Habits Are Like The Wood Planks That Form A Bridge
Good habits are like the wooden planks that make up a bridge. We have to work to put them together and make them strong. As you place them one by one you are preparing yourself for the future and creating the opportunity to go further over the water until you make it to the land on the other side.
We’ve all heard of things we can do to supposedly be more productive or start the day off full of energy and drive. These habits that everyone talks about. Great entrepreneurs that wake up at 4 in the morning or celebrities that work out twice a day and have diets that don’t even seem like a real person could live off of. Do all of these habits make any meaningful changes in a person’s life? Can they improve your mood and make your day better and more productive?
First, let’s define a good habit. “Good habits are those repetitive actions or behaviors you want to repeat. They have positive physical, emotional, or psychological consequences” and this is according to Shonna Waters, Ph.D. The key here is that you want to repeat good habits. Why do you want to repeat them? Because they have positive consequences.
Let’s not assume that by trying to implement new habits you’ll automatically like said habits. You may need at least a week or two for your body to adjust to them. As an example, if you try to get up an hour earlier to try a new morning routine. On the first day, you might get a little excited and your eyes burst open at the first sound of your alarm. Then by day two, you’re wondering what’s wrong with you for wanting to sacrifice even a minimal amount of sleep. After trying the routine for a week or two you will either end up hating it or realize that you like the consequences it’s had on you, that they are positive.
Taking time to write down in a journal what kind of effects new habits have on you over time is a great way to realize if they are worth continuing. If a new habit isn’t working for you like you hoped it would, you can try changing it before giving up on it. Going back to the first example, did you try only waking up half an hour early? Did you try going to bed earlier to compensate? Did you try changing what your morning routine entails? We have the freedom to make these changes until we see positive consequences, don’t give up after one try at someone else’s routine, make it your own first. Add your own spin to it before throwing it away.
Before trying to make something into a habit, figure out its purpose. Why are you considering making it a part of your life? Write down a list of the ways it will change you. Change is the key here. Change is what we are searching for when we try new things. How does the new habit make you feel? Does it have any negative consequences? By making this list you’ll see quite clearly if it’s a good habit or just another thing on your plate.
In the long run, it’s the details of our lives that make us who we are. Life is short and it’s made up of hours and hours of routines, work, sleep, and anything else we can fit into it. We should proceed with caution when deciding what activities we will do on a day-to-day basis. Big decisions don’t come often and they often change our external environment. Habits change who we are, they change the internal environment. They decide who we will become.
Don’t let bad habits drag you down, do good things and hope for good results. This is how we become better versions of ourselves. With each life "update" we should feel changed, it's up to us to work towards those changes being positive. Even if they're only positive to us and to nobody else.