Are Habits Overrated?
Could you level up your life in 2022 by fostering new habits?
My exposure to habits came in secondary school. I don’t have any exceptional natural abilities. I am no more academically gifted or talented than the next person or born with exceptional sporting prowess. I’m your average “Jane”, so I always flew under the radar in school. Yet, to everyone’s surprise, I managed to finish my high school education summa cum laude by following a simple routine.
Each morning just as I would brush my teeth, I made sure to solve at least one mathematics or physics question before breakfast. Those two subjects gave me grief, so I decided to work them into my routine after reading about the power of compounding when applied to habits. Nobody thought I could achieve top grades, not even me, yet my habits allowed me to graduate top in class – NATIONALLY.
After having children, I lost this early morning habit. Life became stressful. I finally decided after many stressful mornings that the only way I could gain back control of my day was to wake up an hour earlier before the children to give myself space and time to develop a more healthy routine. This morning time helped me in preparing mentally and physically for the day.
I had fallen into the habit of staying up late because I had convinced myself that it was the only time I could catch up on work and home life. That was not true because my natural circadian clock was more aligned to waking up early. Sleeping late did not suit me. I woke up tired and always looked sleep-deprived.
I had to create a new habit. Early to bed, early to rise. I had alarms for my bedtime and wake up time. Gradually I was able to realign my circadian clock to my day and night routine. Now years down the line, I wake up early without an alarm most days.
Habits are not overrated.
They can give you an advantage and help you play at the highest level in any field of endeavour. They make you resilient and focused. Ultimately your goal achieving habits will make your goals and dreams come true.
A lot has been written on the subject, and I’m particularly fascinated by the work of James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits. It is a great book to kick off the new year.
Trying to build a new habit in the new year is a common goal that is notoriously difficult to stick to because habits are impulse behaviour that happens with seemingly little or no conscious thought.
How to create new habits
Most attempts to build new habits are met with failure because before creating a pattern ( a new impulsive behaviour), we must first make it part of a set routine – and routine can be boring! You mean I have to do the same thing every day – for how long?
Routines are the key to creating habits.
While habits are impulsive, routines are intentional and take effort and persistence. Once routines are repeated frequently, they can become more effortless and unconscious, and gradually the effort reduces, and pleasure might even set in. We start to act out our behaviour on cue without thinking about them.
Some habits like running always take effort for most of the population – myself included. I have to hack my brain into compliance by pretending I’m going for a walk when I run. My routine gets me out of the house, but the actual running takes consistent effort and has been so all my life. I doubt I’ll ever really love running.
When our habits are positive, they lead to our growth and empowerment, but they can be a source of pain and frustration when negative.
What habits are you trying to develop this year? Is it reading regularly, running, public speaking, writing or making more healthy choices? What things are you continuing to do out of habit which no longer serve you?
track your habits
When I created the Goal Achiever planner, I included a habit tracker for each month. It makes it easy to track your habits, create new empowering routines, and make them stick.
ORDER YOUR GOAL ACHIEVER PLANNER
The planner is also non-dated and sits within a six-monthly cycle, so you can start tracking your habits whenever you are ready. Order your planner today.*****Shipping is FREE this January!*****.
ABOUT GRISELDA TOGOBO:
The Forward Ladies CEO, Griselda Togobo MPhil, ACA, is an international corporate consultant and trainer. She is also a multi-faceted entrepreneur, engineer and chartered accountant. She is a commercially focused business consultant but her experience as a black woman in the corporate world drives her. She now uses her international experience to help progressive global companies create inclusive workplaces. Griselda gives keynotes, talks and workshops to businesses interested in improving the gender and racial diversity of their teams. Griselda is passionate about supporting female leaders through the professional women’s network forwardladies.com.You can become a member here.
SUPERCHARGE YOUR 2022 WITH THE GOAL ACHIEVER PLANNER
The FL Goal Achiever Planner is a 264-page planner. It is beautifully laid out in monthly, weekly and daily sections to help you stay on track with your goals.
The planner keeps everything in one place whilst incorporating daily gratitude and mindfulness practice to support your well-being.