The Top 10 Most
I Always Come Back To
The Top 10 Most Powerful Habits I Always Come Back To
It’s human nature for our minds to fall off habits and sometimes it takes a few times, sometimes a dozen times or more before you may realize this. But, what I’ve come to realize is that “falling off” isn’t a problem -- the problem comes with believing that we should always stay on track with our habits. Unfortunately, this is not realistic. What is true, however, is that we can always come back to it. Every day is a new day and there is, in fact, such a thing as a ‘clean slate.’ I’ve thought deeply about the habits I continue to return to, over and over again, whenever I fall off track with my daily routine. Here’s how:
1. Notice. Notice that you fell off. Notice how you feel and how it may have been affecting your mood, diet, physical appearance, and stress levels. This is the most important component of my top 10 most powerful habits. Why? Because the first step to conquering difficulties in life is simply assessing that they exist. Once you are able to come to terms with this realization, it is 100x easier to manifest what you would rather envision your situation to be.
2. Intentions. Set an intention. Now that you have realized where you currently stand, how you feel and what you don’t want as part of your habits, you are free to let go of any discouragement and begin to set intentions to start anew.
3. Adjust. Learn from your mistakes - learn from the last time you ‘fell off.’ What happened the last time everything went astray? Did it deal with accountability? Mood? No feeling of reward? Monotony? Once you figure this out, learn from it and accept where your habitual routine began to decline. Accept that ‘falling off’ will happen and I want to stress that returning to habits should become a learning process. I am constantly switching minor aspects of my routines because I believe that there is always room for improvement. For me, personally, this helps keep this process much more motivating than daunting.
4. Most Important Task (MIT) Sessions. I completely made the term MIT up, but I figure it is fitting and something I can easily remember. It took me a few years to finally consolidate this habit. What I do is pick an important task, usually what I rate as the most important, and clear every other task from my mind. I begin this first thing in the morning and add background accents that improve my mood - such as my favorite morning coffee or tea, calming background music, etc. Personalize this to you. What helps you feel the most productive? Set this tone when completing your most important task and you will be amazed what you can accomplish.
5. Block Sessions. Once I complete my most important task, I get a rush of energy and accomplishment. This will happen to you too. Your brain actually releases a dose of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for generating feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness. There is incredible power in these habits! Block sessions include time allocated to other tasks, but in a systematic way. I continue to rate my tasks for the day in terms of highest to lowest priority and I continue down the list. What I mean by ‘block’ session is that I allocate a block of time to one task category. For example, I set a certain block of time just for answering emails and a separate block for writing my blog for example. Completing multiple tasks at once is what I’ve learned leads to inefficiency, and I’ve learned this the hard way.
6. Movement. For me this is daily exercise - but it doesn’t have to be one hour of intense sweating and training. It should be any type of physical activity that allows you to escape your to-do list and clear your mind. For you, this could be taking a walk, going for a jog, or even stretching in your living room. This should not appeal to you as a daunting addition to your to-do list but more of something to look forward to each day. I’ve come to a point where I acknowledge my exercise time as a way to escape my daily stressors and focus on my well-being.
7. Breathing Exercises. This can be done at any time of the day for as long as you wish. For some, it may even include meditation. There’s science behind this habit and that is also why I consider it to be one of my most powerful ones. Deep breathing stimulates our parasympathetic nervous system, also known as our body’s autonomic ‘rest and digest’ state of being. It consists of nerves arising from the brain and the lower end of the spinal cord and supplying the internal organs, blood vessels, and glands. Once stimulated with deep breathing exercises, your heart rate decreases.
8. Set a Trigger. What is the one thing that puts you in the mood to be productive? This could be anything from an alarm reminder, calendar event, drinking your favorite beverage, or even playing a specific playlist that motivates you. Finding a powerful trigger to start your daily habits will make it much easier for your brain to remember what to do.
9. Morning and Night Rituals. Include a morning routine that sets your tone for the day. For example, I always begin with drinking a glass of water and then proceed to make my favorite coffee or matcha green tea. I also begin by making my bed before I get ready for the day. It’s the little things like this that can improve your morning. I then proceed to listen to a recording of my to-do’s for the day. Create an affirmative practice to help set your mind for the challenges you may face that day. It is just as important to set a night-time ritual, as well. Create a routine that helps you wind down at a similar time every night. I enjoy personal care rituals such as tea, lighting a candle, incense, and setting my lights to dim.
10. Challenge the Mundane. Those everyday tasks that you do every day, such as cook, brush your teeth, or walk the same mile to work everyday - try to always challenge them by accomplishing them in different ways as many times as you can. Cook something new, walk a different way to work, brush your teeth while listening to your favorite song, anything that can be done differently each day - try to do it! Challenging your brain to work differently is what makes you happy. Exposing yourself to new things also has been proven to release our make-you-happy neurotransmitters. This is one of my favorite habits because it has motivated me to always get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
I hope my top 10 powerful habits have resonated and motivated you to the point where some of them can be utilized. At the end of the day, it is up to you to personalize them. Cheers!