Category

Habits

Category

As I type this at 6.16 am, I feel proud and equally amazed at how I became a morning person.

I mean I was someone who loved staying up late and sleeping in till noon. Throughout school and college, I would stay up into the wee hours of the night to study or do assignments. I thought I was most productive at night.

But things changed, and now I know I can be productive in the early mornings too. But how did I change?

For me, it was not an easy transition, it took years of failing. No, no, don’t be discouraged yet thinking it will take years. I will tell you why I failed. Keep reading.

Why should you become a morning person?

Being a morning person has many benefits. Let me tell you how my life changed by becoming a morning person.

  • It has improved my productivity. By getting up early, I get to finish my routine tasks before the kids wake up and thus I am more peaceful and calm knowing part of my work has been done. It’s a real happiness booster.
  • It keeps me energetic. When I was a night owl, I still got the sufficient sleep I needed. But, I wouldn’t feel enthusiastic to start my day. I would waste hours before starting to do anything.
  • It gives me a sense of accomplishment. As a mother, I have other responsibilities too so I get to do “my work” before tending to others’ needs. Thus, I am more satisfied because by waking up early, I have done more by noon and there is no nagging voice that keeps reminding me “you have to do this/that”.
  • I get more time in my day to spend with family.
  • I am more self-disciplined. Changing from a night owl into a morning person is not an easy task. But when you achieve that it increases your confidence to achieve more in life.

Now, without much ado, let me give you 9 tips on how you can become a morning person.

1. The big “WHY”

If you are a morning person who wakes up with the sun by nature, you are good to go.

But what if you are a night owl who enjoys sleeping but still would like to become a morning person? It might not be easy but it’s not undoable either. I told you I failed for years. The reason? I didn’t have a strong reason to leave my cozy bed and my precious sleep.

I would try for a few days. I would feel fresh and energized, but then I am back to normal. Maybe because only feeling fresh was not enough reason for me to ditch my sleep. 

Many articles on how to be a morning person start with the advice to “sleep early”. It’s true, you have to sleep early. But I have found that simply sleeping early didn’t help me wake up early. I would “wake up” but not “get up” from the bed. I would lie there under my cozy blanket because I didn’t know what to do once I was up.

So, ask yourself. Why do you want to wake up early? What benefits do you think you will get if you are a morning person? What will motivate you to get up early in the morning?

Your answers are the reasons you will become a morning person. 

They can be the following:

-To enjoy the quiet time you can have for yourself (especially if you have little ones to care for).

-To get a morning workout that will keep you energized for the whole day (because you are too tired to work out in the evening).

-To do some productive work or thinking.

-To work for your side-hustle if you have a full-time job (that is, to make time for your dreams).

-To make time for the morning routine for personal development.

-You simply like the energy early morning gives you.

These are some common answers, but you might be having a different one. Find and note them down. If those reasons make you excited enough to wake up early in the morning, you are already there. I don’t think you need any more tips. Lol.

But I promised you 9 tips so I am going to give those. 

Now that you have decided why you want to be a morning person, let me tell you how to help your body and mind to ditch those old habits and establish new ones.

2. Have an evening routine

Waking up early doesn’t start with morning, but the day before. Before you go to sleep, you should know how your ideal morning should be. It is important because when you don’t know what to do, your sleepy brain may tell you to crawl back under the covers again.

You don’t want that. So as a clever determined person, you decide before you go to sleep. 

Tell yourself how excited you are to wake up early to do so and so. Or you can write in a journal why you love to become a morning person.

Example: I love waking up early because it will give me the time to work on my business which will help me achieve ______

I love waking up early to do exercise to lose ______ pounds so that I can fit into my skinny jeans again.

You can become a morning person even if you are a night owl. Here are 9 tips on how to become a morning person.

3. Sleep early

Most people need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every day. If you want to wake up at 6.30 am, calculate how much sleep you should get and go to bed accordingly. Remember, you might need at least 15-20 minutes to fall asleep too. 

Start winding down at least an hour before your sleep time. Most of us take our smartphones on the bed and keep scrolling until we can barely open our eyes. Research has proved that the blue light emitted by electronic devices interferes with our sleep.

So to get quality sleep, stop using your mobile devices at least an hour before bed. And use that time to set your intentions for the next day. You can do journaling, say affirmations or read a book. Such seemingly small lifestyle shifts can do wonders in your personal development journey.

Related: 10 best habits to have in life to improve yourself

 

4. make incremental change

When establishing a new habit, I always like to make changes in small steps. You can read the article I wrote on the topic here.

So when trying to get up early, instead of getting up an hour before, set your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Do it for a few days and when your body is comfortable with the new time, you can try to wake up even earlier.

Another tip that works is, keep the alarm clock on the other side of the room. This little trick works because you then have to walk a small distance to switch it off, waking you up in the process.

5. Have a productive morning routine

Charles Duhigg, in his book ‘The Power of Habit‘, writes about the loop of habit formation. According to a research done by MIT, there is a loop at the core of every habit. It consists of three parts: cue, habit, and reward. You can read more about it in detail here.

The idea is that the reward of performing an action is essentially what makes us do it again. When we repeat the action consistently enough it becomes etched into our brains as a habit. 

Thus try to make your mornings productive and rewarding. It will motivate you to do it again. Since reading the book ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod, I try to include the miracle morning routine in my mornings and I love it. So much so that I look forward to waking up early for performing the routine.

Now, how do you come up with a productive and rewarding morning routine? Go back to your “big WHY”. Those are the things you love and excited about and the reward of performing them will motivate you to get up again. 

When I was trying actively to become a morning person, my ‘big WHY’s’ were making time for my morning routine which includes meditation, affirmations, exercise, journaling etc and to have some productive time to work on this blog.

It still is my driving force to continue being a morning person.

The days I sleep in are the days I don’t start well. And I feel bad on such days.

That said, life happens and there may be days when you can’t sleep early and that means you might not feel like waking up early. It’s okay and sometimes when I have sleep debt I wake up one or two hours late because I might walk like a zombie if I were to get up earlier. Ok, I might be exaggerating a bit, but I can’t function without getting proper sleep.

But please make sure it happens only once in a while, especially when you are trying to make it a habit.


6. make your bed

If you want to be a morning person, there is nothing better to wake you up like natural light. As soon as you get up, open your blinds and windows and let the sunlight and crispy fresh morning air come in. It signals your body to wake up. 

And immediately make your bed. Making the bed can seem an insignificant act but it has more benefits than you imagine. According to Charles Duhigg, it is a keystone habit, which means, doing it can kickstart a pattern of other good behaviors. 

It can also help in preventing the temptation to crawl back into bed. 

Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, in his commencement speech at the University of Texas said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

You can watch his inspirational speech here (06:00 min).

7. Get moving

   It is easier to be a morning person if you love the energy early morning provides. When you wake up, get moving as soon as possible to beat the slump. 

You can do

  • Light stretching exercises
  • 20 minute HIIT exercises
  • Go for a walk outside

Or if you wish you can do a full-blown workout. Exercise produces chemicals in your body called endorphins which trigger a positive feeling.

That’s another reason to be a morning person. Many people complain they are too tired to exercise in the evening. A morning workout helps you start mornings with a positive energy that can spread throughout the day. It reflects in your productivity too. 

8. have a healthy breakfast

Like exercise and other morning routines, having a healthy breakfast is important to keep the energy going for the day. 

A healthy breakfast should contain a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein (eggs, legumes, nuts) etc. 

When you are trying to be a morning person, it’s helpful to plan your mornings in advance. Decision fatigue is real and the confusion of what to cook can make you sluggish in the morning instead of giving a power start. So plan your meals in advance, if possible for a week.

Here is a useful article on healthy breakfast ideas.

8. take a power nap in the afternoon

When you wake up early, it’s natural to feel dozy in the afternoon. A power nap can help you quickly recover from the sleepiness and feel fresh again.

Do not sleep for more than 30 minutes as you will wake up feeling groggy and it can interfere with your night’s sleep too.

You can read this article to find out why power naps are good for you.

 

9. maintain a consistent schedule

When trying to form a new habit, it’s important to stay consistent in your efforts. Always stick to the same sleep-wake up schedule until you feel it’s becoming automatic, even on weekends.

I used to sleep till 10 am on weekends, but now that I am used to waking up early I get up easily even on weekends. That being said, do not be hard on yourselves. Get sufficient sleep that your body needs, but try to come back to your schedule as soon as you get off track.

I find using habit trackers (in my bullet journal) very helpful in persevering with my habits even when I feel unmotivated. It’s my accountability partner and having to leave blank spaces without checking off in my journal, arouses a bad feeling in me. Thus it keeps me going.

Related:  How to start a bullet journal easily when you aren’t artistic (step-by-step method)

I used to think some people are meant to be morning people and some are not. 10 years ago I wouldn’t believe if anyone told me I could be a morning person. 

But, I think such beliefs are not set in stone.

You can achieve whatever you want in life if you want it that bad. Click To Tweet

P.S: I am still a recovering night owl and there is no way I am going back 🙂

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

You can become a morning person even if you are a night owl. Here are 9 tips on how to become a morning person.

 

 

 

8 actionable tips to overcome laziness and double your productivity. #stopbeinglazy #overcomelaziness

You want to do a million things, but don’t want to get off the couch?

I know the feeling.

And I know how pathetic you feel afterward when the pile of unfinished tasks builds up in front of you.

You want more from your life, but when you feel lazy to act, nothing seems to work. Even thinking about your goals or dreams may not motivate you to stop being lazy.

You were not born lazy. But you picked up lazy habits on the way.

It’s a relief to learn that because now you have a choice to change. And you can overcome laziness by substituting those habits with better habits.

Let’s see how.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

how to overcome laziness? Is it the same as procrastination?

Laziness or slothfulness, is choosing to stay idle despite having the ability to act.

Laziness is not the same as procrastination. Procrastination is when we postpone our tasks to a later period and choose to do easy and less important tasks, while laziness is simply choosing not to do them even though you perfectly can.

Though laziness can make you procrastinate, there are other reasons for procrastination too.

Here are some tips to overcome laziness and maximize your potential.

1. Try to understand why you are lazy

You cannot solve a problem unless you know what causes it. 

There can be different reasons for feeling lazy.

Maybe it’s a boring or tedious task, maybe you have fears holding you back, or you feel lethargic and don’t have the energy to do it. 

Let’s look at each scenario.

a) The task is boring

Life requires us to do many tasks that are mundane, repetitive and uncreative.

Like household chores, studying, data entry work for your job etc.

But you can’t possibly live in a house that has been uncleaned for weeks, or you can’t eat healthy homemade food if you don’t cook and always grab a burger on the way back to home. You fail in your exams if you don’t study (and you know the consequences) and the data entry work you don’t want to do helps you stay organized.

If you convince yourself and understand your “why”, you can push yourself.

For example, I do many unpleasant tasks on a daily basis, at home, and for blogging. I used to be lazy and procrastinate much with the tasks I don’t like. 

But what I do now is, I schedule all the tasks that should be done in a day (interesting and boring ones) in my bullet journal. And I do the most important ones first thing in the morning (usually writing), and others follow.

I do each activity even if I like it or not because I think about the consequences of not doing it and that forces me.

 I always stress in almost all articles, scheduling by writing by hand is the key to getting things done. And I can never say it enough.

Here’s an article that explains why writing down your goals works.

b) Fears that hold you back

Sometimes you choose not to do a task because you have some inhibitions holding you back.

Find out why you have them and find a solution. Here is an article I wrote on how to overcome procrastination caused by fear.

c) You are tired

8 actionable tips to overcome laziness and double your productivity.

You want to take action but you feel tired to move even a muscle. Maybe it’s because you have some underlying health problems.

This happens to me often, and I started including more nutritious food in my diet and cut junk. 

Many people have one or the other common nutrient deficiencies. Include supplements and a variety of fruits and veggies in your diet if you want to up your levels.

Make exercise a part of your daily life. Exercise makes your body release chemicals called ‘endorphins’. They boost your mood and give you positive energy.

When you are brimming with energy, it’s less likely to feel lazy.

2. Set goals

Unless you have specific goals, you don’t know what you are working for, and where you are going. Goals give you direction. Decide what you want to achieve in each area of your life.

When you don’t know what to do in life and you are just going with the flow taking each day as it comes, it’s difficult to overcome laziness.

Let each day of your life has a purpose. Take a decision to not waste even a day. 

How to set goals? 

I like this technique used by the great Tony Robbins. 

This is a simple technique to set goals. It gives clarity on what you should do in short-term to accomplish goals in long term.

Here’s the exercise.

Take a piece of paper and start writing.

-What kind of person do you want to be or what do you want to achieve in 10 years? Or in 5 years? (if you don’t want to think that long). You can write your goals in every area of your life like career, relationships, travel or business.

Now think backward.

To accomplish each goal in 5 years, what do you need to accomplish by four years, three years, two years and one year from now?

And what should you accomplish in six months from now?

Break your big goal into mini goals like this, and reach back all the way till today. 

Yes, today.

Now you know what to do today, instead of lazing around. I believe when you have goals that won’t let you sleep, it is easy to stop being lazy.

Related: 7 common things you do that waste your life

8 actionable tips to overcome laziness and double your productivity.

3. Establish a routine

Now that you have set goals, plan your ideal day. What activities/tasks would fill your day so that they align with the goals you set?

Write down all the important activities that should be done in a day. Allocate time for each. And when the time comes, do it even if you feel like doing it or not.

Yes, that’s another key to overcoming laziness.

Show up every day, even if you want to or not.

When you overcome the initial resistance, it is much easier to carry on. 

I don’t feel like writing for my blog always. But when the time comes, I open my laptop and start typing. After I overcome the initial resistance, I find it’s easier to keep writing.

With boring tasks, I tell myself, “I don’t want to do this, but it will help me to accomplish so and so”. It works!

You can apply this to almost everything you want to do. 

When I started this blog, I decided to focus on habits. Because what I have come to know after years of devouring personal development content, is that you achieve success and overcome laziness and procrastination, by forming better habits.

If I want to develop any personal development traits, I focus on making it a habit. Because when it’s a habit, you are more consistent. Consistency is what leads to success.

Related: 10 better habits to start to take your life to the next level

4. Break big tasks into small ones

Sometimes, the enormity of the tasks make you feel overwhelmed and you end up not starting at all.

Break your big tasks into small actionable parts. Try not to think about the big task as such, but focus on the small mini goal.

When I want to declutter my closet, I do it one drawer a day. It takes only 15-20 minutes a day and I don’t feel as lazy as I would feel if I had to declutter the entire closet in a day.

Apply this to all your Himalayan tasks.

5. Stop hanging out with lazy people

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with-Jim RohnClick To Tweet

Be mindful of who you hang out with, as they can influence your thinking and decisions. If the people whom you associate with the most are lazy people who have no focus in life, it can pass onto you even if you are a positive person.

On the other hand, if you mingle with people who are proactive and successful, you get inspired too, to take charge of your life. 

Pessimistic people feel life is happening to them, not for them. They laze around, finding fault in every situation in life and blaming others.

If you want to overcome laziness, don’t be around such people.

If we can realize that life is always happening for us, not to us… game over, all the pain and suffering disappearsClick To Tweet

6. Plan for the days your plans fail

It is said that “how you start your morning determines your day”.

Isn’t it true?

Think about the days you started by doing productive things, and you felt good the whole day and actively crossed off the items on your list.

But what if you started the day by getting up late? Or you decided to act lazy when you should have finished your tasks.

Don’t beat yourself up.

It can be easy to determine such days are wasted and think “I will start tomorrow.”

Don’t do that. Start from where you are.

When your plans don’t go well, instead of feeling guilty and pessimistic, still go with your plan.

I go with mini habits on such days.

If I wanted to do a workout in the morning and didn’t do it, I do a mini version of it in the evening or at least do a warm up.

If I wanted to write at least 500 words in the morning, and if I failed, I would still open my laptop and write how much ever I can.

The idea is to stick to your plan (even in small ways) and do not give into laziness, no matter what.

After a while, your subconscious mind gets that it is important for you, and sticking to your routine becomes easier.

7. Use laziness as a reward

Overcoming laziness doesn’t have to be hard when you let yourself be lazy once in a while.

Tell yourself, you can laze around when you have done your work. 

There is no better feeling like relaxing by doing nothing or indulging in any of your favorite self-care activities.

If distractions like TV, social media, Netflix or other media are the reasons you are lazy, you can reward yourself with these after doing some productive work.

“I will reward myself with two episodes of Game of Thrones once I am done with ____”, is a good decision to make.

Choose ‘selective laziness’ over a destructive one.

Related: 101 self-care ideas to refresh yourself when you are stressed out

8. Change your mindset

Like the people who you hang out with influence you, good books, videos and reading stories of successful people can influence your mindset. 

Read self-help books, blogs or watch inspirational Youtube videos to stay motivated.

Some of the books I recommend are Think and Grow Rich, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Awaken The Giant Within, The Miracle Morning and The Magic of Thinking Big (there are more, maybe in a future article).


Takeaway

How your life turns out is entirely your decision. Laziness doesn’t define you unless you make it so. Yes, it’s a decision which if continued for many days, becomes a habit. And I know you can choose better.

What are the struggles you face when you try to stop being lazy? Please comment below.

If you are not feeling lazy, please PIN and SHARE 🙂

8 actionable tips to overcome laziness and double your productivity. #stopbeinglazy #overcomelaziness

 

Have you noticed children while they are playing? They are often so engrossed in what they are doing and they seem to be in another world.

They are being mindful.

We hear so much about mindfulness these days. Well, all the gadgets we invented supposedly to make our lives easier are also making us focus less and less. 

We are often haunted by the thoughts of new notifications and are forced by habit, to check them constantly to make sure we are not missing out on anything.

This has also made us forget to enjoy what is happening “in the moment”. Like, the sensation under your feet when you step on freshly mowed grass, the pleasant smell of the flower that bloomed in your garden today, the unexpected kiss your daughter gave you when you were busy in the kitchen. Have you realized we don’t need big achievements in life to be truly happy?

We often spend our days worrying about what to do next in life and the next big thing you wanna achieve.

Little things that happen in our day are enough to make us happy. But the key is in noticing it and appreciating it. This can happen when you are mindful.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being fully present, and being aware of what you are doing at the moment. You bring your full attention to what you are doing at the moment, not letting your mind wander. When it wanders, you are aware of it and you gently bring it back to what you are focusing on, without judgement.

As simple as that.

But as a beginner, you will find it not as easy as it seems. Your attention drifts without you knowing and realize it after a while. But you will get better with practice.

What is mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness

Why mindfulness? Benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness has a lot of benefits for your overall well-being. It could easily be another blog post (may be in future). But here are a few important points.

1. Mindfulness increases focus

 We have a lot of things to cross off our to-do list every day. It would be simple if we could finish one by one easily. 

But I find that whenever I am ready to do a task, I am reminded of something else that needs to be done. It makes me anxious because it is unfinished. Then I feel the stress rising. I am not able to concentrate on the current task. 

I feel overwhelmed.

In such moments, I do a mindfulness meditation exercise (read below to see how to do it). It calms my mind and helps me relax. I am able to concentrate on the task at hand better.

Mindfulness helps you increase focus and concentration because you are making an effort to bring your attention to the present moment repeatedly. 

It even has the power to change your brain. The effect of mindfulness practice can last long even when you are not consciously doing it because new neuron connections are formed through neuroplasticity. 

It’s amazing, right?

2. Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety

    When you practice mindfulness you are more aware of your thoughts. Thus, if any thought comes up that gives you stress you try to acknowledge it. You say to yourself “Ok. This is stressing me out. Back to the task”. So you get to respond to your thoughts rather than being controlled by it. 

You can choose to step back from them as you are mindful of your emotional state. You acknowledge your thoughts and you are able to respond rather than react to it.

3. Mindfulness improves physical health

  Research has proved that our brain has the ability to influence the body’s inflammatory responses. Our brain and immune system are interconnected.

Mindfulness meditation can be used as a pathway to train our brain to control stress reaction and prevent a lot of stress based diseases.

It also improves your memory retention, promotes heart health, improves the quality of sleep etc.

But how do you become more mindful? How to incorporate mindfulness in daily life? Read on.

How to start practicing mindfulness as a beginner?

What is mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness

Contrary to what many people think, mindfulness is not emptying your mind so that you think nothing. It is listening to your thoughts and sensations without getting emotional, without judging them.

Here are some mindfulness exercises to start with.

1. Practice mindfulness in the moment

You can start to practice mindfulness right now. There are no rules to be mindful.

For example, as you are reading this article, try to be mindful. 

  • Stop and notice how your eyeballs are moving towards your right. Slow down and notice how you can see each letter, notice the shape of each letter.
  • Notice how your finger touches the screen or your trackpad or the arrow buttons.
  • Feel the sensation on the tip of your fingers as you touch the device.
  • Notice the white colour in the background.
  • Read each word and listen to your mind pronouncing each word.
  • Notice how you have slowed down and feel the calm

How do you feel? If you have really stopped to do it, I bet you are feeling more relaxed and calm. This is what mindfulness can do to you. 

You feel an instant calm, your mood lightened and feel happy. And you don’t feel the rush to finish the article already. It is an escape from the inner chaos.

You can apply this to practically anything you do. Just stop for a minute or two to be really present and aware of what you do.

Another example:

Suppose you are walking.

  • Notice how each of your foot feels when they touch the ground. Is the floor cold? Or warm?
  • Feel how you are able to lift each leg easily and put one before the other. 
  • How your legs balance the weight of your body easily.
  • How you reach from point A to point B.
  • Feel thankful for how you are able to carry yourself to everywhere you want to go.

You can apply this to everything you do in daily life. 

But it doesn’t mean you have to be mindful in everything you do. We do many things on autopilot because those are habits established over the years. It’s for our benefit and ease.

You practice mindfulness because sometimes you need to remind yourselves of the beauty of little things and appreciate what we are able to do.

2. Mindful breathing or mindfulness meditation

     Mindfulness meditation is the most popular way of practicing mindfulness.

     In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your breathing. How you take a breath, how you release it, and how your chest or stomach is filled with breath and how it deflates. 

     How to do mindfulness meditation?

  • Choose a quiet place to sit. You can sit in any position you like, be it lotus pose (cross-legged sitting) or simply sit in a chair.
  • Sit in an erect position.
  • Now before jumping to start meditation, give yourself some time to relax. Let your mind settle and get ready. Take a few deep breaths.
  • Set a timer. I would recommend starting with 2-5 minutes. But, it’s upon you.
  • Now start focusing on your breathing. Notice while inhaling how the breath goes up, and while exhaling how it comes down. (You don’t have to take deep breaths here, just normal breathing.)
  • When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focus on breathing again without judgement or feeling despair.

Slowly increase the duration over the days, according to your capability.

Related : Benefits of meditation and how to start a meditation habit

3. Mindful eatingHow to practice mindfulness and the benefits of mindfulness-mindful eating

 Many of us are used to eating while watching television or Netflix. We eat mindlessly and we forget how much we really need to eat and even forget to relish the taste of the food we eat.

Mindful eating focuses on enjoying all the aspects of the food you are eating. Its taste, flavour, texture and you are aware of how you feel while eating.

How to eat mindfully?

  • Eat when you are only hungry and not on visual cues.
  • Keep the distractions away (TV, computer, smartphones, books).
  • Chew the food slowly and thoroughly before swallowing down.
  • Appreciate the taste of the food.
  • Appreciate how lucky you are for having food on the table.
  • Stop eating when you are full. Please know that after you are full, even one morsel of food that you eat leads to overeating and gain weight.

It takes upto 20 minutes for our brains to send the message of satiety. So if you are used to eating fast and mindlessly you must be eating more than  you require  all the time. 

For this reason, mindful eating helps in losing weight, because you are aware of what and how much you eat. You get to control the quantity.

These exercises are enough to start your mindfulness journey. Start small and try to do them at least once a day. You don’t have to dedicate separate time for it, but do it while you carry on with daily life.

I’d love to know, how do you practice mindfulness? Please comment below.

And also, if you like what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE this post!

Want to practice mindfulness? Learn what is mindfulness and mindfulness tips for your daily life.

 

Everyone knows exercise is good for health.

And you want to start a workout routine and wish it were a habit.

You start jogging, do it for two weeks, and you are back to normal life.

Don’t worry; it happens to everyone.

But it doesn’t mean that you are destined to live your life wishing away.

To make any change in your life and make it permanent, you have to want it bad enough.

Click to tweet this quote!

Anyone can tell you how to do it, but to make a real lasting change, you have to make a decision.

If you have read Napoleon Hill’s famous book Think and Grow Rich, he says, to achieve any desire, first and foremost you should have a BURNING DESIRE.

It is the knowledge that how you want your life to be, that changes your habits.

So here are  10 tips to create an exercise habit and stick with it.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

1. Link your new exercise habit to any existing behavior

When you want to create a new habit, it is helpful to link it with any existing habit of yours.

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about how habits are formed.

There is a cue-routine-reward cycle to any habit. If you link your new work out habit to any existing habit, your old habit is your cue.

Find your own best time to do exercise, morning or evening. And link your new exercise habit to any of your morning/evening habits.

For example, you brush your teeth every morning. You can decide to do your workout straight after brushing teeth. Or if in the evening, maybe after you come from work. Find out what time works best for you.

Linking your new exercise habit to an old habit works because the old habit is more established and therefore your brain has a strong neural connection for those habits.
This method is called habit stacking and has been mentioned by authors like BJ Fogg, SJ Scott etc.

How to start an exercise habit and stick with it

2. start small

When you are creating a new habit, always remember to start small. Your aim is to create a new workout habit and make sure to stick with it.

In the beginning, what you should focus on is, building consistency rather than reaping benefits. Starting small will help you in showing up every day.

This is a way for you to tell your brain that you want to make this a routine and your brain will start building new neural pathways. As you perform the routine more often these neural pathways will get reinforced and rewire your brain, creating a new habit.

If you aim for a full hour workout in the beginning, it might feel overwhelming after a couple of days, and you might procrastinate or even stop trying. Therefore, you can aim to start with,

  •  10 minutes walk
  •  5-minute stretching
  • 5 pushups
  • A warm-up

These are some examples, but of course, you can change the duration or repetition according to your ability.

Related: A powerful technique to stay motivated with a new habit

3. Set a time

You have more chances of doing exercise, or for that matter, any habit, if you have scheduled a time for it in your day.

If you are thinking to yourself, “I will do yoga tomorrow morning”, chances are you will postpone it. Because you know you want to do it, but don’t know when.

If you think, ‘I will do yoga tomorrow morning at 7 am’, I bet you will do it.

So grab your planner, (or whatever scheduler you are using) and block time for your workout.
I use my bullet journal for scheduling everything.

Read more:

4. Make a plan

You must be having an idea about what results you want from your daily exercise.
It could be weight loss, more energy, toning your abs etc.

Make a plan to achieve your goals. Decide what kind of workout will excite you and will give you the results. It could be yoga, gym, swimming etc. or a combination of different exercises.

Whatever it is, decide what your exercise routine is gonna be.
If you want to tone down your abs, find 5-10 exercises that will help you achieve that ( Youtube and Pinterest have lots of information on this ).

If you want to increase strength, find some strength training exercises. Same with cardio, pilates etc.

Deciding what to do, when to do and how to do them are important because you get a well thought out plan. Your brain knows what you exactly want and that makes you stick with your exercise habit.

You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you are going.

Click to tweet this quote!

5. Have an accountability partner

Having an accountability partner does immense help in achieving your goals.
They help you stay on track and cheerlead you when you are feeling down.

Having an accountability partner works because human beings generally do not like disappointing others, especially the people they like.

We might postpone and act lazy when we are unmotivated. But the thought of answering to someone if you don’t do it is embarrassing for us. So we do them anyway.

I hope you get me.

When we embark on achieving something, there will be moments when you don’t feel like doing it, or life throws you something, or you feel you are not doing a good job (we are our worst critics), you will need someone to pull you up, and help you get back on track.

Yes, forming a new habit may not be that easy. But when you think about the end results, you are sure it is worthy.

You can make anyone you trust to be an accountability partner. It could be a close friend, spouse or someone you look up to.

6. Join a fitness class

Having talked about accountability partners, joining a fitness class or a gym can itself hold you accountable.

You are paying for it, and you know you are bound to show up no matter what.

If it is nearby your home or workplace, the better. Let not the long commute put you off.

How to start a workout routine and stick with it

7. Inspire yourself

 To stay motivated, social media channels like Instagram and other search engines like Youtube and Pinterest help me a lot.
I follow a few fitness and healthy eating enthusiasts on these media.

So checking social media once in a while reminds me of my goals and aspirations. And it inspires me to achieve my fitness goals.

Well, now I know social media can be put to good use also.

You could do this too.

8. Stick with your exercise habit no matter what

Now don’t kill yourself when a slip up occurs. Nor should it be a reason to skip the habit altogether.

But what to do when life happens?

1. Get back on track as soon as possible

Even if you miss one or two days, get back into your routine the next day itself. If you miss more days deliberately, it means it’s gonna escape you. 

2. Reschedule it

If you have an emergency to tend to on your exercise hours, take care of it. See if you can schedule it for a later time during the day. If you were to go to the gym in the morning and couldn’t make it, maybe you could go in the evening or go for a walk in the evening.

3. Do in small ways

James Clear often talks about sticking with habits each day in small ways. Missing one day’s workout is not gonna make you fat. But it is the cumulative effect that will make you skip the habit altogether.

You can’t let it happen. Just stick to the plan, even if it is in the smallest way.

If you are gonna miss a workout, at least do the warmup or some stretches.

If you were planning to walk for an hour, walk around the block for 15 minutes.

Whatever you were intending to do, you can do the smaller version of it. This lets your brain know that it is important to you. And thus the process of rewiring occur.

After a while, you will find that you don’t feel like yourself when you skip a workout.

9. Do 30-day workout challenges

All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. – Robin Sharma

Creating a new exercise habit can be hard, especially in the beginning your mind and body try to resist the change as much as possible.

30-day challenges are a good way to start an exercise routine. It starts small, you can track it and you stick with it for 30 days.
It motivates you to not miss a day because you have a deadline.

When we have a deadline, we tend to perform better. It creates a pressure and forces us to show up every day.

Though you will be getting the benefits after 30 days, don’t stop there. It has given you a head start for your lifelong fitness journey (hopefully).

You can google and get numerous challenges that focus on each body part or even full body workouts. Pinterest is also a great resource for this.

how to start an exercise habit and stick with it

10. Have a variety of fitness activities

Try to incorporate different kinds of physical activities into your exercise regimen. Because it keeps exercise interesting and enjoyable.

You are not stuck with one form of exercise. Experiment with different types and find out what you enjoy most and gives you good results.

If Mondays are for yoga, Tuesdays can be for weight training, Wednesdays for jogging etc.

You get the benefits of different forms of exercises and kick out boredom.

Of course, trying everything at once is not advisable. Take it slow.

11. Journal your progress

Keeping a workout journal helps you track your progress. It inspires you to look back on how much you have achieved and to keep going.

It keeps you on schedule. The thought of not able to cross off “workout” in my bullet journal makes me do my workout no matter how lazy I feel. You perform better when you have to answer to someone ( in this case, your journal).

It creates a sense of accomplishment and builds my self-esteem when at the end of the day, I can mark it in my bullet journal.

You can record your fitness goals in the journal and track them daily. It helps you to measure your progress.

Read more: 10 ways journal writing will change your life

12. Reward yourself

Your aim is to start an exercise habit. Thus, you might be starting small. You might not see the results on your body yet.

But remember, first we wanna make this habit stick. Reward yourself for the efforts you are taking to make this change in your life.

No matter how small, if you are making changes to create a better life, you deserve to appreciate yourself.

So often we quit soon because we fail to see how far we have come, even if they are baby steps.

Here is an article to read on how to reward yourself after a workout.

Like any habit, creating a workout habit requires time, patience and a lot of effort. Workouts are not always easy and fun, but they are always worth it.

Like I said, after a while you get used to the adrenaline rush, which will make you crave for the workout and then it becomes part of your daily life.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Want to have better habits? If you have tried and failed to create an exercise habit, read this article. Find out how to form an exercise habit that sticks.

So what more tips would you add to the list? Please comment below.

 

Before you dismiss of journaling habit as something only the intelligent ones or the creative ones do, let me tell you something:

Journaling can be for everyone.

Great men like Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and many more, had journals.

So what is the relation between writing journals and becoming great?

It’s not that simply writing in a journal can make you great. It is how you use it, makes the difference.

Here are 10 benefits of journaling that can help you improve your life. If you think you don’t know what to write in a journal or don’t know how to start, let me help. 

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

1. journaling helps to Record daily insights that touch you

10 benefits of journaling and how it can change your life

As humans, we have an average of 60-65k thoughts per day. Among them, there might be some wonderful thoughts, ideas and life lessons that we learn from our experiences on a daily basis.

You can record them in your journal. We grow as a person when we learn from our lessons. Recording them on your journal helps you to remember them more.

Another benefit, journaling sometimes gives you interesting revelations about yourself which you wouldn’t have normally thought about.

2. you can Write about your goals and measure progress

Instead of simply writing about your days, you can also use journaling to keep track of your life. It helps in planning your life as you want it to be.

You can have a goal tracker or a habit tracker drawn (or dedicate a separate section for it). And at the end of each day, evaluate how much you did accomplish.

As the saying goes,

What gets measured,  gets done.”

It helps in not losing focus on your goals and acts as a reminder of why you want to achieve a certain goal. When you write down your goals, you are committing yourself to do it. It reminds your brain that this is important for you and thus your brain causes you to notice more opportunities which help in achieving them.

Having a written plan in your journal will help you kick procrastination habit and bring more order in your life by getting things done.

Related:

3. you can Write about your desires 

As humans, we all spend some time wishing about the future; the list of things we want to do or want to have.

It can be about ideas for expanding a business, the kind of body you want to have, the places you want to go, the activities you want to check off your bucket list, the new dish you want to make etc.

A journal is a great place to jot down all these. Research has proved that what we write down we retain more. Thus, there are more chances of taking action. And you definitely want to have those wonderful experiences, right?

4. Lessons from your past experiences

Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.

Your journal is a little window to your past.

Looking back you have those memories to smile or cry or learn.

It also helps in analyzing your growth as a person. Like what made you upset years ago doesn’t even have a place in your life right now or you realize you cried over trivial things. Such things make you realize how important it is to spend your time more wisely. And manage your emotions in a new light.

You can also write about daily events, not necessarily daily, but the memorable events of your day. The ones you would like to revisit later in life.

5. journaling helps to release pent-up emotions

10 benefits of journaling and how it can change your life

Today we have all kinds of journals, planners and apps to help us do our tasks, but we are distracted more than ever because of the temptation to give in to the social media notifications. This virtual escape does not help in dealing with our thoughts and problems.

When we get overwhelmed due to our circling thoughts, we try to numb our minds by mindlessly scrolling on social media. It has become a new medium for relaxation.

But time spent on social media doesn’t always relax our minds and give focus. It gives only a distraction.

We should rely on a medium that helps us channel our thoughts onto a focused solution. You can dump your thoughts in a journal, or you can just use it for brainstorming. It helps us to clear our minds, relax and take better decisions.

When my mind is overwhelmed with difficult emotions, I do freewriting in my journal (more on this in a minute).  And I write about how to solve it, how I should approach this problem and how I should improve myself so that this doesn’t occur again (being proactive). Trust me, it is super comforting. I learn about myself more on these journaling sessions and I get actionable tips for self-improvement.

It’s like having a personal therapist.

Related: 10 best habits to have in life to take your life to the next level

6. a tool to Organize your thoughts

Another benefit I like about journal writing is, your life gets more organized. If your thoughts and to-do lists are scattered all over the place, you must try journaling. You can use any journal, what I use is a bullet journal. Starting a bullet journal has helped me immensely in having a system for my daily life. 

You can create separate sections in your journal for each area of your life. Because to evolve as a person and be a better version of yourself, you need to grow in all aspects of life. A journal is a tool where you can plan to improve.

In my journal, I write about making improvements in career, relationships, parenting, spirituality, health, exercise etc.

I have goals for each part of my life. And it will blow me away if I were to keep all those aspirations in my mind. If it is in my journal, I know I am going to do something about it (and I do!)

You can even have different journals for different subjects but I recommend using one(or two) for everything as you can take it everywhere.

 After a while, you will find that your journal turns out to be your constant companion who agrees to whatever you say, be with you in everything, gives you feedback and guards your secrets like a loyal friend.

Related: 10 bullet journal tips you must know as a beginner

7. you can Write about what  you are grateful for in life

10 benefits of journaling and how it can change your life

I cannot stress enough how important and powerful gratitude is. I first found out about it from Rhonda Byrne’s famous book “The Secret” two years ago. There are people who scorn Law of Attraction. Even I don’t believe in sitting at one place “wishing” for things to happen and hope that a magical genie would come to fulfill my desires. No! You have to move your butt and work for it. And then expect the results.

But feeling gratitude daily has changed my life.  I used to be a pessimist and would spend my days thinking about ‘lack of things’. The downside of it is, I failed to notice the good things happening in life. But when I started practicing gratitude, I found out I have more things to be happy of, than things to worry about.

Gratitude makes me ponder about the blessings I have and I never let my mind to drown in disappointing thoughts which drain the positive energy out of my day. Gratitude makes me see the good side of life, even in the most difficult circumstances.

It has really changed my life. I am happier, became more optimistic and I find more blessings come around.

For all those who want to know more about the power of gratitude, I highly recommend the book  ‘The Secret’.


You can buy the audio version here from Audible.com. (You’ll get it free along with another book if you sign up for a free 30-day trial.)

8. journaling Increases self-discipline

Self-discipline is one quality you should develop if you want to succeed in life. Successful people have one quality: they do their tasks even if they want to or not.

We all have days on which we would like to stop the alarm, pull the covers and sleep more. But showing up daily, no matter what is what going to help you create the life you want.

If you plan your days in a journal, it can be your accountability partner. Checking off the items on your list the end of the day is so rewarding and encouraging.

One of the benefits of journaling is, you are creating a habit where you are expected to show up. And self-discipline is a muscle which grows as you flex it more and more.

9. journaling helps in healing your emotional wounds

Writing is therapeutic. It also helps you to tap into your intuitions to get answers.

It is an outlet to let flow even the most difficult and painful experiences or feelings, that you might not want to tell anyone. (Though I recommend getting an expert help if there is something you can’t solve yourself). It helps in confronting the situation and finding a way out.

You get to listen to your thoughts and feelings and express them rather than creating a storm in your head going in circles.

It is powerful because when we let our feelings out, we get more emotional clarity.

10. journaling helps in problem-solving

Too often, we struggle to take action because of our fears and self-doubt.

In the primitive age, our body would produce fear to protect us from external danger ( like wild animals ). The truth is, still today, our brain triggers fear when we are about to step into the unknown. But we get engulfed in our fears without realizing there is no such potential danger.

Often we choose to stay in the safe zone, even if it doesn’t give us the happiness we deserve. We choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

But, a journal could help you in fighting your fears. And control the fear which is affecting the quality of your life.

How is it possible?

Tim Ferris, a bestselling author, and blogger teaches an exercise called “fear-setting”, in his book Tools of Titans.  He says fear setting helped him in overcoming difficult fears in life. Here is an article to learn more about fear-setting.

And also watch Tim’s TED talk(2017) on it, here.

You need not do this exercise in a journal. You can do it on a piece of paper too. But, a journal is going to be with you always and you can always refer back to it when needed.

conclusion

You have 10 reasons to start journaling today. Grab a book and start writing. If you are still unsure about what to write, you can try freewriting in the beginning.

Freewriting means writing whatever comes to your mind for a set period of time, without regard to spelling or grammar.

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Write what you are thinking right now, even if it sounds stupid. Write even if you don’t get anything to write. It can go like this.

I don’t know what to write about. Nothing comes to my mind. Right now, I’m freewriting. I think this will help me in putting my thoughts on paper. I bought a journal. In it, I will write about …….

You see often it will give you ideas that you might not have got if you stayed in your mental chatter. Freewriting is usually used to warm up writing routine when you face writer’s block. You don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or any error here. Neither should you stop to read what you wrote. Do not lose contact of your pen with paper.

You might like:

I’d like to hear about your journaling habit. How has it helped you in other areas of life? Comment below.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

10 benefits of journaling and how it can change your life

Have you ever stopped to wonder why years pass so quickly?

I have.

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.

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

1. Gratitude

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 gratitude practice in my 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.


 Examples:

  • 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.

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

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 maybe 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 the stomach and feel fear?

No one.

 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.

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

4. Journaling

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. Journaling habit has helped me a lot in bringing an order in my life. I had trouble organizing my thoughts and ideas and that’s how I started journaling. Sometimes, when I need to vent I do that also in my journal.

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 with 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.

What I prefer for journaling is a bullet journal. A bullet journal is a planner that is very flexible and customizable. Unlike traditional planners, you create monthly/weekly/daily spreads as you go along. And you have the freedom to create any spread of your preferred topic with each page of a bullet journal notebook. 

If you have been discouraged by the beautiful artsy bullet journals out there, learn how to start a simple bullet journal here. You do not need artistic skills for bullet journaling.

Related:

5. Exercise

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 breakdown.

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 help other good habits take hold.

I have found this to be true. If we exercise regularly, we would want to eat healthily and avoid junk food as much as possible. And also we get increased energy and good mood to continue with our daily chores.

Related: How to start an exercise habit that sticks

6. Reading

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 schooling gives you basic education, reading good books gives you the 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.

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

Related: 3 mistakes to avoid if you want to achieve your goals

8. Meditation

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 calmer and we can make better decisions. Starting a meditation habit is one of the best investments you could give yourself.

Read more:

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 for the negative events happening in your life, you will look for solutions. If you blame others, you give away your power and play the 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?

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

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. We waste so much of our time by looking at what’s happening in other’s lives.

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 to use the internet. Check e-mails, social media updates and do web browsing only in the allotted time. You can save so much time and have more hours in a day to do something that leads you to your goals. 

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.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Learn 10 better habits to have in life to improve your personal development journey

Unlike what many think, meditation is not meant only for the spiritual people.

Want to know how to start a meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.
Source: Benjamin Balázs- Unsplash

Instant connectivity to anyone around the world, and the ability to bring any information you want on your screens just by typing a few words onto your devices have reduced the size of our world.

But what has it done to our inner connectivity?

Are we really in sync with our inner self or just distracted every few seconds?

For most of the people, any time they take a break from an activity, their hands automatically reach for the phone. And it shows distraction to the core.

Do you want to live a more fulfilling life?

Meditation could be the key to it.

I am all for habits that can positively enhance your life and help achieve the success you deserve. And I have found that meditation is one such habit that can change your life in a dramatic way.

Let me explain what meditation is and how to start a meditation habit that can help to change your life.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

What is meditation?

Meditation is a science. It is training your mind to be still, to be conscious of the present moment and focusing inwardly by warding away the incessant mental chatter.

Even though you are awake and fully aware of your surroundings, you choose to focus inward. You do not allow your mind to let anything else disturb your focus.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Who wouldn’t want to escape the stress of daily life and experience calm?

Mastering your mind is essential to achieve success and meditation is a tool that will help.

This ancient method developed centuries ago in India, helps us to gain control of the mind and produce a sense of well-being.

Want to know how to start meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.

The benefits of meditation and how it can change your life

Ian Gowler, in his book, 48 Creative Meditations, talk about the effects of meditation as:

Meditation is a key to positive thinking. The more often and the more deeply you enter into the simple silence of profound meditation, the more you return to your natural state of balance. The more balanced you are, the more it seems you connect with your own inner wisdom and all it has to offer. This is another reason to recommend you maintain a regular practice of meditation.

There are different types of meditation. Meditation is nothing but observing your thoughts passively. You can focus on any outside object or simply observe your thoughts.

You observe your thoughts and feelings coming and go, detached from them. When you make it a daily practice, you can gradually see changes in your life as well.

You don’t react to situations as you used to. When something or someone angers you, you tend to observe your thoughts calmly.

It raises awareness of how you are feeling in a moment and stay detached from any negative feeling. But unlike common perception, meditation doesn’t make you feelingless, it simply makes you more in control of your emotions.

Often when we react in the heat of the moment, we tend to say things that we don’t mean to. And the worst thing is, we can’t take them back once they are out in the air.

Imagine how good you will feel if you can remain calm in most negative situations. Mediation gives exactly that.

Researchers have proved that meditation changes the response of amygdala (a part of the brain highly involved with different emotional responses). It has been proved before that the response of amygdala to emotional stimuli is lower when a person is in a mindful meditative state.

But this study took it further and has proved that amygdala response to emotional stimuli is lower even when a person is in a non-meditative state.

In short, meditation affects the way our brain processes emotions even when we are not meditating. It has a long-term effect on our emotional responses. It also increases immunity and slows ageing. These are enough reasons to start meditation today.

But I can hear you.

Are you saying that you don’t have enough time to meditate? Or maybe don’t know how to make it a habit.

Let me help you.

How to start a meditation habit from scratch?

If you are a person who has never meditated in life, you can start easily like this.

All you need is two things: a quiet place and 2-3 minutes. You can try this even while you are reading this, now!

Though there are different types of meditation, I am talking about mindfulness meditation here. This is what I practice and my favorite. And it is an easy one to begin with.

Are you ready?

Choose a posture you are comfortable with. You can either sit on a chair or on a cushion on the floor with folded legs. Different kinds of meditation cushions are available in the market today. But if you are a beginner I suggest sitting on a chair. You can even lie down on your back, but only if you’re sure you won’t sleep.

This infographic below will help in getting your posture right.

Want to know how to start meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.
Source: mindful.org

Now, pull out your phone or any timer and set a timer for 2 minutes.

Start focusing on your breath. Take note of each inhale and exhale. Notice how you take breaths. When your mind wanders, gently bring back your attention to breathing. No judgement here or frustration for lack of focus.

Try to stay present with your breathing, not forcefully but gently.

When you catch yourself thinking something else, acknowledge it, but don’t judge. This teaches you to observe your thoughts even when you are not meditating and helps you see things from different perspectives. And it also helps you attain that calm before reacting aggressively to different situations.

Our goal here is to be aware of whatever thought that comes to mind, not removing them.

How to make meditation a habit?

Choose a time when you can practice daily. And set a reminder to do it daily. Start with 2-3 minutes. Be consistent with the practice and slowly increase the time duration.

Choosing a small time duration will help you in establishing the habit. And also, in the beginning, you might not be able to focus for 10 minutes or more.

It is better if you choose a particular time every day and stick with it. It will help you remember the new habit.

When you are trying to form a new habit, there is a possibility of forgetting to do it. Especially if there is no cue associated with it to remind you.

I do my meditation practice right after journaling at night. So writing in my journal is my cue here.

I have been journaling for almost a year now. So it is an established habit. Thus I remember my meditation habit too. You too could associate it with some established habits like

  • Right after brushing teeth in the morning
  • Right before going to bed
  • When you reach home from work
  • Before meal

Related:

You can also keep visual reminders by writing on post-it notes and sticking on your fridge or mirror; the places you are likely to pass by daily.

There you are, you have enough information to start a meditation routine.

What are the challenges you face while meditating? Or even when trying to establish any habit? Let me know about it in the comments below.


If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Want to know how to start a meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.

 

 

Do you know one of the reasons for procrastination is fear? Here are some tips on how to stop procrastinating when you have fear.

Can you think of a valuable asset you have with you right now?

No matter where you come from, everyone is given this asset.

It’s nothing else, but time.

But, think about how we take care of it.

Are you living in a way, where each day of your life is as productive as possible?

No, I’m not suggesting you live like a robot and live only from a list. But as humans, to be successful in life, you need to plan your days and have an ongoing system to get things done.

But we tend to procrastinate on some important tasks no matter how hard we try. The reason may be deep without us realizing it. 

Laziness isn’t the only reason we procrastinate. It could be the underlying fear of failure.

Related: 8 smart tips to overcome laziness and skyrocket your productivity

Read on to find out how to beat your fear to overcome procrastination.

**This post contains affiliate links. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

Why fear makes you procrastinate? 

Fear of failure haunts you when you have one or more of the following fears.

We fear failure when we doubt our abilities. Self-doubt and lack of self-confidence lead to inaction. Even when we think it’s something we should do, we are unable to take action. We procrastinate.

As a result, many people go to their graves with their dreams buried in them.

Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul.

-Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

 How to overcome fear from killing your potential?

Take a sheet of paper and write down the most important task or goal that you tend to procrastinate. And come up with 5-10 reasons why you think you can’t do it (these are your fears).

Now for each reason, think about what can be done to solve each one. Here you get an idea on what’s causing you to procrastinate and you are identifying the solution to each problem.

You can brainstorm more and get more ideas on how you can solve each one. Google is your friend here. You can find tons of articles on solving literally whatever problem you have.

It might be learning new things about your subject, acquiring new skills, or having to figure out about setting aside more time for it.

Writing by hand is important as it gives you more clarity to your thoughts.

Here is a list of some of the fears you might be having.

1. Fear of losing time and effort if you fail

Everyone can have this fear when starting anything new.

What if all my effort goes under the drain? I would lose all the time, money and effort   I spent on it. I could spend it on something else which seems safe.

Such thoughts cause you to procrastinate and paralyze you from taking action. But how do you know what will work for you? Unless you don’t try something, you never know.

It can work or not. If it works, hurray!

But if it doesn’t, I would say it’s still better than not trying and wondering “what would happen if I had tried”. If you fail, you now know what works for you and what doesn’t. You might learn something in the process that you can use in the future.

Napoleon Hill, in his bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, says

how to overcome procrastination-Napoleon Hill quote

If you don’t try new things, you never grow. Think about being in the same place exactly a year from now.

You don’t want that, do you?

Jack Ma, the founder of Ali Baba failed many times before becoming a billionaire. He is a master of perseverance. You can be too.

2. Fear of being ridiculed

You are afraid you will make fun of yourself and you worry about what others will think. Especially if you fail, you think you won’t be able to face others.

 Truth be told, nobody gives a damn about what you do in life. Except for a handful of people. And they will always count on you no matter what happens.

Leave the rest of the people whom you worry about. Everyone is worried about their own lives and what they should do. Even our loved ones think mostly about themselves in a day.

Don’t you think it’s true?

What do you think about most in a day?

We are worried about our work, family or health. And we worry about how we come across to other people. Even if people say something about you it is their opinion, it need not be the truth.

No matter whatever you do in life there will always be people who don’t think highly of it. Everyone may not like you or your work. And you know what?

It’s okay.

They don’t need to love what you do and you don’t need everyone’s acceptance to succeed in life.

I used to worry about what people think of me all the time. The biggest breakthrough came to me when I  learned that they don’t think about me all the time. What a relief!

So forget about people. Be your own boss.

3. Fear of not being good enough/smart enough

Self-doubt can be crippling.

It prevents you from taking action, even when your heart screams you want it.

First of all, know that you are not alone in this. Everyone feels they are not good enough/smart enough at one point or the other, especially when starting something new.

Solution:

1. Acknowledge it

Let that thought come and go. Acknowledge that you have it.

The key is in not letting it overpower you. Remember everyone has it and it needn’t be the truth.

2. Analyze the thought

Think about why you have it.

It may be because you are looking at people who have had massive success in their field and comparing yourself with them.

But it is absurd.

Because you are not seeing how they reached there. They started like you, at the lowest rung of the ladder.

Everyone has to start somewhere. You polish your skills and acquire more knowledge as you go. You can never start being an expert.

3. Come up with ideas on how to solve it

Look up to your leaders with a curious mind. Learn how they made it to the top. Find out how you can do the same. At the same time don’t be intimidated by their success.

It’s when you think about only the end result, you get the fear.

Here is a task for you.

Break down your goal into simple steps.

For example, if you want to become a singer, instead of doubting your ability, think about what you can do now to pursue this goal.

As the first step,  you can join a music school and start learning and practicing.

You can surely do that.

But if you look at Beyoncé or Lady Gaga you will feel overwhelmed by thinking you can’t be them. Remember, they started like you.

Related: 3 mistakes to avoid if you want to achieve your goals

4. Fear of not having enough skills

Make a list of all the skills you need in your desired field. Read books or blogs on how to improve those skills.

In this age of instant connectivity, it should never be a problem. You have numerous courses available on any skill you want to achieve. Sign up for a course online or offline.

Build the required skills gradually, one by one. Human beings are made in such a way that we can master almost any skill with the right training and positive attitude.

Conclusion

Conquering your fears one by one is essential to stop procrastinating. Hope this article has helped to understand your fears and inspire you to take action.

What is it that you struggle with and makes you procrastinate? Please comment below.

More reading:

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and share!

Do you know one of the reasons for procrastination is fear? Here are some tips on how to stop procrastinating when you have fear.

 

You have this idea and fire in your belly.how to get motivated when starting new habits

You are sure you are going to do it and get all the necessary items.

First week goes well, second week is okay even though sometimes you doubt if it’s gonna work.

Suddenly you don’t seem to have the interest you started with. You are guilty of spending money on all those stuff.

Even though you occasionally do it, you tend to lose motivation and have lost interest.

It lies there in your to-do list or I-will-start-again-someday list.

Why does this happen?

We all want to be successful, stay fit, and have healthy habits.

But even if we take an initiative and start working on it, we sometimes lose interest. We don’t have the fire we started with.

But when you look at other people doing it consistently, you don’t think they go through this.

Let me tell you the truth.

Everyone has those days when they just don’t feel like doing it, even the most successful people.

Here, I am going to help you to take action even when you are unmotivated.

Ready to start?

How to keep yourself motivated?

Staying motivated often doesn’t need to be a power of our mind.

It’s not.

The reason you are not feeling motivated might be because you don’t have a pre-planned routine. To have a productive day and get your work done, you should have some routines or cues that trigger the desired habit.

Identify what area in your life is you are struggling to have motivation in.

It might be starting a new fitness habit, a reading habit, practising your sports/cooking skills, or anything under the sun you wanna achieve.

Even the most committed person can face this trouble from time to time. It’s human.

But one thing differentiates them from the rest of the people.

It is, they have learned how to deal with it and stick with their routine.

The problem you face is, you know what you should be doing. But you find it difficult to execute.

Difficult. Exactly. The solution I suggest is make it simple.

You see, it’s easier to start a habit than sticking to it.

Sticking to it needs your putting effort into it.

Staying disciplined.

I am gonna tell you exactly how to do it.

Do you want to start better habits, but struggle to be consistent and be motivated? What you need is not motivation, but this.

How to stick to your habits after starting them?

First of all, you should have the immense desire to improve yourself. 

I know it’s a no-brainer.

Whatever your goal is, if you really don’t want it and you are doing it just because someone else is doing it and really successful in it, the chances are you won’t be much motivated to stick with it.

You should fall in love with the idea of doing it.

But you might say you are not in love with the idea of working out. But you love that super fit healthy body, right?

You might sometimes feel lazy to practice your skills, even if it’s something you are passionate about. But you want to be the best in your field, right?

I hated every minute of training, but I said, don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”- Muhammed Ali.

Always keep the end result in your mind.

Visualize yourself having succeeded. It helps to get motivated.”

Associate cues to your desired routine.

Derek Doepker, in his book, The Healthy Habit Revolution suggests to have cues to remind you of your new habit.

For example, if you want to practice your writing skills put your pen and book somewhere it’s easy to see daily (cue). It will remind you to perform the habit.

If you want to start working out, put your running shoes near your bed before sleeping. Or, put your workout clothes where you can see in the morning as soon as you wake up (existing habit).

The key is associating cues to your existing habits.

Once you have the cues placed, start small.

In the beginning, your focus is on establishing the routine and not about getting much value.

To create a workout habit, commit to doing 5 minutes of workout a day. Or just do a warm up.

You can’t really find excuses to not do 5 minutes of an exercise a day. You can do it even while watching TV.

But you might ask who is going to benefit from a 5 minute exercise. Our aim is not to benefit from it in the beginning, but form a new habit.

These are called micro-habits or mini habits.

A mini habit is, the tiniest version of your big habits.

That is, take a big habit, make it incredibly small so that you can’t say no to doing it.

For example, if you want to start a reading habit, commit to reading a paragraph a day.

Or if you want to clean the clutter in your room, commit to put away one or two things in its place daily. Who knows, you might get in a cleaning frenzy and the whole room is shiny and bright as new.

Even if you don’t do that, don’t worry, our goal is to build a habit of cleaning the room daily.

According to a research conducted by Phillippa Lally and her colleagues, it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit, when you do it consecutively. It was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009.

But don’t worry if you miss a day or two. It can stress you out and you might think you are a failure and not try again. What you must do is get back on track as soon as possible.

Because I know when you wanna do something consecutively for two months, life can interfere and you simply might not be able to do it.

This is where practising mini habits can help you.

It’s easy to do and doesn’t take much time. But you have the sense of accomplishment that you did it.

Most of the time you would be doing it more than the intended time because you have created momentum by starting it.

And motivation follows momentum.

If you are like me, and if it’s something you really have been nurturing in your mind, you don’t wanna stop soon.

Creating a routine is more important in the beginning. Once it’s a habit, you won’t feel the need to get motivated daily.

Habits are automatic behaviors that you do on a consistent basis, once the cue/trigger goes off.

I mean you don’t need motivation to brush your teeth right?

(Or do you? I hope not!)

That’s the power of habit.

Takeaway

When struggling with motivation, remember mini habits. I bet you can’t say no to it.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Do you want to start better habits, but struggle to be consistent and be motivated? What you need is not motivation, but this. #habits

I love this quote by Octavia E. Butler.

First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice.”

It shows what role habits play in our life. There are days on which we don’t feel like taking action. But if we are successful in forming healthy habits, they can keep us going, even when we are unmotivated.

Think about it. We are creatures of habits. What do we do as soon as we get up?

Many people now reach for their phone. Or we would be going to the bathroom.

How does that instinct come to us?

Because our brain recognizes it as something we do every time a cue/trigger happens.

Knowing how habits are formed is important to form new habits and change old ones.

**This post contains affiliate links. I  may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. It helps me run this website and create useful content for you. Thank you for supporting my blog :-)**

how are habits formed in the brain

What are habits?

Habits are automatic behaviors that have been wired into our brains through repetition and as days pass, we do it less consciously.

Neuroscientists have found that there is a part of our brain called basal ganglia which is crucial for habit forming. Once a neural pathway for a habit is established in our brain, it never goes away. This is good for us since the thinking part of the brain can concentrate on other important activities.

But the downside is that our brain doesn’t recognize good habits from bad.

How are habits formed?

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains about the cycle that happens when we actually perform a habit.

  • Cue

Cue is a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use.

  • Routine

It is what you do once you get the cue. It can be physical or mental or emotional.

  • Reward

Reward helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.

For example, take the habit of checking smartphones.

You are working, in your office or kitchen. Or you are talking to someone. Your phone buzzes (cue). You reach for your phone automatically even though you know it’s a junk mail or yet another useless forward message (routine). You read it (reward). You get rewarded by the momentary distraction (craving).

How many times has that happened to you?

If your brain likes the reward, it will crave for it again when the cue appears again.

Take the case of craving for junk food.

You are driving on a highway and you are hungry. You see a McDonald’s (cue). You pull off your car and orders a burger. You eat it (routine). You get rewarded. You ate a burger even though you knew there are healthier options available in other places.

Our cravings initiate habit loop.

 Our brain remembers the outcome of each habit. It remembers the feedback. If it is positive, it acts automatically when the cue comes again. Thus, the loop is formed and the neural pathway for the habit gets wired onto our brain.

In the above case, you have eaten a McDonald’s burger before and you know the taste. Your brain remembers it and crave for it again when the cue comes again.

Cues can be anything; it can be visual (when we see something), people (when we’re with certain people we get the urge to do certain things like smoking or drinking), our thoughts etc.

The good news is that you can change any habit if you identify what you crave for. Ultimately, both good and bad habits are formed based on rewards. Once you experience the reward of doing something, you crave for it again next time the cue appears before you.

For example, once you get the adrenaline rush after a good workout session, you want to experience it again. Once you experience how coffee stimulates you, you want it more. (Warning: Too much caffeine is bad for you).

If you scrutinize your bad habits also, you can understand there is some reward you crave for.

Understanding the habit loop and replacing the routine with something better of your choice, which gives the same reward, is the key to changing habits.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

To make or break habits, you have to know how habits are formed in the brain (habit loop explained). #habits

 Related: