Become mindful of the patterns that sabotage you.
Habits can be a huge asset, freeing up energy and time better utilized elsewhere, while still accomplishing repetitive tasks that need to get done.
However, habits can also work against us when they launch us into non-productive patterns on autopilot.
I’ve been training my body to get up even earlier than usual. This is quite a feat for me since I’m not naturally an early riser.
My worthy goal was to carve out additional time for key disciplines I felt would establish my day better from the onset. I had visions of feeling powerful, prepared, accomplished, and ready to tackle my daily goals by the time most others are stumbling into the kitchen for coffee.
I knew myself enough to recognize I needed a way to get moving even when remaining snuggled in the covers with a purring cat was the preferred course of action in the moment.
Enter my cellphone. It sits on my nightstand, functioning as an alarm.
I reasoned that if I allowed myself to check social media notifications when the alarm went off, the bright light from the screen and mind candy of scrolling would make waking up less jarring and help me feel alert quicker.
Well, it did accomplish that, however, it sabotaged me in the bigger picture because now I was staying in bed even longer than before looking at silly memes!
What’s worse, after so many repetitions of this behavior, it had become an autopilot habit of reaching for the phone and getting sucked into the social media vortex before I was even cognizant of what I was doing!
Can you relate?
Maybe it’s a pattern you’ve established at work that puts you behind and scrambling all day.
Or perhaps it’s what you do the minute you get the kids off to bed.
What started out seemingly innocent enough has devolved into a mindless pattern, robbing you of productivity or authentic refreshment, sapping your resources on trivial things as your hearts-desire goals remain out of reach.
We have habits of activities, but we also have habits of thinking, responding, relating, behaving, spending, and more!
Rarely do we stop to examine our habits or commit ourselves to what it takes to extinguish the wrong ones and ignite the right ones.
What if you became the master of your habits instead of them mastering you?
You can literally recreate your life and position yourself to step into successes you didn’t think were possible, but it won’t happen by accident.
You must be deliberate about this.
Here’s a big picture view of what the process looks like:
Keep a log in 30-minute increments for 3 consecutive days to observe your activities, or thoughts, interactions with others, and so on. Basically, any area of life you want to become mindful about.
This can be as simple as creating a few columns in a spiral notebook.
Label each vertical column with the category you’re tracking and each horizontal line representing your designated time increment.
Use the timer feature on your phone to monitor the time.
At the end of the week, look over what you’ve documented to identify patterns. For most of us, this is a real wake-up call.
Pick one habit that needs to go. Don’t just make it go away and leave a vacuum though or you’ll wind up sliding back into the same pattern, or worse.
Instead, overwrite it with something more useful.
Pick one habit to add and create a structured strategy to support it and keep you accountable.
You’ll find it helpful to first think in terms of positive routines.
Routines are actions we do in a repeatable order until it becomes automatic to us. Once we take the first action it triggers the next, then the next.
Decide what your positive routines will be, get those to autopilot mode, then group them together to create a series of habits that impact multiple dimensions of life.
Though you may have some habits so entrenched they’re hindering your true potential, by taking the right steps you can start experiencing real change in as little as 10 days!
You can establish the right rituals, routines, and habits that are foundational to success in multiple dimensions of life.
It’s easier than you think when you’re strategic about it.
Which area do you need help with? Discover, Extinguish, or Ignite?
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