A habit is something you do every day without putting much thought into it. They are automatic. A study from Duke University showed that more than 40% of the actions we perform every day are not actual decisions we make, but habits.
Oftentimes when people think of habits, they may think about negative habits such as biting your nails or substance abuse. However, focusing on creating positive habits can be a game changer. You may want to accomplish an incredible goal in your life, but without the discipline to wake up everyday and pursue that goal, the goal is of no use. I don’t always make the right choice, but reminding myself of my end goal and what kind of habits will get me there, often help get me back on track. For students, it is incredibly important to start focusing on some of these habits, which if developed, can help you succeed.
A more recent habit I have worked on is waking up a little bit earlier. Even starting with just an extra 15 minutes can help me focus on what I need to accomplish that day. It is also helpful that there isn’t as much going on and so it provides a calm environment without interruptions. I also use this time to work on my gratitude journal and just taking an extra deep breath before the craziness of the day begins.
Exercise is also incredibly important. There are countless studies showing how exercise helps relieve stress and increase productivity. It is important to note a balance between intellectual and physical accomplishments. Exercise is a great way to break away from bad habits, too. Instead of snacking on junk food, force yourself to go outside and take a quick walk. Mark Zuckerburg, who is an avid fitness buff, once said, “Staying in shape is very important. Doing anything well requires energy, and you just have a lot more energy when you’re fit.”
Another habit I try to work on is to surround myself with people who are positive and encourage me to be better. Jim Rohn said that “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Take a look at who you hang out with. If you surround yourself with people who are unfocused, you will likely find yourself wandering. However, surround yourself with people who want to make the world better and reach for greatness and you too will strive to achieve more.
This last habit is quite possibly the simplest, while having the greatest impact – make your bed every day. My parents have asked me to make my bed every day since a very early age. Of course this was not a fun habit to start; however, I have learned that making your bed may be one of the easiest habits to form. The reason is that by making your bed, you have accomplished your first task. By starting your day with a productive habit, you start a chain reaction to make better decisions for the rest of the day. And if productivity is not enough of a reason, studies have also found a connection between making your bed and happiness.
Finally, it is said that you should do something for 21 days straight in order to make it a habit, 90 days to make it a lifestyle. Start thinking about the choices that you make and whether they are actual choices or habits and make sure to implement habits that will get you closer to your goals. Usually change is not fast or easy, but with discipline it can help shape your future. This week’s #MakeItHappen Monday challenge – make your bed every day and see if you feel a change in your mindset. Let us know your progress by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social @yteach.app
Go make it happen,
Matias & the YTeach Team
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
– Charles Duhigg