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Bad habits lead to a life of regret, while good habits lead to a happier and healthier life.
To produce the best lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones, you need to choose good habits – every day.
Good habits are daily routines which benefit your health, wealth or happiness.
We all have a personal image of our ideal self which seems unattainable because of some convenient excuse that we give ourselves.
Meanwhile, the only thing standing between you and your ideal self is the decision to adopt good daily habits which bring you closer to your goal.
Small daily habits compound over time to produce immense results in the long term. Learn how to choose the best habits for yourself and make the most of them.
The 3 types of good habits
The three types of good habits deal with health, wealth and happiness. Whether individually or together, they outline your self-image and opportunities in life.
In order to build, and fully enjoy, the best life for yourself and your loved ones, you need to pay close attention to the daily habits that affect the quality of your life.
Knowing what you ultimately want and how to get it makes a world of difference to the results that you produce.
However, while I encourage you to dream big, it is imperative that you keep your expectations to a minimum and your daily diligence to the maximum. By investing small and consistent effort over time, you will unlock robust growth toward any goal, however far fetched it may be.
Alternatively, being anxious to succeed can make you take wrong steps or invest too much emotion into results. For this reason, when it comes to adopting habits – consistency is the key to success.
“Nobody is a natural. You work hard to get good, then you work harder to get better.” –Paul Coffey
Cultivate your individual habits with care, otherwise they will backfire on you with habit slips. A habit slip can, and will, exchange your good habit for a bad habit dangerously fast. (1)
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How habits work?
Habits are formed through repetition of routines.
Every time you repeat a routine on cue, you are strengthening that particular habit. This process is also known as the habit loop.
By understanding how a habit loop works, you will gain more control over your habits.
The habit loop consists of 3 phases, which are cue, routine and reward.
A cue is a signal to perform something rehearsed. Cues come in the form of smells, sounds, feelings, passing thoughts or anything else that may compel you to perform a habitual action.
Tempting cues for bad habits are everywhere you turn. In order to fight them off, you need to have a laser focus on your goals.
Very few things in this world unfold as smoothly as the act of indulging a bad habit. Meanwhile, good habit routines are mostly laborious. Therefore, you need to be motivated in order to consistently endure good habit routines.
The trick to maintaining motivation is having meaningful goals. When you are passionate about your goals, your good habits can provide personal satisfaction from working toward a valuable purpose.
A bad habit will reward you with a brief instant gratification. However, it will carry a cost which will accumulate over time at the expense of your health, wealth and happiness.
Meanwhile, a good habit provides you with delayed gratification, which delays and compounds the benefits of your effort.
“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” — Warren Buffet
Habits have a way of sneaking past your conscious intentions. This is because they rely, for the most part, on your lower brain functions, which are related to long-term memory. (2)
How to adopt multiple habits?
When you connect individual habits into related activities, your habits will start to work together as a habit pattern. (3)
For example, let’s say you decide to start your mornings with a brief work-out. Then, while you’re at it, why not also have a healthy breakfast? In this way, you are building a good habit pattern at a lower cost of time and effort, with an increased range of beneficial results.
There is a catch, though.
The chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you allow a habit slip on one habit, you will be putting a strain on the related habits in the pattern.
I have learned about habit patterns the hard way, and I’m eager to make your journey easier. What helped me most was keeping a planner. My planner helped me build strong habit patterns which, in turn, immensely improved my character, lifestyle and productivity.
Now I share my printable planner for free, so that anyone can have the full practical benefit of my experience.
By using my planner, I have achieved amazing results with my time management skills, as well as my ability to stay focused when dealing with demanding projects.
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Good health habits
Investing a little bit of time into a few basic health routines will improve your lifelong health and fitness.
Sustaining the habits which contribute to your lifelong health and fitness is easy. You should do light physical exercise several times a week, improve your nutrition and do regular medical checkups.
Other than that, your whole health effort boils down to avoiding bad health habits.
“Healthy habits are learned in the same way as the unhealthy ones – through practice.” –Wayne Dyer
In order to keep your good health habits simple and effective, follow the good health habits diligently and avoid the worst health habits at all cost.
Top 3 best health habits are:
- Regular exercise
- Healthy nutrition
- Plenty of sleep
Top 3 worst health habits are:
For obvious reason, drugs and other addictive substances are the biggest enemies to your longevity and lifelong vitality.
Many will rise to defend occasional hedonism, and that’s ok. However, repeated behavior leads to habitual behavior. As you know by now, bad habits are easy to adopt and hard to get rid of, especially when it comes to addictive substances.
Good wealth habits
A financial literacy study published by Children and Youth Services states that “More than half of the emerging adults were found to be financially precarious (32%) or financially at-risk (36%).” (4)
Simply put, just by becoming financially literate you will step into the better half of the wealth distribution.
Money is more than the paper it’s printed on. Having money means having opportunities to enjoy life and pursue your passions. Additionally, it means having a solution to the vast majority of the problems that you and your loved ones encounter.
I strongly suggest that you invest your time into financial education. In the meantime, keep your financial priorities straight by knowing the best and worst financial habits.
Top 3 best financial habits:
- Living within your means
- Keeping a financial journal
Top 3 worst financial habits:
- Impulse buying
- Careless spending
Money is a tool, nothing more and nothing less. Many people make the fatal mistake of attributing bad qualities of people to money in order to make it seem like the enemy.
Have you heard that “money is the root of all evil” or that “money doesn’t buy happiness”?
People say these things to bolster their ego and make it appear as if they are above the material. Capitalism is meritocratic, even the lowest underdog can make it in this world if they bring merit to the marketplace.
Does money buy happiness?
In a word, no.
However, when used responsibly, money opens up opportunities, solves difficulties, improves living standards and provides a sense of security.
Instead of pulling numerous studies about how money is the leading cause of divorce, or how crime is related to poverty, let me tell you about my own experience.
I used to be one of those childish people who snidely said words like greed and banksters, while swimming in personal debt. There was a price to pay for my cynical attitude – literally. Consequently, poverty made my life miserable in countless ways.
I failed to see the connection between my depression and poverty until I started taking responsibility for my personal finances. Getting out of debt instantly resolved most of my anxieties, while building a personal capital opened up a world of opportunities for my future. With hopes for the future came a feeling of purpose, and my life has been consistently improving since.
Of course, there is more to life than just accumulating some numbers. However, anyone who ever struggled with money can confirm that lack of money makes your life increasingly difficult.
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Happiness is best defined by the Greek term Eudaimonia. (5)
Commonly translated as happiness or welfare; but also, more accurately, as human flourishing or prosperity.
According to Aristotle, eudaimonia is achieved as a result of working hard, cultivating your virtues and, most importantly, by pursuing a meaningful life.
In order to successfully manage this lifestyle, you must keep your mind disciplined, and clear of bad mental habits that diminish your efforts and your state of mind.
Top 3 best happiness habits:
- Goal visualization
- Maintaining confidence
Top 3 worst happiness habits:
- Making excuses
- Being stubborn
“Happiness is a state of mind, not a set of circumstances.” –Richard Carlson
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Good habits potential
The three types of good habits come together in a wholesome lifestyle philosophy, which promotes growth in all aspects of lifelong well-being.
Adopting these habits can cost you a lot of time and effort, but you can reduce that cost significantly by using the two best productivity hacks. They are the Pareto principle and Parkinson’s law.
The Pareto Principle:
The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In context, this means that 80% of the good things in your life come from roughly 20% of the good activities you do to benefit your life. (6)
Parkinson’s law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, as it applies to the growth of bureaucracy. (7)
This expansion can be easily hacked, simply by optimizing the time available for the completion of a task.
You can hack the Parkinson’s law to boost productivity in two ways. You can either shorten the time assigned for a task, if you need it done ASAP; or you can divide it up into smaller tasks, to be completed over time with minimal effort, if you want to multitask.
The ultimate productivity hack:
Use the Pareto principle to focus on the most profitable goals. Afterwards, apply Parkinson’s law to find the best way to save time and effort.
These two ideas are extremely powerful for charting the quickest route to your goals.
You can repeatedly use Pareto principle for prioritizing your goals and Parkinson’s law for optimizing the time & effort spent on achieving your goals.
Does this ignite your imagination with possibilities?
Let’s review what we learned so far about adopting good habits.
- The 3 types of good habits are health, wealth and happiness.
- A habit loop consists of a cue, routine and reward.
- You can adopt multiple habits by building a habit pattern.
- Top 3 health habits are regular exercise, healthy nutrition and plenty of sleep.
- Top 3 wealth habits are budgeting, living within your means and keeping a financial journal.
- Top 3 happiness habits are goal visualization, self-motivation and maintaining confidence.
- To unlock your productivity potential you need to use the Pareto principle and Parkinson’s law.
Finally, a key lesson that I want to drive home for you is the following:
Delayed gratification is the secret to success.
If you’re willing to resist the temptation of instant pleasure for the sake of long-term reward, then you can change your life and grow into your ideal self.
Did you enjoy this article? Leave a comment and let me know!
- Habit slips.
- How the brain controls habits.
- Habit patterns.
- Financial literacy study.
- The Pareto Principle.
- Parkinson’s Law.