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Habits automate roughly 40% of your daily activities. So, if you want to change and improve your life, develop good habits. Having good habits allows you to reach your goals and objectives.
And you don’t have to make radical changes to be successful. Start small. Because big changes grow out of small ones.
What are habits
Habits are our automatic actions. These are the actions that we do each day without much thought. It is our brain’s way of conserving energy to be used on more important tasks.
Science explains that when you do something new, it will involve your brain’s prefrontal cortex. This is so you can make decisions. But when the activity gets done repeatedly, the information gets shifted to the sensory-motor loop.
Or the cue-response association. Thus, habits are formed. When this happens, your brain will no longer require active involvement.
To explain further, each of your daily actions requires a decision-making process. This depletes your brain’s energy. As such, forming habits is your brain’s way of allocating a limited resource. So you can then focus your attention on more important matters.
Importance of (good) habits
Aside from conserving your valuable energy, habits are important for the following reasons:
- They help you get closer to your goals. Having habits in place will provide a structure for you to do the things you need to do. To achieve your objectives and goals on a consistent basis.
- Habits shape you into the person you aspire to be. Developing the habits of the person you want to be will cause you to become that person.
As stated by Aristotle:
“We are what we repeatedly do.”
- Improve the quality of your life. The good habits you develop will benefit your overall health, both physical and mental.
This could be as simple as reading a few pages of a motivational book. Alternatively, you could take a few minutes to meditate. Maybe start journaling. Think about how much of a difference 10 minutes a day can make.
- Habits have more power than motivation. Because with habits, you simply do. Whereas motivation will require a lot more active participation on your part.
- Habits save time. They assist us in completing tasks with minimal thought or preparation. We just keep doing them.
How to change habits
So, now that we’ve discussed the significance of habits. How then do we change our ways? When it comes to changing habitual behavior, experts say there are three main principles to keep in mind.
One, change your environment to allow the development of new habits. It is easier to form a new habit when the triggers that cause the existing habits are removed.
If a complete change of environment, such as moving to a different city, is not possible, make small changes.
For example, if your goal is weight loss or healthy eating. Arrange your pantry so that unhealthy foods are on a higher, out-of-reach shelf. Or, processed foods are relegated to the back of the freezer rather than the front.
Two, remember that repetition is important in habit formation. According to studies, the amount of time it takes for a habit to stick varies. It can take anywhere from 15 to 254 days.
And third, build habits around visible reminders. For example, drinking water after the alarm goes off in the morning. Or preparing your work clothes before going to bed.
Reminders are useful in habit formation because they trigger the response- the habit- to be performed.
Why small habits make a big difference
“Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!”14th Century English Proverb
So does a successful life with the help of small habits- good habits. And these small beginnings can lead to great things.
Starting small may appear insignificant, but it is your foundation. And once you’ve mastered that small thing, the rest will fall into place.
Additionally, small habits-
- are easier to do and implement. There is less resistance.
- prevents overwhelm.
- generates momentum that will lead to noticeable progress.
12 small habits that lead to big changes
Here are 12 small habits you can start today that will make a big difference in your life.
Maintain a daily schedule
This provides a structure for your day. It prevents you from doing things that are not aligned with your goals or objectives.
Other benefits of maintaining a daily schedule include:
- Lower stress levels,
- Improved health,
- Improved sleep,
- Clarity and focus, and
- Promotes discipline.
Your schedule should not be too strict. Make any necessary changes, and give the schedule some time to take effect. Remember to include time for breaks.
Most successful people list reading as one of their habits. This is because reading strengthens mental muscles.
When you read, you exercise your skills in logic and comprehension. Reading also enhances your imagination and improves your memory. In addition, it aids in faster memory recall and evens out your emotions.
Devoting at least 30 minutes of your time each day to reading will result in significant changes.
Or if the term does not sit well with you, try focused thinking.
Set aside time- around 15 to 30 minutes- dedicated to processing the things that are happening in your life. This will improve your focus and concentration. Increase your self-awareness and self-esteem. Promote kindness. And helps reduce stress and anxiety.
According to studies, working out on a regular basis clears your mind and makes you feel more motivated.
Simple exercises such as walking or jogging will help improve your strength and endurance. This will lead to more energy to tackle your tasks and objectives for the day.
Get enough sleep
It is critical to forming the habit of getting enough sleep. Because sleep allows the body to repair itself and prepare itself for the next day.
Furthermore, adequate rest may aid in the prevention of excess weight gain, heart disease, and the duration of illness.
Additionally, getting enough sleep is associated with better memory function and increased creativity.
Drink water (first thing in the morning)
Drinking water first thing in the morning helps in cleansing your stomach. And will help improve your immune system.
Additional benefits of drinking water upon waking up include:
- Improves energy levels,
- Increases metabolism,
- Relieves headaches and other pains caused by inadvertent dehydration,
- Improves complexion,
- Helps in detoxification.
Add fruits and vegetables to your meals
Adding fruits and vegetables to your meals will provide your body with the nutrition it requires. This alone should convince you of the importance of this small habit.
Connect with other people
Connecting with others will benefit you physically, mentally, and professionally.
Social connections can help you regulate your emotions. Boost your self-esteem and empathy, and even improve your immune systems.
Aside from your mental health, these connections form a mutually beneficial system. In which broadening your network increases your effectiveness and usefulness in professional settings.
It is essential to develop the habit of listening, especially in today’s world. With mobile phones and social media providing distractions, building a good listening habit will be advantageous.
Listening to what others have to say strengthens relationships by encouraging mutual respect and building trust. It fosters effective communication, which leads to advancement.
Donate, sell, or throw out things that are no longer used. Free your home from clutter. And while we’re on the subject of decluttering, get rid of any unnecessary apps or images on your phone and laptop as well.
Having a space- physical and digital- free of clutter has the potential to lower stress. It improves productivity and makes tasks easier to do.
Other advantages of a clutter-free space include:
- Less stress and anxiety
- Improves clarity and focus
- Increased productivity and creativity
- Better sleep
- Better air quality
Learn something new
Aside from additional knowledge learning something new, exercises your brain. This can help improve cognitive functions. Like concentration, attention to detail, memory recall, and problem-solving.
In addition, learning something new lowers your risk of developing dementia.
Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Stop wasting your time.
Spending time scrolling social media. Going through numerous but random emails. And watching too many reality TV shows wastes your time.
So make it a habit to disconnect.
There are more important things and benefits to disconnecting from technology, even if only for a short period of time. Not to mention the positive effects on your emotional and mental health.
Here are some of the advantages of going offline:
- Increased productivity
- Better focus
- Improves relationships
So to summarize, habits are the routines that we do automatically. And they are important because it allows the brain to conserve energy that can be used for more important tasks.
In order for you to change your habits, there are three important things to keep in mind. One, change your environment even if in a small way. Two, repetition is key to habit formation. And three, visible reminders enable you to perform the habit more effectively.
Incidentally, small habits are much more effective in leading to big changes because they are easier to implement. Small changes encounter less resistance and prevent feeling overwhelmed. Also, it creates the needed momentum to progress.
Finally, the 12 habits that can lead to big changes are the following:
- Daily schedule
- Get enough sleep
- Drink water (first thing in the morning)
- Add fruits and vegetables to your meals
- Connect with other people
- Listen more
- Learn something new
Please share your thoughts or ideas about the 12 Small Habits That Can Lead To Big Changes in the comments below. If you liked this article, you might be interested in these articles about effective habits for a happy life, change, and starting over: