Creating Habits for Success
There’s no shortage of books, articles and videos listing habits that will set you up for success. While the concept is true, the challenge is there’s no one size fits all approach.
As a working mom, I struggle with the advice of starting each morning mediating or having quiet time before you interact with others. I don’t know about you, but as soon as my alarm rings, I’m out of bed and running. And forget about going to bed earlier. I need those valuable few minutes to have some quiet time for myself once the kids are asleep (and having a teenager means it’s not an early bedtime).
However, I’m a firm believer in creating sustainable habits that work for you, not copying habits that work for others.
While I’m not going to tell you what habits to create, there are some key areas that you might want to focus on when developing your habits.
Seize your productive time
Each of us has times of the day when we’re most productive. On the flip side, we also have times where our tank is running low and we struggle to focus.
This is a perfect place to look at habit development.
If possible, you want to schedule your day around these natural ebbs and flows. Take advantage of your productive cycle by blocking time in your calendar to work on the projects or tasks that require your optimum brain power.
For me, I try to keep my mornings free of routine tasks so I can roll up my sleeves and work on projects that require my full attention. The afternoons are allocated for bookkeeping, email response and other tasks that require less energy.
Prioritize your health
There are countless habits you can develop around your health. What’s important is you prioritize this area of your life and develop lasting habits.
When I turned 50, I decided to dial up my attention in this area. I hired a personal trainer and joined regular fitness classes. Knowing it takes on average 66 days to form a habit, I pre-paid for three months of classes. This helped me follow through on my commitment.
Over a year later, the habit has stuck. I continue to go to three class a week and am in the best shape I’ve been in years. The bonus – it’s increased my work productivity as I have less aches and pains and more energy.
What are healthy habits that work for you? Is it going for a 30-minute walk at lunch? Packing your own lunch so you aren’t tempted by unhealthy grab and go snacks? Or joining a running group with a friend (so you have peer motivation)?
I used to cringe when I heard the term self-care as it was often used in articles talking about treating yourself to a spa day or other unrealistic treats.
I prefer the practical side of self-care. Giving yourself permission to sit and read a book for 30 minutes after supper. Or scheduling coffee with a friend every couple of weeks.
In my work day, self-care means not booking back-to-back client meetings. Instead of rushing and switching gears quickly, I give myself the space to prepare or unwind. This is a perk of being self-employed – I’m able to control my schedule (for the most part). But after years of working for others, it took me awhile to create new healthy habits vs carrying forward habits that worked for others, not me.
Reassess and recommit
My final tip for creating healthy habits for success is knowing this is a lifelong journey. Make sure you check in with yourself to see what habits you’ve formed – both healthy and unhealthy. What habits do you need to let go of and what new habits need to be created?
We go through different seasons in our lives. While I appreciate some of the habits that I had in my 30s, they aren’t practical or sustainable in my 50s.
What’s important is you’re aware of your habits and are committed to making the necessary tweaks.
Afterall, you are the only person who can create healthy habits for success. No one else can do it for you.