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Building Life Habits

You are on this journey in life towards your vision. What habits do you have that help you on your journey, what habits slow you down?

Awareness of your habits is the first step towards creating the most effective set of habits to assist you on your journey to your vision.

What are Habits?

Habits are the behaviors and thinking patterns that we automatically repeat in our lives. Habits can either serve us by helping us live our mission and achieve our goals, or they can hinder us by being a distraction or obstacle.

Each habit has a cue or a triggering mechanism, the routine or series of actions, and the reward.

Your habit of brushing your teeth each morning is cued by getting out of bed. The reward is knowing you are not going to get cavities and your breath is fresh. It is important to be aware of your cues and your rewards so that you can instill new habits into your life.

You can also stack habits that you do one after another. You would therefore only need one cue, and the reward is the cumulation of all the rewards of each individual task. This is what makes morning routines so powerful. Once your cue starts you on the first habit, all the other habits in the stack are easier to complete. Starting a habit is the hardest part.

Why You Should Journal your Habits

The advantage of journaling habits is similar to measuring/journaling your capabilities. The majority of habits you are adopting, the doing part is well within your capabilities. It is doing the habit consistently and without thinking that is the formation of the habit.

Your habits are key to achieving your vision.

A key practice for achieving your vision is:

  • Journal all your habits both ‘good’ and ‘bad’
  • Determine how effective they are at getting you closer to your vision or how much they are taking you away from your vision
  • Determine the ideal list of habits needed for achieving your vision
  • Choose 1 or 2 habits on the ideal list you want to foster
  • Choose 1 or 2 on your current list you want to drop
  • Track your new habits until the habit is formed
  • Continue with the next habits

You are forming new habits and/or dropping existing habits to start achieving your vision. The inspiration for your vision will also be inspirations for developing the habits to reach your vision. The set of habits you create for your vision will help define the person you are going to be once you reach your vision.

How Habits Fit With a Great Life Design

Habits are tools you require to create the life design outcome you desire.

Habits are a mechanism for efficiently accomplishing tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily. weekly and monthly basis.

Having effective habits frees your time for other more productive tasks.

You are forming new habits and/or dropping existing habits to start achieving your vision. The inspiration for your vision will also be inspirations for developing the habits to reach your vision. The set of habits you create for your vision will help define the person you are going to be once you reach your vision.

Six Keys for Effective Habits

There are six keys for effective habits:

  1. Treat Habits as a Practice
  2. Have a Growth Mindset for Habits
  3. Map, Execute, Reflect, and Repeat to Build Habits
  4. Reduce Friction to Build Habits Effectively
  5. Fit Your Habits into Your Life Design
  6. Use your Journal for Building Habits

1. Treat Habits as a Practice

Treat new habits and existing habits as a practice.

Treating habits as a practice helps to remove the fear of failure. If you are practicing shooting baskets, it doesn’t matter if the ball goes in or not, it only matters that you are improving.

A professional athlete never stops practicing. When a professional athlete is in a slump they just practice more.

Focusing on building the practice of doing the habit helps to build the discipline until the habit becomes ingrained.

A practice can be constantly improved.

With a focus on the practice, you will be focusing on those things that are in your control. You can start out small and build up the practice until you have the habit you want. If you are building a habit like running on the treadmill, the practice is putting your shoes on, picking music, setting up the treadmill, running, and then cleaning up. When you are first starting the practice, focusing on putting your shoes on and getting on the treadmill for 2 minutes is enough. Practice that part of the habit and then slowly add on.

2. Have a Growth Mindset for Habits

The belief that you can form a new habit is key.

This belief is a belief in a growth mindset. A growth mindset belief is that your capabilities, skills, habits can be learned and developed.

With a growth mindset, you have the ability to learn and grow in order to create the life design you have envisioned.

Having a growth mindset means you take responsibility for creating the life you want. You don’t make excuses and you are constantly removing disempowering beliefs.

3. Map, Execute, Reflect, and Repeat to Build Habits

Creating habits follows the same pattern for creating anything.

  1. Create a plan for what you are creating
  2. Execute the plan
  3. Reflect on how the execution is going and refine the plan
  4. Repeat the process

Part of the plan for developing a habit includes the major components of a habit.

Each habit has a cue or a triggering mechanism, the routine or series of actions, and the reward.

Habits can be stacked together under the same cue. When multiple habits are triggered by the same cue, the habits can build on each other and become more effective.

4. Reduce Friction to Build Habits Effectively

When setting up your plan for developing your habits, include components for reducing friction. The less energy you require to start a habit, the more likely you will be in doing the habit.

Include in the plan, anything that will make it easy to start your habit.

If the habit is to run on the treadmill, have your shoes, and clothes readily available, so it takes as little energy as possible to get on the treadmill.

5. Fit Your Habits into Your Life Design

The ultimate reason for creating habits is to create the life you desire.

When you have a well-defined vision for your life that is inspiring and gives you inspiration for pursuing that life, you gain inspiration for creating the habits required.

As part of your plan to create your habits, including how that habit is going to increase your life or move you towards the vision for your life.

You are in control of your life journey, create and develop habits that move you along that journey.

6. Use your Journal for Building Habits

Awareness is a key element in creating habits.

Understanding your progress, understanding what holds you back or what inspires you to contribute to determining how to create new habits.

A journal is an ideal place to record your progress, your reflections on how the creation of the habit is going, and the results of creating the habit.

Journal success and failure of your habits. Both give you knowledge that will help you move forward.

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