Bad habits lead to a life of regret, while good habits lead to a happier and healthier life.
Which lifestyle do you choose for yourself and your loved ones?
Good habits are routines you repeat for the long term benefit of your health, wealth and happiness.
We all have a personal image of our ideal self which seems unattainable because of some convenient excuse we give ourselves. Meanwhile, the only thing standing between you and your ideal self is adopting good daily habits that bring you closer to your ideal.
Small daily habits compound over time to produce immense results in the long term. Are your daily habits working to produce mediocrity or success?
How habits work?
Habits feed on past experience. Every time you repeat a routine on cue, you are strengthening that particular habit.
Habits are formed through repetition of routines. This process is also known as the habit loop. Understanding how a habit loop works gives you more control over your habits.
A cue is a signal to perform something rehearsed. Cues come in the form of smells, sounds, feelings, passing thoughts or anything else that compels 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.
A craving is an urge to get the reward as soon as possible. Think of cravings as a psychological hunger. You see something and you want it, even though you don’t really need it.
Bad habits are always harmful but pleasing. The common bad habits are often accompanied by physical cravings, as well as mild withdrawal symptoms in some cases. The more accustomed you are to a bad habit, the more intense is the craving.
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’re 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 and accumulate at the expense of your health, wealth and mental well-being.
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 utilize your lower brain functions. The main difference between conscious and unconscious activity is that you can control your conscious activity by thinking, while your unconscious activity is reactive and thus guided by your past behavior.
If you want to know more about how unconscious decision making affects your everyday life and how to control it better, then check out my article about unconscious bias; you will be amazed by how much control you choose to surrender to lower brain functions.
The 3 types of good habits
The three types of good habits deal with health, wealth and mental well-being. Whether individually or together, they outline your self-image and opportunities in life.
You need these well-being boxes checked every day in order to build, and fully enjoy, the life you want for yourself and your loved ones.
Knowing what you want and how to get it makes a world of difference. However, it is imperative that you keep your expectations to a minimum and your daily diligence to a maximum. Invest small and consistent effort over a long period of time. By doing this, you will enable a robust growth toward any goal.
Otherwise, 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 paramount.
“Nobody is a natural. You work hard to get good, then you work harder to get better.” –Paul Coffey
Therefore, cultivate your individual habits with care, otherwise they will backfire on you with habit slips. A habit slip can exchange your good habit for a bad habit dangerously fast.
With that said, there is a way to adopt multiple habits without putting excess strain on your will power.
How to adopt multiple habits?
By clustering habits into related activities, your habits start to work together as a habit pattern. Carefully tailored habit patterns will help you build the skills you need to master health, wealth and mental well-being
Plan for each habit pattern diligently in order to chart the best course to achieving your goals.
Be aware, the chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If you allow a habit slip on one habit, you are putting a strain on the other related habits in your habit pattern.
For example, I’ve developed habit patterns for time management, as well as for maintaining focus on the daily grind. These two habit patterns along enabled me to boost my productivity immensely and maintain it at peak efficiency.
Good health habits
Investing a little bit of time into a few basic health routines will improve your lifelong health and fitness.
However, sustaining lifelong health and fitness depends largely on avoiding bad health habits. You should definitely do some light physical exercise several times a week, eat your greens and do regular medical checkups. Other than that, your whole health effort boils down to avoiding bad health habits.
When it comes to fitness, I feel a need to rant!
I think the mainstream mentality takes it too far with trends and expectations of physical appearance. You should never let stereotypes dictate your self-worth!
Of course, you should aim to improve your physical fitness, but you need to love yourself fully – regardless of how you appear to other people. Your opinion of yourself is the only opinion of yourself that matters. Your true friends will like you for your virtues, but love you for your flaws.
“Don’t let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice.” – Steve Jobs
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 food
- 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 would rise to defend recreational drinking or select drugs, 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.
On the other hand, if you’re putting in the consistent effort toward personal development while avoiding vices, then who cares if you occasionally go out for drinks with friends or binge watch a cool tv show.
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%).”
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 he brings merit to the marketplace.
Money does buy happiness:
Instead of pulling 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.
A robust career is the biggest factor of the wealth equation. For this reason, I’ve written related articles that can help you build a career which you can proudly call your life’s work.
If you’re unsure about your current career, click career transition and learn how to find your ideal job. Otherwise, if you have a good career but want to grow it further, then click career development and learn the skills you need for an unstoppable career growth.
Good mental habits
If your body is a temple, then your brain is the altar. Keep your mind disciplined and clear of tendencies that diminish your productive efforts.
Everything you do shapes you in little ways. The clothes you wear, the food you eat and the words you speak. Meanwhile, your thoughts shape you most of all. This is because your thoughts direct your attitude, and your attitude directs your behavior.
What kind of attitude do you want to bring to the workplace or to your friends and family? Do you want to inspire hope or defeat?
You must never allow yourself to cultivate self-doubt. Self-doubt will fester in your mind, spreading a defeatist attitude. Self-motivation, on the other hand, will shield you against pessimism and fuel your will power.
Top 3 best mental habits:
- Goal visualization
Top 3 worst mental habits:
- Making excuses
- Enabling anxiety
You might be wondering why I would list enabling anxiety as a bad mental habit. If this is the case, then I strongly recommend you read up on my article about anxiety at work. I’ve dealt with depression and generalized anxiety disorder for most of my life, even convincing myself that it is a medical condition beyond my control. Meanwhile, my only problem was not having control over my thoughts and attitude.
Once you realize how a meaningful purpose has the power to change minds and attitudes, you can easily start using that mechanism to influence other people just as effectively.
In order to learn more about influencing, read up on my article that teaches influencing skills. You will find that it challenges some common misconceptions in a powerful way.
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.
By streamlining your efforts toward a common purpose, you will create astounding long-term results.
Here’s some science to help you put things in perspective:
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.
Meanwhile, Parkinson’s law ironically states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”, as it applies to the growth of bureaucracy.
The irony is in the fact that this expansion can be easily hacked, simply by optimizing the time available for the completion of a task.
These two ideas are extremely powerful for charting the quickest route to your goals.
Imagine repeatedly using Pareto principle in order to narrow down on your most rewarding routines. Afterwards, you hack Parkinson’s law in order to speed up the time you spend on your most rewarding routines.
This – is how you hack your personal growth!
Does this ignite your imagination with possibilities?
Delayed gratification is the heart of the matter.
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 achieve your ideal self.
What is your experience with habits? How will you apply what you learned in this article? Let me know in the comments below or e-mail me directly