Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
I feel like sometimes there’s a negative connotation surrounding habits. It seems like a lot of habits limit us … like the weekend Netflix binge-watching habit, or the snacking when I’m not even hungry habit (guilty!).
However, there are a lot of underrated habits — ones that are great for us. After a recently new fascination with habits, and how they shape the kind of people we become, I wanted to share 10 habits of mine, that I believe are positive and have shaped who I am today.
1) Writing everything down
Anybody who knows me will get this, I write literally everything down. I find that life has to many moving pieces to possibly remember every detail. If you can, that’s amazing and I’m jealous of your superpower. But, for the average being, writing things down, even if I think I’ll remember it, has made a huge difference in my productivity and dependability.
The negative – I go through pens and sticky note pads like nobody’s business.
2) Finishing things long before they’re due
Procrastination has luckily never been a challenge for me. I find that the sooner I finish something, the sooner the weight is off my shoulders and I can start on something else. Proactivity allows me to have more freedom with when I finish things, rather than having to sit down the night before a due date and be chained to a desk until I finish it.
I think it’s interesting to note here that this is an example of a habit that builds on itself. Finishing things proactively, rather than procrastination, lets me have the time to finish something else sooner, and then something else. The hardest part about procrastination is that once you get in the habit of pushing something off until the deadline, it will likely be harder and harder to get caught up afterwards.
3) Being intentional when solving conflicts
Have you ever found yourself fighting to win rather than come to a resolution? That’s a habit. And a lot of people struggle with it, including me. Recently, when I find myself in a situation with differing opinions, I ask “what’s the real goal here?”. Proactively thinking about what I want out of the conflict, and intentionally guiding the conversation towards my goal simply makes for better and more productive arguments.
4) Focusing on the end goal
This one kind of builds off the last, but when I find myself struggling or overly stressed, I take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. Is this really necessary for where I’m trying to go? Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in the journey, rather than the destination. And while it’s important to enjoy the ride, I always try to keep in mind my end goal, and make sure that I’m still on the right path.
5) Staying inspired by my current project
I’ll have to admit, this one is a bit hard for me. I’m a dreamer. I’m great at thinking of my next project, but then I find myself losing the inspiration and drive for what needs my immediate attention. When I find my inspiration waining for what I’m working on, I try to spend at least 30 minutes refocusing, dreaming, and rebuilding my vision for what’s in front of me.
6) Always being open to growth and learning
I once heard someone say “Boredom is for the weak”. And while I think it’s a bit harsh, it does hold a bit of truth. There’s some element of boredom that shows a lack of desire to grow. If you have the time to be bored, think of the millions of other things you have time for and ways you can challenge yourself. Building a habit of finding new ways to grow myself, skills, and knowledge has helped me learn way more than I would have if I had settled for simply saying “I’m bored.”
7) Listening to those around me
This one might be a bit obvious, but making a habit of really listening to what people tell me. I have learned an immense amount from the words of those wiser, younger, and in the same stage of life as myself. Finding outstanding mentors and surrounding myself with people that think critically about life has opened my eyes tremendously.
8) However, taking advice with a grain of salt
Sometimes people don’t tell you that not all advice is good advice. I’ve learned to not always fall into what other people expect, suggest, and want me to do. There are definitely times to follow the rhythm of the crowd, but I also know when to march to the beat of my own drummer.
9) Finding what I enjoy, and doing it
Simple enough. Also, figure out what you don’t enjoy, and change it.
10) Getting a lot of sleep, and drinking a lot of coffee
Hands down, there are two simple things that make me a lot of who I am. Keeping myself healthy, happy, and caffeinated have been essential to every piece of success. You probably don’t want to see me on days that I don’t have these two.
Maybe you have some similar habits to me, maybe you don’t. But the best thing you can do is to find the positive habits in your life and focus on growing them.