOMATIC and can be done without conscious effort. The only issue is you have to get to the point when these habits stick and that my friend is not exactly an easy feat.
Starting Good Habits
Before maintaining anything you obviously have to start it. If you’re anything like me then starting isn’t a problem at all, it’s maintaining.
Choose Wisely: On the journey of good habits the first step is to take your time and choose wisely what habit you want to develop and how you’ll develop it. Remember I said you can’t kill off a habit you can only replace it. So, if you want to focus on your health for example then you have to think about what aspect of your health you’ll want to focus more on and which habits will bring you the most benefits and satisfaction. According to Elizabeth Scott, most people have high stress levels and I said in my post 5 Simple Tips for Dealing with Stress, stress can affect your health and other areas of life such as your relationships negatively. Scott said that in fact, it’s been estimated that more than 90% of health problems that bring people into the doctor’s office are stress-related! But while virtually all of us could benefit from adding healthy habits to our lifestyle, it’s harder to begin a new habit than it seems, especially when you’re already overscheduled and overstressed!
When choosing a habit, it should be one that can easily fit into your life or schedule or one that reflects your personality and you should have enough willpower to last you till the habit cements itself. Good habits don’t need drastic change in your daily life to be accommodated. For example, if you want to start exercising but you don’t like cardio instead you like dancing you can simply switch to that…being healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Check out The Stress Reliever Personality Test, which will assess which stress relievers would work best for your lifestyle and personality, and provide you with a list.
How to Maintain Good Habits
Starting a new habit was the easy part, your willpower was at its full capacity but week 1&2 have passed so it has waned. In my previous post I did mention how willpower was like a muscle and what happens when your muscles have been overused? You get tired. This is the time when you need to kick into gear 2. So here are a few ways to help you maintain good habits:
(i). Write it: You should write down your habit somewhere it’s easily accessible so that it could possibly act as a cue to kick start the habit. This is merely the beginning because there are many things you’ve written down and ended up not doing them (I’m confessing here lol). When writing down these habits you should have a plan of action on how to execute them.
(ii). Set up a behaviour chain: Instead of setting a goal of daily exercise you should create an action plan which involves a behavioural chain. So, your chain can look like this: the alarm you set wakes you up 5 am, you pray, brush, put on your exercise outfit, make your meal and then head out for your morning jog for 30 mins and you’re back home at 6:30 am. Another example can be setting an alarm for reading for 1 hour daily (which is highly recommended) during your lunch break. The good thing about chains is that they link to one another so they act as cues or triggers for the next appropriate action.
(iii). Change in lifestyle not quick fix: Modern society is filled with pitches for quick-fix solutions to our problems ranging from health to financial. How many of you have fallen victim to flat tummy tea promoters on Instagram or the lose 10 lbs in 10 days BS you see online? It’s human to want things quickly but it takes a disciplined person to have patience. These pitches can tap into our insecurities and have us reach us deep into our pockets. Any expert worth-a-damn will tell you that real, sustainable improvement must be approached with patience, effective strategy and should be something that can be long term. This step is all about changing your mindset from the quick fix mentality to the slow and steady wins the race mentality. How many times have we gone to the gym or on a diet to rapidly lose weight because we or someone else pointed out our weight gain? Or even based on what we see online (I KNOW I HAVE) before you know it you’re buying the newest waist trainer or whatever. If you’re having any issues with weight loss you need to check out The Ultimate Weight Solution by the famous Dr Phil.
(iv). Track Your Progress: Tracking your progress can be motivating especially in the beginning stages even though sometimes that’s not the case because of your ‘quick fix mentality’. Looking back to see how far you’ve come is essential to cementing your new habits. For example, if you follow a work out plan the first advice they give you is to take a picture of yourself preferably in your underwear and then from there you check in with your weight and other things from time to time. You don’t have to track your progress daily as it could be counterproductive based on that quick fix mentality. I suggest using a journal to first write things down and then subsequently to track your progress.
(v). Use Goals and Rewards: After tracking your progress if you’ve had a small win or achieved a personal ‘milestone’ like being able to read a book in a week which would normally take you months you should reward yourself. This method can help you to stay motivated and on the right track! Remember that the third component of a habit loop is a reward. Although the great feelings you get from stress management can be their own reward, in starting any new habit, it helps to also have some more tangible rewards. I remember when my parents would buy us Mr Biggs (Nigerian fast food chain restaurant) when I was in primary school if we get between 1st-3rd position, of course it worked! Before you knew it, we were munching fried rice and chicken trying to make the other siblings jealous. Elizabeth also says that none of us are above the power of a few good rewards. The trick is to reward yourself for your first few steps until your new healthy habit becomes ingrained into your way of life. The first month or so is especially important, as that’s the approximate time it takes for a new behaviour to become a habit. It can be something like a cheat day when you’re on a work out and meal plan. The rewards you give yourself are a personal choice, and you probably know what would be the best incentive for your own success, I believe you should keep it small and enjoyable and possibly related to the good habit you’re trying to maintain. For example, you can buy beautiful new pens to reward journal writing or perhaps buying yourself a new dress when you save a certain amount. For more details on how to adopt and maintain good habits check out The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
QOTD: You will earn the right to enjoy a better life, if you have plenty of good habits - Dr T. P. Chia.
Do you have any more tips on how you maintain your good habits? Please Comment below. Don't forget to Share this with your friends if you found the tips useful. Please Subscribe so you can be part of the Evergreen Lifestyle Gems Family and so as to get access to our free e-books. Please Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and be sure to look pout for our book recommendation post for habits on Wednesday so you can further your self-improvement journey with us! See ya next Monday.
Previous Post: How to Break Your Bad Habits
My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!