Examples to illustrate why healthy habits are important
Habit-Setting Example 1
You wake up at 5 am because people say the habit of waking up early enhances productivity. You make your coffee feeling annoyed. While yawning and with natural reluctance, do you open your laptop? You are already trying to have this early wake-up routine for half a year. The fatigue is apparently not improving. Maybe hanging out with friends at the bar down the road was not that smart of an idea yesterday evening.
Habit-Setting Example 2
Uncomfortably you put yourself in a cross-legged position. You rush to put your hands on your knees, close your eyes and start counting your first 3 deep breaths in. Five minutes into your meditation session, you still feel tense. Maybe I should have followed the advice of others to find a more dynamic way to find calmness. The hyper-active person I am does maybe not really fit a meditation practice. But yeah… shut up. Let’s continue. You can do this!
Do you recognize that you want to set habits, but despite the relentless effort exerted, it seems like you’re not able to set them well? Sure… setting new habits that will set you up for the life that you envision, is tough. But it is mainly difficult if you set habits that do not fit your character, state of mental/physical health and/or your personal life.
A lot of us are not unwilling to develop personally, but setting the wrong habits impedes and demotivates us from growth to our full potential. This would never happen if you would have chosen healthy habits. Especially nowadays, in this turbulent 21st century, healthy habits are imperative.
Why should we set healthy habits?
We are all most definitely aware of the indispensable value of setting habits in achieving our goals. Habits actually act as the fundament of life towards your goals. Habits pin a neural pattern in your brain enabling you to behave towards your goals. By setting the habit of brushing your teeth, you do not have to practice mental effort to do this task in the morning.
The same counts for all other habits. If you want to set a habit to go for a morning walk, it will be a struggle in the beginning, but eventually, it will become a pattern and an automatism. After a while, you automatically put on your hiking shoes when you wake up and you leave to embrace the morning air while enjoying your morning walk.
How does your brain set habits?
Setting habits is important to reach our goals, resulting in the life we want. Imagine your brain being an effort dispenser that is able to dispense 100 units of effort a day. When you set a habit, you have to use some units of your effort dispenser. But once you have set the habit, the desired now set habitual behavior doesn’t require effort anymore and you can save your units for other efforts during the day. Because you only have 100 effort units a day, you want to use these effort units carefully.
By setting habits that will move you towards your goals without using effort units, you can maximize your effort and reach your greatest goals.
What are healthy habits?
Setting healthy habits is of paramount importance. You get that. But what are healthy habits exactly? Healthy habits support you in living a balanced life towards your goals. They are in line with your character, physicality and personal life. Let me be completely frank, healthy habits will not leapfrog you towards a successful life by societal standards instantaneously.
Practicing your healthy habits consecutively for a longer time will lead to a successful life that suits you. It could be that this is in line with societal conventions, but does not necessarily have to be. Often even this is not the case. The essence of setting healthy habits is for them to lead you towards a life that suits You and makes You happy.
What are "unhealthy" habits?
In contrast to healthy habits, certain habit-setting processes can bring you towards a goal that is not in line with your character, physicality and personal life. That could be habits that bring you to a 7 figure income but collide with your character or personal life. Because you have a habit setting process focussed on income, you perhaps neglect a personal value like contributing to society or being family-centered. Or because you have a habit setting process focussed on income, your neglect your spouse resulting in a divorce.
Habits are super powerful and can really make or break your life. For that reason, it is so important to set habits that cater to a life that is in line with your physicality, character and personal life.
Healthy habits in this day and age
I hope to have brought the message across that healthy habits are very useful to have if you want to make the most of your life. At Amplio Coaching, we have seen so many individual setting habits that derail clients completely. Prior to setting the habits, they had the best intentions, but it directed them down the wrong road.
When witnessing these events, I always think about a quote by Stephen Covey: “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” Consider your habits the steps on your ladder. If you build your ladder that is leaning against the wrong wall, you miss out on living a life that suits you.
You get an opportunity, you get an opportunity, everyone gets opportunities!
Especially nowadays we see the importance of setting healthy habits. Nowadays we are bombarded with opportunities. In terms of career, social, spiritual we can easily go down different paths. To say it in Stephen Covey’s words, you can easily climb the ladder of different walls. The abundance of opportunity is amazing but very dangerous at the same time. It results in fear of missing out and indecisiveness. Mastering the art of setting healthy habits will eliminate these risks and help you towards a life that suits you.
Secondly, in this day and age, we are distracted constantly. Filtering this noise into words that make sense, enriching you with an understanding which healthy habits to set, is a true skill we have to learn. These distractors can be super dangerous if we let them lead our lives. If we refrain from being proactive in life, we revert back to a numb reactive state of mind. In this state of mind, you are highly susceptible to the detrimental effects of these distractors.
Before you know it, you’re walking down the path of a destructive addictive habit. The habit of playing 15 minutes of poker a day with the intention to relax, can transform into a poker gambling addiction costing you tens of thousands.
It's your choice
Setting the right healthy habits in this day and age is the discriminator between a happy and miserable life. If you do not proactively think about your habits, you let life control you. Compare setting habits in this day and age to throwing yourself in a pit with furious bulls and replete of wonderful wells.
Without a plan, the bulls will run over you and make your time in the pit short and miserable. Setting healthy habits provides you with a plan (your habits) to shield yourself from the bulls and guide them away from you, while you pursue your wells of happiness and contentment.