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Little Habits That Can Change Your Life, and How to Develop Them

Jackie Lee Agnew

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”  Aristotle

Life is so stressful and we all have hundreds of things on the go.  Add to that Facebook, Twitter, email and cell phone us – many of us are now on call 7days a week, from sun-up to sun-down.  How can we make life easier?  Would you leave the cell phone downstairs at night or shut off during dinner? Would you take a break from Facebook?  I have written down some of the habits that I am practicing to help recreate my life. I hope you enjoy them.

If you could pick one or more new habits in the next few months, habits that would have the most impact on your life, what would they be?  I ask most of my coaching clients this question at one time or another.  I believe it’s the most popular coaching question because people get overwhelmed when it comes to making positive life changes.

It’s not an easy question.  There are so many changes I’ve gone through, personally – from eating healthier and exercising, to simplifying my life, to reducing my debt, and many, many more.  And at one time or another they’ve all seemed life changing, and they’ve all seemed important.  So I’ve made a list of the first habits I would I would try for 6 months to help change my life.

If you develop these habits you will do pretty well and will have made some positive changes in your life.

How to Develop New Habits

  • Give yourself 30 days and focus on just one habit per month.
  • Write them out, along with motivations, obstacles and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully.
  • Journal your progress.
  • Have support for when you stumble.
  • Reward your successes.
  • If you fail, figure out what went wrong, plan for it and try it again.

Life Changing Habits

  1. Think Positively.  I put this one first because I think it’s the foundation to help you form all other habits.  Positive thinking won’t ensure success, but it will motivate you to carry on.  Focus on this habit first.  Start by becoming aware of your negative self talk-do a little tally sheet through the day, marking down each time you notice a negative thought.  Soon you’ll notice them and squash them.
  2. Exercise. I gained over 35 lbs in the last year and I finally started an exercise and healthy eating routine.  Exercise will change your life. How you may ask?
    • It makes you feel better about yourself and more confident
    • It reinforces the positive thinking habit
    • It relieves stress and gives you time to think
    • It helps with creativity.
  3. Keep focused.  Forget multitasking. Focus on one task at a time and you’ll be more effective and get more done.  It’s hard to achieve important things if you’re constantly switching tasks and are distracted by other things.  You’ll be less stressed and happier throughout your day.
  4. Eliminate the non-essential. First identify the things that are most important to you, that you love the most.  Then eliminate everything else.  This simplifies things and leaves you with the space to focus only on what’s essential. This process can be used for life in general, with work projects and tasks, with emails and other communications.
  5. Kindness. Yes, Kindness is a habit.  Focus on being kind every day for one month and you’ll see profound changes in your life.  You’ll feel better about yourself as a person.  People will react differently to you and treat you better in the long run.  It’s Karma.How do you develop kindness?  Try doing something nice for someone each day.  Secondly, when someone or something irritates you, try responding kindly. Treat them the way you would like them to respond to you in same situation.
  6. 6. Daily routine. It’s so simple, but creating a daily routine for yourself can make a big difference in your life.  I’ve found that setting a routine for the start and end of the day benefits me the most for both workday and personal time.  It ensures a great start and end to the day and when I finish the day prepared for the next it feels so good.

So why not give some of these new habits a try…I hope you do and that you will feel as good as I have in putting these habits into practice.


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