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7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them : zen habits

attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

attributed to Aristotle

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7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them : zen habits

7 Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Form Them : zen habits

https://zenhabits.net/7-little-habits-that-can-change-your-life-and-how-to-form-them/

zenhabits.net

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Key Ideas

How to Develop Habits

  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, preferably in a public way.
  • Track your progress.
  • Remain publicly accountable — report on your progress each day.
  • Have support for when you falter.
  • Reward small wins.
  • If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it, and try again.

attributed to Aristotle

attributed to Aristotle

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Confucius

Confucius

“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

Develop Positive Thinking

Start by becoming more aware of your negative self-talk: do a little tally sheet throughout the day, marking a tally each time you notice a negative thought. Soon you’ll recognize them, and you can squash them.

Exercise

How exercise is improving your life:

  • It makes you feel better about yourself and more confident.
  • It forces you to think positively, in order to sustain exercise.
  • It relieves stress and gives you time to think.
  • It helps with creativity. 

Single-tasking

  • You’ll be more effective with your tasks and get more done. Things like constantly switching tasks and being distracted by other “urgent” things really affect overall productivity.
  • You’ll be less stressed overall and (in my experience) happier throughout your day.

Focus on one goal

This is the most powerful way of achieving your goals.

When you try to take on many goals at once, you’re spreading thin your focus and energy — the two critical components for achieving a goal.

Eliminate the non-essential

The essential relates to the things that are most important to you from your life.

Find them and then eliminate everything else. This simplifies things and leaves you with the space to focus on the essential.

Kindness

  • Do something kind for someone each day. 
  • Each time you interact with someone, try to be friendly and compassionate. 
  • Try volunteering, to help those in need and taking the initiative to relieve suffering.

Daily routine

The best routines come at the start and end of the day because they give a great start and finish to your day.

Develop a routine for when you awake, for when you start working, for when you finish and leave work, and for your evening.

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“Micro quotas”

In the process of finding a balance between your desire to dream big and your day-to-day activities, create macro quotas.

These refer to the minimum amounts of work that...

Behavior chains

Creating new habits that stick is easier if we make use of our current routines, instead of trying to fight them.

Use "if-then planning": choose a regular part of your schedule and then build another “link in the chain” by adding a new habit. For example: "If it is lunch time, then I will only eat meat and vegetables.”

Simplify decision-making

Making repeated choices depletes our mental energy, even if these choices are mundane and pleasant.

If you want to maintain long term discipline, aim for fewer decisions during the day: identify the aspects of your life that you consider mundane and then ‘routinize’ those aspects as much as possible.

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B. J. Fogg
“It’s much easier and it’s much more reliable to start habits that are small and get them firmly rooted in the..."
B. J. Fogg
Starting good habits and sticking to them
  1. Harness the dopamine effect: identify the desired outcome. Mentally walking yourself through the process of success and the joys and benefits it brings can teach your brain to be motivated by something other than dread.
  2. Start with baby-steps: identify the “tiny habits”  behaviors — we should start with small actions that we can celebrate.
  3. Use triggers: these new habits follow other routines that are already ingrained into your daily life(triggers), so every time you complete this already existing behavior, there will be a trigger, or an automatic reminder, in your brain to do the new one.
  4. Let it snowball.

Everyone wants to cultivate better habits. The problem is very few of us want to do the work to make those habits a reality.

Develop better habits by:
  • Thinking really small: it accumulates and adds up in a big way;
  • Shifting your evironment, so that good habits are easier to keep;
  • Piggybacking new habits on old habits: 
  • Surrounding yourself with good people:
  • Keeping it simple: short lists, reachable;
  • Picking yourself up when you fall.
Having No Routine

Having no routine or structure is so much more draining mentally, physically, and emotionally than any routine could ever be.

Why You Need a Routine
  • It gives you structure, builds forward-moving habits, and creates momentum that will carry you on the days when you feel like you don't have the strength to carry yourself.
  • Following a daily routine can help you establish priorities, limit procrastination, keep track of goals, and even make you healthier. 
  • It lowers your reliance on willpower and motivation.
Start the day with a mantra

... to get you into a positive mood for the day ahead. Put your mind in a good state right away, because left unchecked it will try to tell you the things that are wrong.

Pick a phrase or question that resonates with you. It could be as simple as smiling and saying "thank you" out loud, acknowledging that you have been gifted with another day.

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Destination Goals

While we set our personal goals, we make the common mistake of setting a 'destination goal', focusing on the end result,  without considering the hardships and daily challenges.

W...

Life Direction

Instead of sticking to dream goals it is better to set a life Direction.

How to figure out a Life Direction? Ask yourself these fundamental questions:

  • What energizes me?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • When do I feel the happiest?
  • What do I want to learn?
  • What kind of places or people inspire me to strive for more?
Action Plan

Determine and plan in advance all the critical parts of your goal, and break it down in small, actionable tasks.

The small, divided tasks keep you motivated by providing a feeling of progress on a daily basis.

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Keystone Habits

They tend to have ripple effects which change your behavior in unexpected ways.

The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to set off a chain reaction that causes other...

Examples of Keystone Habits

Exercising regularly is for many people a keystone habit because when they do it, they also make healthier eating and life choices and procrastinate less.

Other keystone habits include: meditation, reading, writing and socialising. They provide a nice foundation for a healthy life in all domains

Identify Your Keystone Habits

Look for behaviors that have a ripple effect, and change your other behaviors without extra effort. 

Also, pay attention to how you see yourself when you do a particular habit: Does it change your self-image? Do you feel better when you think of yourself as a person?

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Force yourself to do things

Our mind has muscles. It memorizes patterns. By doing this over and over, you're building your willpower and self-discipline. 

Forcing yourself to do things...

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."
Focus on the emotional reward

Focus on the feeling you feel after doing something that you know is good for you.

  • The adrenaline rush.
  • The feeling of being fit and healthy.
  • The relief you feel after having finished a big project.
  • The pride you gain from an accomplishment.
  • The confidence you feel after having faced your fear.

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Unfinished Books

Due to unlimited distractions, shorter attention spans and increased boredom, we aren't finishing the books we start to read. Our impulsive and fickle nature is also to blame.

Add Some Variety

The mind needs variety and diverse types of stimuli at different times. Reading several books at once, of different genres is a smart way to be able to cater to the mind's different needs at different times. It is also a good idea to not have more than a few books in your current reading list. The recommended number is 3.

Let Go Of Certain Books

If reading a certain book is beginning to feel like a burden to you, you are free to let go. The reason can be any, but it is no use wasting your time in a book that isn't speaking to you.

Letting go of a book provides closure and unburdens your mind.

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Great Results

... are built from small actions that you take every day.

It is your habits that will determine who you are and what you can accomplish in the future.

Start Your Day Early

Wake up early and you can spend some undisturbed time alone and do your most important tasks or get ready for what is coming during the day.

You may feel uneasy and uncomfortable at first, but you need to overcome it and turn it into a habit. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and gradually improve from there can be a good strategy.

Spend 30 Minutes Into Reading

You can do this either in the morning before you start your day or before you sleep at night. Read relevant books that will improve your knowledge or just read personal development books.

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Routines

A routine is a series of regularly followed actions. There are few things that impact your daily productivity, career trajectory, and overall well-being as much as your routines. What’s i...

'Copying' famous routines

Not everyone consciously crafts their routines to maximize their time. That’s why people are interested in the routines of successful people: we think following the same steps will bring the same results. But blindly following someone else’s routines won’t make us as successful as them.

Rituals

Rituals are repeated behaviors (like routines). However, they’re deeply personal and are imbued with deeper meaning beyond just a sequence of actions. They mark a change, a switch in task or moment of importance.  And it’s those symbolic actions performed at key moments that help us move through the day smoothly.