Have you ever stopped to wonder why years pass so quickly?
Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I think the start of a new year is the time for reflection for many. About the goals set last year and evaluating their success rate, and making new commitments.
What makes a new year special?
I think it’s the fresh start that motivates us to set goals. A fresh start gives us a new energy. Be it a relationship, a school, a business or even a habit.
In fact a study shows that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately after temporal landmarks (start of new year, birthdays, holidays, new week/month, semester etc). It’s called ‘fresh start effect’.
And most of us like to imagine how we will make each area of our life better, beginning from the new year. Like changing our diets, exercising more frequently or even taking up a new form of exercise, changing our thinking patterns, control anger etc.
Here I have compiled a list of best habits to have in life. If practiced, they will cause positive and remarkable changes in your life.
There is a reason gratitude tops my list. I have been practicing gratitude for over 2 years now. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful before. But I didn’t do it as a practice.
But when I started practicing it, I can say my life changed.
I used to worry about small things in life to a large extent. And fair enough, the things I worried started showing up too.
But after starting my gratitude journal, I began to approach life more positively.
There is an old adage which says,”Happiness is not a destination, but a journey”. We postpone happiness thinking achieving a certain thing can make us happy. Or something is going on in my life right now due to which I can’t be happy.
No, it doesn’t work that way.
Even when something is not right in your life now, there are numerous other things that are perfect. Count them, express gratitude for them, to the God you believe in or to the Universe.
You can buy a gratitude journal or a simple notebook will do. Express gratitude for the things you are grateful for, each day. Don’t hesitate to write about even the smallest things that made you happy each day.
Like how your daughter told you that she loves you or even for the flower that bloomed in your garden today. You will be amazed by the changes it will bring to your life.
- I am grateful to have a healthy body.
- I am thankful I have a beautiful home to live. It keeps me warm and I have a place for all my belongings.
- I am grateful for my kids’ health.
- I am thankful my boss was happy with my work today.
2. Inspire yourself
Zig Ziglar once said:
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.
No matter how fired up you are to work towards your goals, there are always days you don’t feel like moving a finger. You might even feel like may be this is not something you’re meant to do. It can happen especially on the days you don’t see the results you expect.
It happens to everyone.
Therefore, it is essential to inspire yourself with motivational content every other day.
Have some books of your favorite authors handy. Or, you can listen to motivating podcasts or watch YouTube videos or Ted talks.
You can read about the lives of successful people, how they sailed through failures and learn from them.
Make a habit of reading at least two pages of a self help book or watching a short YouTube video as part of your morning routine.
3. Get out of your comfort zone more often
This year, one of my goals is to make a habit of doing uncomfortable things more often.
Comfort zone is the best place to be, right?
Who wants to have butterflies in stomach and feel fear?
It is when you stretch your comfort zone you get to discover your true potential. It helps you to grow in life, thus achieving more.
Along with butterflies, it will give you new experiences that you would have missed out on, meet new people and explore new places. Never leaving your comfort area means staying stagnant.
So next time, when you want to say “no” to something that you wish you could do, think twice.
Journaling helps you record your life. It helps you to plan your days, ensuring you are not wasting the precious 24 hours given to you.
Sometimes our thoughts can overwhelm us. A journaling habit helps in dumping our thoughts into paper, thus clearing our mind.
It’s also a great tool to plan your days and write your goals. Successful people recommend the habit of reviewing your goals on a daily basis to track your progress.
You can start on any notebook or diary. And set a time daily for performing this. Most people prefer to journal first thing in the morning, or just before bedtime.
If your body is a vehicle, fuel is the food you give it to run. But you also need to do regular preventive maintenance to keep it in good shape and to prevent a sudden break down.
Exercise is the preventive maintenance you give your body to run smoothly and help you live life in the best possible way.
Regular exercise helps in improving energy, improves blood circulation, controls weight, combats diseases etc. It even boosts your mood by producing endorphins which makes you happy. And the best part is, it also reflects in all other areas of your life too.
Such habits are called keystone habits.
Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, calls exercise a keystone habit. According to Charles, it helps in creating chain reactions that helps other good habits take hold.
I have found this to be true. If we exercise regularly, we would want to eat healthy and avoid junk food as much possible. And also we get increased energy and good mood to continue with our daily chores.
The ultra successful people are also the ones who read a lot. If you look at Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, they all swear by reading habit. It has influenced their success to a large extent.
Reading opens to you new perspectives you didn’t know existed. If school gives you basic education, reading good books gives you a means to progress, improve your life, change your outlook, gives you new information that you wouldn’t get from schools or other sources.
It is a powerful habit that will give you immense benefits.
If you don’t want to read, you can listen to audiobooks. You can read this article to learn about some of the best audiobook services.
7. Set goals
For many, life is living on autopilot without new aspirations or growth, just going with the flow. Needless to say, it leads to a mediocre life.
If you want to achieve greatness in life or be remembered for something, you should have a vision and work for it. And setting goals will help you in it. It gives you a direction to follow.
Only if you have the destination mapped out, you will know when you get there.You get to measure your work against a set standard. And measuring is important since you get to know if you have attained it or not and find out what to improve.
You can set goals in all areas of life like health, work, relationships, spiritual, hobbies etc.
Meditation has numerous benefits on your mind and body. It reduces the stress of daily life. Stress can give you many diseases, thus it’s important to keep it under control. When we meditate we observe our thoughts passively, without letting ourselves involve in it or have feelings.
This helps in real life, where we observe stressful events keeping a distance and thus we are more calm and we can make better decisions. Starting a meditation habit is one of the best investments you could give yourself.
9. Be proactive
Stephen R covey in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says being proactive means, taking responsibility. If you are proactive you never look at the problem and worry, but you try to look for a solution. You do not blame people or circumstances for causing it.
I certainly believe this as one of the best habits to develop. Because when you take responsibility of the negative events happening in your life, you will look for solutions. If you blame others, you give away your power and play victim. It sabotages you and your path to success.
Proactive people create their own opportunities while reactive people wait for opportunities to come their way.
What do you want in life?
To be carried away by events, or control your responses to them and take charge of your life?
10. Get off the online world more for real life experiences
Our smartphones, rather than being a tool of convenience, has turned into something that rules our time and our days.
Do you always feel something is missing if your phone is not near you?
If so, it’s high time you get hold back of your priorities.
What you can do is, create time blocks for you to use internet. Check e-mails, social media updates and do web browsing only in the allotted time.
You can check your emails or social media if it’s urgent, but don’t get hooked up. Log out as soon as your work is done.
So this is my list of 10 best habits to have in life. Habits which, if implemented, can lead you to a more productive and fruitful life.
What do you think? What other habits would you add to the list?
Please comment below.