We all have good habits and bad habits, right? We talk about our bad habits a little too often, allowing them to beat us down, feeling like we have no control. But what about our good habits? The ones that have become a part of us, the big and small, that we are surprisingly secretive about?
How did these habits come to be in our lives? How did we manage to train ourselves to do these things, both good and bad, day in and day out?
Yep that one word rules all when it comes to our habits – all of them are set in place (or indeed broken) by our routine.
We weren’t born with the desire to clean our teeth before bed every night – it simply became a habit because we made it a part of our daily routine. Many folks think that to instil their desired habits in their lives they require a certain degree of willpower – but I am here to tell you that willpower is a minute detail in the creation of habits, all you need is the desire and action to make it a part of your routine.
We are, after all, ‘creatures of habit’, so I thought today I would bring to you 5 habits that I have in my life that I am pleased and proud of. Now I am not saying that all of you out there would want or need these habits in your own life, more that you can learn from how I implement these habits into my daily routine and use the tips to decipher and action what you want (or want to grow) in your life. Easy peasy!
Going to bed
Like clockwork, I am in bed, lights out, by 9pm each night. I get 8 hours sleep every night and wake up, often just before my alarm, at 5am. Setting yourself a bed time is key to ensuring you get the required amount of sleep each night. Your body will thrive from gaining a set amount of hours each night and reward you with more energy during the day. Work out when you need to get up in the morning and minus 8 hours – there is your bed time. Try to stick to this every day, winding down about half an hour before hand to get changed, clean teeth etc. Even if you aren’t sleepy for the first few days your body will soon get used to the fact that you wish for it to go to sleep at this time every day. It will recognise patterns in the routine.
I train 4 times a week (plus one mobility session on a Saturday). I am ready to rock and roll for every session at 6am – thanks in a large part to my set bed time. But the main reason I am able to jump straight to it is because I have set training days – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. I don’t think about ‘do I want to train’ or look at the WOD to see if it’s something I fancy doing. If its one of my training days I train, regardless.
Choosing whole foods
This is the one that most folks associate with ‘willpower’ but honestly, once choosing whole foods becomes a habit, you wont look back. Make it easy for yourself – shop at your local farmers market where all the seasonal fruit and veg is just too tempting to resist. If you have to go to the supermarket, make a shopping list and only buy what is on the list. Not only will you eat well, you will save both time and money!
Breaking the bond with my phone
I have made a deal with myself – I don’t pick up my iPhone after 6pm. Yes there are exceptions and I am not going to deny that (a message from my Mum in the UK for example) but as a whole, this is what I do. Why? Because I was tired of spending the whole evening looking at a screen, after a day of looking at a screen. Nothing is happening on Facebook or Instagram that can’t wait until morning. If something is urgent, they will call.
It was super hard at first but I feel such a release for doing it. I am calmer in the evening, I feel more tired and ready for bed and I also sleep better. Feeling the rewards of instilling a habit makes it easier to keep up the routine.
I will put my hand up with this one and say that this may come easier for me because I don’t drive… but I do walk everywhere, and love it! Walking is so cathartic and allows us to move, stretch and help us digest – both physically and mentally! If you want to bring more walking into your life try picking a few locations that you could easily walk to – the library for example. Make a routine that every time you go to the library you do so by foot. Or do you have a favourite podcast? Make a routine of only listening to it if you are walking – a mini deal with yourself.
Tell me a habit you are proud to have!
Do you have a good working relationship with your phone?
Have you ever had to make a deal with yourself to commit to a routine?