The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (the one online) has many definitions for the word “habit”. Let’s look at a couple of them.
A settled tendency or usual manner of behavior.
An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.
Habits. They’re tricky. They can be so small that you forget you even do them or they can be so crucial to your daily routine that you can’t leave the house without getting certain things done. What is kind of ironic to me, is that some of the smaller, more mundane are actually the ones that can be the hardest to break. We think that because it’s such a small part of our day, that it doesn’t really matter if we change it.
But just like making each day 1% better than the day before can lead to huge, positive, life changing results, getting stuck in a handful of small bad habits can lead to a lot of unnecessary stress and procrastination.
So let’s take a look at 5 habits that almost all of us are or have been guilty at some point and why that habit could be hurting you.
Hitting the Snooze Button
In a podcast from coach and gym owner, Ben Bergeron, he simply stated that by hitting the snooze button, you are starting your day with procrastination. That really hit home for me. Sure, you can make the day better from there, but what a negative, unproductive way to start the day when you think of it that way. And to be honest, it’s not like the sleep you get between your alarm at 5:25 and 5:30 is quality and going to be a game changer for your day. It’s totally mental. Then, worst case scenario happens and you miss your 4th alarm altogether and end up rushing out the door, maybe even on the phone apologizing to someone about being late. It is a 0% fun way to start your day that way and brings us to habit numero dos.
Being Chronically Late
Life happens. I get that. Unfortunately because our days are full of so many variables out of our control, we will inevitably be late now and then. But if you are one of those people whose friends lie to you about the time of an event and say it’s at 6, when it’s actually at 7… that’s kind of a problem. It may seem like a running joke, but it shouldn’t be funny. While it is so important to be independent and grounded in your beliefs, we absolutely need the support of those around us. And time is the absolute most precious good we all have. When you abuse that and are late, you become disrespectful of other people’s time. And eventually your relationships will start to suffer because of this. So of course things happen, there’s traffic, kids get sick, YOU get sick, but planning and being someone who people can count on to be somewhere when they say they will is something you can’t put a price on. And THAT leads us to the 3rd habit. (Don’t you like how this all works out. Even I am pleased as punch with how this is working out.)
Getting Mad in Traffic
If you have road rage, me mentioning that it might not be a super positive thing may already be making you angry. But ultimately, you are wasting energy on something that is out of your control. Someone cut you off? That has nothing to do with you. But your reaction, your wasted energy yelling in the car is something you can control. It’s like getting mad at the weather. Or that your 10 year old refrigerator is on the fritz. That negative reaction is draining, it takes a lot more energy to be angry than almost anything else. So next time someone cuts you off or you get angry stuck in traffic or behind the train, take the advice of Aaron Rodgers and R-E-L-A-X. I’m not saying it’s easy, but imagine how much more relaxed you would be if you used that as an excuse to throw on your favorite podcast or listen to some music you know you like. Unfortunately I have no clever lead in, so I’ll just tell you it’s time to head to our fourth habit.
Leaving Dishes in the Sink
So this one is just kind of gross. But I could have replaced it with something like, not folding clothes. Or even leaving clothes in the washing machine too long. It’s more the idea that once again, you are procrastinating. You are taking a simple task, that doesn’t take a lot of time, and putting it off. And if you leave the dishes in the sink, why wouldn’t you leave other things like laundry to build up? It’s something that has a snowball effect. And when dinner is ready and you have no plates to eat on and nowhere to put the dirty dishes, you have added stress to your day that wasn’t there before. This can also remind us not to do things halfway. And now, stay fastened in your seats, because we are headed to habit #5.
Watching TV Before Bed
So I could start this by going into the science of why the light from your TV (or any electronic device) is bad before bed, but just know that it is. It leads to crummy sleep. Then from the perspective of someone who deals with some pretty bad anxiety, leaving the TV on also makes it easier for my mind to remain on. Even if the Princess Bride is on, a movie I can quote word for word, it is almost like a hall pass to let my mind wander. “Oh, Miracle Max just said something about not working for Humperdink anymore. Work. I am already stressed about a meeting at work tomorrow.” It may sound insane, because it is, but now my mind has not settled and the likelihood of me drifting off anytime soon is slim to none. Sleep is one of the 3 pillars (in my opinion) of wellness, and having crappy sleep routines can be incredibly damaging physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Changing our habits, either one at a time, or each one little by little can create a cascade of positive changes. And by tackling one at a time, committing to it, and giving it that 1% extra effort, you find yourself suddenly in a much better place. It’s a domino effect that can change your life for the better.
That’s why we run the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge the way we do. We take 6 weeks to focus on habits (1 new habit each week) and give people the tools to make them better. It’s about bringing self-awareness to your actions and trying to put forth just a little more effort. In the challenge, we reward members just for participating. It’s fine if you don’t get to click the green button that says you spent 7 hours in your bed. But by still clicking the red button, you are aware.
Whether in the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge or just in your daily life, take a step back. Try to find one thing to work on and actually work on it. What if you committed to doing 1 small thing better for a month? I bet by the end of the month, not only would it now feel like a new habit, but I bet you could also take a step back and find all the other ways your life has benefited from it.
To learn more about the Eat Clean, Live Clean Challenge, head HERE!
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