“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Everywhere you look there are pages and articles that say something like “these 5 daily habits will change your life”or “do these things everyday for a healthier life”. And so you read them and they’re all like Get Up Early! Drink Water! Cut Out Sugar!, which is all well and good (and probably things we should all do), but suddenly changing your entire daily routine straight away… realistically its never going to work.
You have to pick habits that work for you, write them down, and focus on them internally and externally. More importantly if its something you want to give up, be aware that sacrifice rarely works. Dropping a habit that is ingrained in your daily life is hard work, and being able to forgive yourself if you slip up is essential.
Developing new habits however small can help us to grow in so many ways. It allows us to step outside our comfort zones, becoming more creative and open up new pathways. Think of it like a butterfly effect. For the last few months I’ve slowly worked some habits into my daily routine. The three most important have been journalling, positive thinking and multitasking less often – I won’t go into these in depth now, they can be saved for a later post, by they have impacted my life in massive ways.
Now these things are pretty much solid in my daily life, I decided to move onto a new challenge. At the beginning of the week I hadn’t actually decided what it was going to be, only that I wanted to drop a few habits. As the days went on these were the three main things that I felt like I needed to change.
- Cutting down chocolate intake.
- The fact that I touch my face ALL THE TIME.
- Checking my phone every 8-10 minutes.
I won’t give a day-to-day report on my success here – Yes I did eat a creme egg on wednesday and yes I forgive myself – but what I can say is that this week has felt like one of the easiest yet most productive weeks maybe of my adult life so far. I somehow got up before 6am everyday, getting in an hours yoga practice before 8am, and I wrote the last 2000 words of my dissertation, went to all my classes at uni, and went to work. My success with dissertation writing can probably be directly linked to not looking at my phone, which proves just how much of a distraction it can be (imagine our potential if we checked it only a few times a day!).
I theorised that the week, despite how busy it was, felt so easy because I was more in charge of my own mind. What I mean by this is, because I was consciously focusing on changing little habits, I was telling my mind exactly what to do rather than being led by it. As an example… how often are you driving and suddenly realise you haven’t been concentrating on the road but rather taking the directions through habit whilst your mind is thinking about something entirely different. This is being led by your mind.
Because I was focusing on things that I often do without thinking, my mind was less likely to wander into random thought without me directing it (i.e omg this week is so long, I can’t wait to go home, I wonder whats going on on facebook etc etc). This meant that what had the potential to be a stressful week, was actually enjoyable and energising. And now I’ve got to the end of it, I’m happy about how proactive I’ve been.
For a lot of us, although we want change (to lose weight, keep a diary, exercise), change = fear or sacrifice. This is why so many of us fail when trying to alter part of our lives.. However, focusing on changing the small things – one thing at a time – can keep us in tune with our minds, making us more creative and playful. It allows us to expand by stepping outside our comfort zones, and starts a ripple into greater positive life changes without us even noticing.