Habits, bad ones are easy to form but difficult to break, while good ones are difficult to build but easy to break.
We all have habits, good and bad. They define who we are, how we approach things and tell us much more about ourselves than we realise.
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. Telling yourself you’re going to be a better person because one digit has changed is not going to work.
You need to look into yourself and decide what you’re happy with, what you’re not content, and what you want to improve, irrespective of any arbitrary dates.
Good habits, when fully formed, can have a massive impact on your life.
You can transform yourself, and do things you never thought you could accomplish.
None of us are special, some of us just have better habits than others.
Develop the right habits, and the sky is the limit!
Waking Up Early
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” — Benjamin Franklin
I used to dread waking up early. The thought of getting up at 7 am for school or work used to fill me with my dread.
The worst part was my body clock adapted to the cycle quickly. I would normally wake up at around 6:45 am. Instead of getting up, I would just lie in my mind, wishing the minutes away, praying they would last an eternity, so I wouldn’t have to get out of bed.
This mentality is ridiculous!
I like to sleep as much as anybody, but spending an inordinate amount of time in bed is a waste of your life.
Waking up early has numerous benefits. If you get up at 4:30–5 am, you’re getting a head start on everyone else.
By the time they have woken up, you will have already completed some of our tasks, setting your day up perfectly.
You also have the added benefit of working while everyone else is asleep. Ensuring you can focus on your work without any distractions.
It’s no surprise most successful businessman, wake up early. Tim Ferriss, says those that win the morning, win the day.
By waking up early, you’re taking control of your day and setting yourself up for success.
“Those who think they have no time for healthy eating, will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” — Unknown
Recently, I have made a few changes to my diet. I’ve not been happy with what I’ve been eating for a while, and I wanted to do something about it.
I decided to stop eating red meat altogether, cut back on the amount of meat I eat in general, and introduce more fruit and vegetables into my diet.
I feel less bloated when I finish a meal. I feel more alert and much more responsive than I did before.
A lot of us make New Year resolutions to start eating healthily, but we end up falling back into the same routine over and over again.
I understand. It’s simply too easy in this day and age to eat unhealthily. The wealth of options we have available to us is staggering.
Choosing sugary snacks over a salad is simply more appealing. I mean you never see adverts for salad, do you!?
However, if you do this consistently, it will catch up with you in the long-run. Our bodies were not designed to gorge on sugar and plates piled with meat.
Taking a step back, looking at what we are putting into our bodies, and asking ourselves if it’s beneficial for our bodies, is the least we can do in 2018.
Eating healthier will not only make you feel better about yourself, but you’ll also look better too!
After all, we are what we eat.
Get Back Into Your Body
“The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy.” — Kenneth H. Cooper
Our bodies are delicate systems. If you treat them right, they will pay you back over the years.
However, if you neglect your body, it will progressively slow down and function poorly.
Modern life isn’t kind to our bodies.
They weren’t designed for 9 to 5 life.
They were designed to be sat at a desk all day.
They were designed to lie on a couch and watch Netflix.
They are designed for movement. They are designed to run, climb and jump. They are a finely tuned tool that craves exercise.
We did not evolve to be sedentary. It’s the opposite of what our bodies are designed for.
You don’t have to go crazy and run 10 miles every day! But, by simply making time for an hour of exercise every day, you will start to see improvements in your physical and mental health.
You only get one body, make sure you take care of it!
“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” — Mina Murray, Dracula
Keeping a journal has been one of my best decisions of recent times.
I used to think journaling was a waste of time. Why would I need to write down my thoughts? What’s the point in that? Last year, I struggled with anxiety on and off. I went from never having a panic attack in my life, to having multiple ones in a few weeks.
It all happened so fast, it was a blur. I didn’t know what had hit me. At first, I was overwhelmed, I didn’t know how to cope.
I read on the internet, keeping a journal would be a good way to combat my anxiety. I was curious, how could writing my feelings down help me!?
Well, it helped a lot!
Whenever I find myself becoming anxious, I flick through my journal and read what I wrote when I felt anxious previously.
Knowing that I have experienced the feelings before and that nothing bad happened, relieves my anxiety.
I don’t let my mind rule my body. I’m able to draw on my past experience to centre myself in the present.
Another benefit of journaling is it helps me come up with more ideas.
I would often find myself thinking up great ideas for blog posts, posts on Medium and improvements in my life, only to lose the thought as quickly as it entered my mind.
By writing down the thoughts and ideas that pop into my head, I’m capturing them instead of letting them disappear. I can then look back and decided which ones I want to act upon, and those I want to discard.
Journaling may seem like a trivial activity, but it can be a powerful tool if implemented correctly.
Don’t Forget To Play
“Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning.” — Diane Ackerman
You’re probably reading this and wondering, “What does he mean by play!?”
Let me explain:
Humans love games. We all love to play any number of games, be it chess, pool or poker, we love to play.
When we play, we are removing ourselves from thoughts about work, about our anxieties, about our future.
Play is an intrinsic part of human life. We do it when we are young, we continue to do it throughout our lives. It helps us to bond with each other. It’s an outlet for our creativity, and it helps us to relieve stress and anxiety.
We crave opportunities to play. It’s why so many of us are hooked on video games. When you deprive humans of play, that’s when things start to go downhill.
There is a relationship between the lack of play and depression. Our emotional and mental health deteriorates as a result.
In this fast-paced world, it can be easy to forget to play. We are too wound up with stress from work, and our home life to make time to play.
Yet, if we all played more, our mental well-being would significantly improve.
In 2018, set more time aside to play and be creative. You will start feeling all the better for it.
“Meditation is the only freedom from stress, tension, and anxiety.” — Sadhguru
I used to think meditation was something only Buddhist monks did.
I was wrong. Very wrong.
Suffering from anxiety, I was recommended to try meditation as a way of dealing with my anxious thoughts.
At first, I thought there was no way it would work. What good would sitting still, closing my eyes, and breathing in and out do!?
A lot, as it happens!
Meditation is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It relaxes you, centres your mind and body.
I feel a lot calmer, and more in control of my thoughts. I no longer allow anxious thoughts to overwhelm me.
Meditation increases your self-awareness. You are sat by yourself for 5 to 10 minutes with nothing but your thoughts. There is no running place. You learn to deal with and accept your thoughts as they race through your mind.
The more you meditate, the more focused and happier you’ll feel. You’re checking in with yourself every day, keeping up to date with any changes in your well-being.
For only five minutes a day, it’s a no brainer!
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” — George Bernard Shaw
Despite being a travel blogger, and spending the majority of the past 5 years in different places, I still struggle with change.
I’m not alone.
Most of us try to avoid change as much as possible, favouring stability over constant upheavel. There is only one problem with this mindset.
Stability is a myth.
Things are always changing, it is the only constant in our lives. Things always, it’s guaranteed. Instead of running from change and fearing it, you have to learn to embrace it.
Change is good. It can be a sign you’re developing, a sign you’re improving. Sometimes, change can be forced upon us, and we just have to accept it and adapt.
Look at it this way, would you still like to be your 16-year-old self? Probably not. You might have been awkward, self-conscious and unwise. We have all changed from this state and become better versions of ourselves.
If you approach with the mindset of using it you improve yourself, you will deal with it immeasurably better.
We are all going to experience change throughout our lives, the earlier we accept this state of affairs, the happier we will be.