Since most of our behaviours are habitual, sometimes we are not aware of the effect our habits are having on us. It is so easy just to continue doing the things we do each day without even reflecting on why, what and how we are doing those things.
Having the awareness of what some of our unhealthy or unproductive habits are is the first step in replacing them with healthy and productive habits. Sometimes we become aware of them because our results are not what we want them to be, or someone makes us aware of what some of our habits are.
If we can focus on replacing unhealthy and destructive habits with new empowering habits, we will:
- Create the results we want a lot easier and faster.
- Experience less stress and overwhelm.
- Feel better about ourselves because we will be making progress towards what we want.
With so many choices and options available to us today, instead of being more motivated each day, it is not uncommon for many of us to feel sluggish or deflated.
The strange thing about motivation is that is short-lived. We can be totally motivated after an event or experience and commit to doing things differently, only to find that our motivation wanes after a period of time. The late, great motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, once said, “People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”
We can be either internally or externally motivation. They are better known as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. We all know that the more motivated we are, the more focus and energy we will give to the things we are doing. And more often than not, we do a better job when we have a high level of motivation for the things we are doing.
We all have dreams — things we want to do, experience or have in life. If we don’t have dreams, then we have no chance of a dream coming true for us.
The sad reality is only a small percentage of people actually have the courage to go after their dreams. They fall victim to circumstances, conditions and the environment, which causes them to stop pursuing their dreams.
Not only does letting go of our dreams affect us mentally and emotionally, it can also cause us to:
- Become cynical or even jealous of those who are going for their dreams.
- Check out of life, with nothing to look forward to.
- Suppress our real feelings because we are are disappointed, either with ourselves or with the world.
- Live a life without inspiration or the motivation to get ahead.
- Lose confidence in our ability to achieve the success we want.
When we think of courage, it can be quite easy to mistake it for confidence. Courage and confidence looks the same on the outside but they are not the same thing.
Confidence is a belief in our ability to do something. It is a feeling we have when we know we can do something again. Confidence is typically developed by successfully surviving risks.
Courage is our willingness to act in-spite of any uncertainty or fear we may have. It is being willing to take action despite not knowing what the outcome will be.
While both are very important in order to get the outcomes we want, it is our level of courage that will influence our level of confidence. The more courageous we are, the more confidence we will develop.
I remember when I first started my own business, a critical role was getting sales, which in my business, was finding new clients. As I was initially doing a lot of coaching work, I needed to feel confident and have the courage to get people to sign up for coaching.
One of the common things most working professionals or entrepreneurs have is that they always lack the time to do all the things they want to in any given day.
We all have so much on our plates today and being busy is like a badge of honour, which is not healthy for us over the long term. While we cannot manage time, we can manage our priorities better in relation to the time we have available.
While there are many areas we can look at in order to manage our priorities better, the area of focus in this post is our time after work. The ideas suggested here will work for busy working professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners or those who work from home.
If implemented correctly, the benefits include:
- Reduced levels of stress or overwhelm.
- Clarity of purpose and direction in what we are doing.
- Timely completion of our priorities and tasks.
- More time to focus on things that are important to us.
With the rate at which change is happening in the world right now, we are constantly having to read more and more just to keep up. In recent years, our mobile devices has made it easier and quicker to access information, when and how we want it.
Having the ability to read with greater competence and to retain what we read better is a skill that is extremely beneficial to us. The way to improve our reading skills is by adopting a regular reading practice.
The benefits of having a regular reading practice includes:
- Reading improves our vocabulary.
- Reading stimulates our brain. It is like exercise for our brain.
- Reading can help us make better, informed decisions.
- Reading can be relaxing, which will affect our mood in a positive way.
- Reading can help us connect better with others and the world in general.
It is not uncommon for our daily experiences in life to cause us to feel deflated, run down, or simply mentallyor emotionally exhausted. We all have days where we’d rather just stay in bed and not worry about doing the things we have to do on a day-to-day basis.
While it is perfectly normal to go through such phases, it can become self-destructive if we aren’t proactive and address them quickly. If allowed to go on, such periods can:
- Affect our attitude or mindset about life.
- Cause us to become pessimistic instead of optimistic.
- Reduce our motivation to get things done.
- Cause us to feel unhappy or even depressed.
- Make us believe life will always be this way and not have any to look forward to.
From time to time, it is quite normal to feel that we are not progressing as quickly as we would like or that we are stuck in some area in our lives. When we’re in such a state, it can be very easy to get frustrated with ourselves or others, and not be at our best.
The good news is that we can quickly and easily snap ourselves out of such a state by reminding ourselves of things that are actually going well for us. There are always signs we’re on the right track even if we feel we are not progressing or moving as fast as we would like.
When we feel we’re stuck, there are a number of consequences, which include:
- Lower motivation to do things to move forward.
- Unhealthy thoughts which will affect how we feel and how we act.
- Being in a bad mood which can also frustrate people around us.
- Reduced confidence in our ability to achieve what we want.
- Delay in getting the results we want.
At a stress management workshop I once attended, a participant asked if there was a difference between feeling stressed and experiencing anxiety. While both terms are often linked with each other and also used interchangeably, they are not the same.
Stress is our body’s way of reacting to an event, experience or situation that causes a physical, mental or emotional change. Stress is typically triggered by negative situations or is often viewed as a negative response to something.
Anxiety, on the other hand, is used to describe nervousness, fear, unease or worry. It is often triggered by imagining a future negative outcome that we don’t believe we can control or avoid.
A good way to remember the difference between the two is stress is how we react to something happening now, whereas anxiety is how we react to something that we believe is going to happen in the future. Our mindset or attitude about life will determine whether we have an optimistic or pessimistic view of our future.
Our habits define who we are and they’re responsible for all of our results. If we want to improve the quality of our results, it starts with developing new, empowering habits.
All of us have an internal drive and desire to be happy. Whether it is in the work we do, the people we interact with, or how we choose to spend our time, we all want life to be fun, joyful and exciting. We also want to experience a sense of peace, which comes when we have less stress and don’t feel overwhelmed.
The bad news about habits is they can be hard to form because it requires us to do things on a consistent basis that we have not done previously. Most times, it is easier to go back to what we were doing previously and not try to consistently do something new. Just think of New Year’s resolutions — most people will abandon them within the first month of setting them.
The good news is that with a little discipline and commitment, developing new habits will reap many benefits in the short and long term. Some of these benefits include:
- Feel a lot better mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Choose to do things that will enhance our daily experiences.
- Improve the quality of our relationships.
- Make better decisions.
- Experience more joy and happiness.