Research suggests that as much as 40-45% of our behaviour is repeated daily in almost the exact same situation.
Now that means that our habits – good or bad – are shaping almost half of our daily lives. We have habits around the food we eat, the work we do, our social lives and leisure time, the way we dress, the way we talk – you name it we have habits in almost every aspect of our lives.
Now habits can be great. They reduce the need for decision and motivation, and they make us feel safe and comfortable. Our habits help us reach our goals and keep our lives on track.
However not all of our habits work to our benefit. It is just as easy (if not easier!) to fall into a bad habit as a good one. And with habitual patterns taking up such a big chunk of our day, you can see how easy it is for our lives to spin off onto an unwanted trajectory.
So, it definitely makes sense to take some time out and have a good look at our habits. We should consider whether our habits are ones that we enjoy and make us happy, whether they are doing us good or harm. We should take stock and make more conscious choices about the habits we create and follow.
The problem is because our habits are automatic we often don’t always recognize them in our own behaviour. So the first step to taking charge of your habits is AWARENESS. So if you want to get a better idea of where your habits are directing you the following exercise is really helpful.
Know your habits
- Take a piece of paper and make three columns with the headings DAILY , WEEKLY and MONTHLY.
- Now cast your mind back to the last day, week and month and write down every little habit that you can think of from brushing your teeth to your favourite, daily snack – your exercise routine, to your weekly call to you mum. Get it all down.
- Once you have your list, it is time to take stock. Next to the habits that you want to keep put a big smiley face or tick, next to the ones that you think you would rather live without put a big cross.
- You now know what things you need to work on
You have taken the first step towards change – AWARENESS – well done.
Now don’t rush out there and try to change everything at once – small steps add up, just tackle one item at a time and you’ll get there.
p.s. you can download this worksheet to make it even easier