The quality of your daily experience is directly impacted by your habits. A habit is a conditioned pattern of behavior. In many instances, habits become conditioned to the point of automation. Under these circumstances, it’s not uncommon for you to engage in habituated behavior without even thinking about what you’re doing.
One Thing to Think About
Your habits shape your life. To improve the quality of your life, improve the quality of your habits by replacing poor habits with more empowering alternatives. Shifting your behavior to a new pattern allows you to condition your new habit, instead of resisting your old one.
For example, replace the habit of cynicism and seeing what’s broke with a habit of noticing and acknowledging the abundance in your life. Or replace the habit of pessimism with the habit of possibility—of looking for ways to make your situation work, searching out resources, and owning the personal actions you can take to contribute to the situation. Or replace the habit of staid seriousness with the habit of lighthearted playfulness.
One Question to Answer
To identify your habits and evaluate where you might want to shift your behavior, answer the following questions for both your habits of thought and your habits of action.
- What habits hold you back or decrease the quality of your life?
- What do you say to yourself when you indulge these patterns?
- What kind of situations trigger them?
- What habits would serve you better?
One Challenge to Take
Draw a line down the center of a sheet of paper or an index card. Write each of your old habits on the left side of the page or card. On the right side, write the new habit you want to shift to, next to the old habit you want it to replace.
Select one habit to start with. For the next four weeks, catch yourself each time you begin to move into your old pattern and immediately replace it with the new one. A new habit can be conditioned in as little as twenty-one days. Make your commitment and vigilantly hold yourself to it. Not only will you experience a surge of confidence as a result of your dedication, you’ll also begin to enjoy happier days. Shifting your behavior to your new pattern allows you to condition your new habit, instead of resisting your old one.
The quality of your life increases when your habits improve. Be willing to take a good look at your patterns. We all have habits that need to shift. Don’t beat yourself up about where you are. Instead, look forward. Start small and make your changes one habit at a time. Our greatest journeys begin with one single step, and the most amazing lives are built one habit at a time.