Over the last year, as the pandemic disrupted our lives many of us have been re-organizing our routines, habits, and lifestyle to adjust to remote work, etc. In that period, you may have had to form new habits and if you’re like me also re-train yourself to have discipline for things like self-care, working out without a gym, and eating healthy. (I’m still on this journey, by the way). In the midst of all this, I’ve been studying and practicing different methods of habit formation. And today, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way.
🤔 Quote That Has Me Thinking: “Don’t expect to be motivated every day to get out there and make things happen. You won’t be. Don’t count on motivation. Count on Discipline.” – Jocko Willink (author of “Discipline Equals Freedom” and retired U.S. Navy SEALS officer
💪🏼 What I’ve Learned About Habits:
- The most important habits are wellness and self-care habits. Read that again. When you show up at your worst at work or with your teams, I guarantee it’s because your wellness needs are not being met (physical, emotional, spiritual). Rather than beat yourself up about mistakes, get curious about how you can take better care of yourself so you can show up at your best and contribute meaningfully. This is an area worth investing routines into.
Here’s an example: how often do you take time to focus on your breath? Not just through meditation but during times of stress and anxiety? Did you know that most people breathe too much? Did you know that breathing through your mouth is one of the worst things to do, even when you’re working out? Learn more here about the proper ways to train your breath to optimize your overall wellness and significantly improve your health.
- Habits tend to stick better when you’re doing it for a bigger purpose. If you are trying to create new habits purely for yourself (ex: weight loss), it’s less likely to stick in the long-term. If you are trying to create new habits to serve others, it is more fulfilling and likely to stick.
In the example above on self-care, it’s definitely about self-love and self-compassion but the bigger purpose is really to be able to be at your best to serve others. Whether it’s your team members, your kids, your family, or your clients, helping others meaningfully requires you to have your needs met first. Otherwise, you’re one week away from burnout or probably not feeling a lot of joy in your day-to-day.
- Having some skin in the game helps. I have found that putting some kind of investment into your habit formation goes a long way so that you have some skin in the game.
There are tools like Stickk.com that allow you to donate to anti-charities if you breach your habit formation goal for a day. This was by far the most effective way I was able to build better sleep habits with my exec coach. Other methods include paying for a service or an app that will incentivize you to put in the effort (it would have to be just enough $ to be a bit painful to pay).
Are you in search for some healthy habits inspiration? Here’s an easy list to choose from:
- Sweating / exercising for 45 minutes every (other) day
- Cutting off screen time 1 hour before your bed time and using that time to meet one of your unmet needs of the day (quality time with a loved one or pet, stretching, journaling, gratitude practice, relaxing hobbies, etc)
- Morning breathwork exercises (Wim Hof 11 minute practice here)
- Sending a personaized thank you message to someone each day as part of active gratitude practice
- Intentionally doing one act of kindness for someone else each day, however big or small
- Guided meditation
- Nature walks
- Mindful eating (learn more here)
👉🏼 My challenge to you this week: The purpose of habits and discipline is to help you operate at your peak potential. Identify areas in your life that could use a bit more discipline in service of showing up at your best and serving others better. Get curious about how you could make that part of your life a little easier with some better routines in place. Use the tips above for inspiration, and reach out if you want to bounce some more ideas with me.
💆🏻♀️ My Self-Care checklist score this week: 80%. Please prioritize your self-care with me this week.