“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”
— Charles C. Nobel
We all have, or should have, goals; small goals & big goals are what keep us moving forward in life, and help us become successful. Goals are good; they are positive and helpful. They can keep us on track.
Goals are not all we need.
There is a difference between goals and habits. When we want to accomplish something like getting a promotion, learning a new language, or losing weight; we set a goal. Let’s say we want to be promoted to the next highest level at work. We set a realistic goal to earn that promotion in a year. We set the goal, and we have a plan on how to get there.
There are a couple of things that might happen.
Let’s say you get to the end of the year and you are successful. That’s great, you achieved your goal, but something else also happens. You congratulate yourself, and you settle into your new position. You stop doing all the good things that helped you to reach the goal. You become complacent. You did not create new habits. To maintain your new position, and to keep improving, you need to form habits.
You also do not have complete control over factors that could affect reaching your goal. The company you work for may downsize, and the position you want could be eliminated as a result. You may be in an accident or become ill. We may have an unrealistic view of what is needed to accomplish the goal and decide it is too much effort.
Habits are more relevant and more productive. Habits are instinctual and become an automatic part of your routine.
“Depending on what they are, our habits will either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do.”
By changing our focus from achieving specific goals to creating positive long-term habits, we can make continuous improvement a way of life.
Goals rely on motivation that we will receive an award such as an increase in income, or praise from someone we respect and want to impress. They are therefore short term.
Habits are something we do automatically, and so they have a life long effect on virtually everything we do. One example is money. If you want to accumulate and acquire wealth, you establish a habit early on in life that each week you will take a percentage of your pay and put it in savings. You do not use that money for anything else. It will become a habit, something you do not even think about, and an excellent practice to maintain.
If you want to establish a habit of reading or exercise, you can do it. Start small and exercise 10 minutes each day. Do the same with reading, decide to read a chapter a day, or to read for 15 minutes. It will become a habit and one that you automatically do. Quite likely you will do both for an increasing length of time, but always continue to do at least the minimum.
When we want to attain something in our lives, we will do well to invest our time in forming positive habits, rather than concentrating on a specific goal. The goal will end, and the habit will continue.
We need both. We need goals to provide direction and push us forward. They are suitable for the short term. Forming habits gives us the ability to keep performing and continually improve because they guide us all the time; every day.
“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.”
As always, thank you for reading my blog. What are your habits?
You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward, just take the first step.
I feel like crap today. I can’t move forward. I don’t feel like doing anything but feel I have to. You know those days when you wake up in the morning and you feel okay but once you get to work you don’t. You feel stuck. You’re there, you want to go home, but there is a meeting or a class or something you really need to work on.
What the heck should you do. Power through or throw in the hat? Head to the bathroom and barf or just suck it up.
My option is usually just suck it up. Once I get moving I’m okay. It may not be pleasant and I may not be glowing with contentment but I get the job done.
My feeling totally yucky today has led me to writing this post. I was just poking around trying to decide what to write about and decided to look at some quotes. I wanted to move forward and I took that first step and here I am.
My analogy could easily apply to other situations of “What to do when you don’t know what to do”.
In my case it was making a decision to either be a slug or to actually do something and in this case it was what to write today. It could easily have been about something else.
Sometimes we just get overwhelmed, tired or just feel yucky. Maybe I should have taken a mental health day.
We all have hurdles, some are small and some are much larger. You may have come to a stalemate, a huge hurdle in your life that is overwhelming and requires a big potentially life changing decision.
You can use the same techniques in all situations. It is good to practice them all the time so they become part of your everyday life. Make them habits.
What can you do to keep moving forward?
Depending on your situation you may not be able to figure it out quickly. It won’t be an overnight decision. Life throws us some interesting curves sometimes. Take some time knowing you may be unhappy or uncomfortable until you can come to a decision.
If you have a “smaller” less significant problem you will still need to take a little time to understand why you are stuck. For instance take that mental health day and use it to rest and refuel. Access what was wrong and then refocus so you can move forward.
Make a decision on what to do but keep it simple. This will make it easier to take a first step. Don’t overthink it and don’t make it too complicated. Take that first step, evaluate the result and then use what you learned from the first step. Keep moving and do it again. .
Smile. Smiling is the easiest, simplest thing you can do to feel better and boost your confidence. Smiling can change your whole perspective and make everything easier.
Look for ways to relax that you usually don’t take the time for. When you go to lunch leave your phone behind, go for a walk or actually talk to someone face to face and do not talk about work. Talk about sports, a great movie or a book you are reading. Hopefully, you do those things as a hobby. If not, consider doing them for your well being. It is important to do things that relax you, give you energy and help you to look at your life in a new, fresh way.
When you are faced with anything that significantly affects your life and you have to make changes, either small or large, consider it an opportunity. Stop and listen to yourself. Listen to your body, your mind, your emotions. We do not normally do this and it is important. Take the time to learn about and understand who you are and then make the changes you need for yourself.
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Have a wonderful day.
“Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviors. Keep your behaviors positive, because your behaviors become your habits. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.” Ghandi
Do you have a difficult time being positive ? or do you live or work with someone that tends to be negative ? Some people always seem upbeat and positive and are always smiling and happy. What makes them that way and can you do something to be that way too ?
Every morning when we wake up we have a choice to make. What will we do today and what will our attitude be. How will we choose ? Will we be happy or sad ? Will we be positive or negative ? The choice is there each and every day and, yes, we do have a choice.
There may be things in place we have to do like going to work, getting the kids up and ready for school, walking the dog, buying groceries. Sometimes we cannot change our schedules but we can change our outlook.
Everyone has days, weeks and sometimes months, if not years, when life isn’t the greatest. We have all been there in one form or another. Sometimes it is very difficult to change and some of us will need help coping. That is OK. Seek the help you need and move forward a step at a time.
We can make changes in our lives, simple changes, that will make us more positive. Take some quiet time and think about what you like to do that is relaxing. Write your thoughts down at the end of the day; what did you do today that made you smile or feel relaxed. Write down what makes you feel tense or irritable.
When you practice this and do it consistently you will probably see a pattern. You should make two columns on a sheet of paper, one marked with the things that made you feel good and one with the things that made you feel bad.
Look at the list and decide if there are things you can eliminate from the negative side either by just not doing them, or if that is not an option, finding someone else that can do them for you, either a member of your household or by hiring someone to do it.
If it is work related can you talk to your boss and see if that particular task can be changed in some way to make it easier to do or have it assigned to someone else. Explain why and ask if there is a trade off. Perhaps there is a different job you are more qualified to do and would prefer doing. Talk to your boss and see if they can move you into that position.
It is always a good idea to be able to perform all jobs within your area; it makes a more skilled and satisfied employee. If you like the company you work for talk to your boss about developing a course of action so that you can continue to grow and move forward within the company.
You will be more satisfied, less stressed and you can move the problems you had with your job from the con side to the pro side of your list.
When you look at the positive side of your list is there something that you can do more of? How can you incorporate those things both at work and at home. If you want to be more active perhaps you can walk on your lunch time. Walk around the block or if there is a park nearby eat your lunch there, listen to music and then walk back to your workplace.
At one of my work places I would get in my car and drive to a pier at a nearby lake, park the car, listen to music and watch the water while I enjoyed my lunch. It was very relaxing and a nice break from anything that might have been stressful that day. It changes your perspective in a good way.
I love being outside, taking my dog for a walk, doing some gardening. Listening to music always relaxes me. Each of us has something we like to do that makes us feel better. Perhaps reading a book or cooking/baking or doing something creative is your thing that you like to do and find relaxing.
Meditation is interesting to me but I have not actively pursued learning how to do it but just taking quiet time to relax has worked for me. I love showers but some people find the ritual of a bath with all the special soaps and lotions totally relaxing.
If you read the quote at the top of the page it really does break down the actions we should incorporate into our daily lives.
“Keep your thoughts positive because you thoughts become your words.” Sounds easy enough right ? I have mentioned several things we can do to feel more positive and improve our negative thoughts, our outlook. There are many things we can practice each day and make habits to improve our life.
“Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviors.” Negative words, we hear them all the time. There always seems to be at least one person at work, in our group of friends and acquaintances, at the store and most events that is a negative person. If we watch and listen to them you will probably be able to detect an overall negative attitude. Something is always wrong, it is not their fault, why did it happen to them and so forth.
Sometimes that negative attitude is a learned behavior. Someone grows up in a household where a parent uses negative language. They feel like a victim when in reality their viewpoint is distorted. When you live with someone like that, or you develop a friendship with someone who is negative, it is very likely that you may mimic the behavior. But you do not have to and you can change.
As a child you may visit, and spend time with, other families and start to question how their lifestyle compares to that of your own family. You may observe happy people, who enjoy each other, who do not belittle each other and do not use foul or negative language. You realize you like being around them and you start changing your behavior to be more like them.
That can happen at any time in our life.
“Keep your behaviors positive, because your behaviors become your habits.”
What you do each day are your habits. In the scenario above a child lived in a negative household and was learning those same habits but he, or she, learned through a friendship that there was an alternative way to act. If they were to continue on that same path they were in the process of learning new habits which could be incorporated in their life going forward.
The same thing happens day in, day out, in different households around the world. We learn early on from the people we are exposed to, especially our families, but as we grow we learn from others that there is a different option for almost every aspect of our lives. At some point we make a choice as to which path we will follow. We can change and we can improve. Negative or positive, which do you want to be.
“Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.”
So we have decided to be positive. We realize it is the way you want to live your life. It is a habit to live that way and we work hard to maintain that same attitude by focusing on and adding positive value to our life each day.
Our habits have now become our values. Our values are what determine how we live our lives. Our values are the standards we use to determine what we do both at work and at home. We use our values to judge how we are doing; are we successful, are we leading a good life, are we where we want to be.
My values will not be the same as yours, nor should they be. We may have similar values but it is not important rather they are the same. Each person arrives at, and determines, their values from their own life experiences.
“Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.”
Our values are important because they will flavor everything you do, every decision you make, not only for you but for your family. Your values will be the image you project out into the world. People will judge you by your values. Where you decide to work and rather you are successful at work, and elsewhere, will be determined by your values.
Can you change your values ? Certainly, but it is not an easy thing to do. Your values are probably the same or very similar to your parents. That is usually what happens and then we may adjust them as we have new life experiences.
Depending on your age you will probably have been exposed to many different things than your parents were. It is a rapidly changing world, so it stands to reason that you may have a different way of looking at things then they did. Will that affect your values ? Possibly. If so, it may be a slow process and that may the best approach.
Whatever you do in life, what type of work you do, where you live, the activities you participate in and the amount of money you have and how you spend it, or don’t, all reflect your values. At the end of your life ,and you look back, how will you feel about your life ? That will be determined by your values.
Choose wisely because our values and how they guide our life are our destiny. Make it a good one.
As always, Thank you for reading my blog. “Wake Up and Live”.