If you were originally brought to my site due to the habit card on the back of my business card, then you hopefully read the section on habits. In that section, you were informed about creating a new habit every 3 weeks, and that you could create 17 new habits in one year! Imagine you automatically making better decisions and choices on 17 areas of your life every day! Here is a list of some recommended habits to chose from…obviously 17…
- Check the box: your first habit should be tracking the habit of habit tracking. Habit-ception?
- Stand up, Fill hands: Every time you stand up at home, look around to make sure you don’t leave the room empty handed.
- Sort/Process Mail: When you get your mail, put it in the same spot and process it in batches. I was letting mail become clutter and now my entry is much neater.
- Floss: Floss your teeth before bed every night. Put your floss right next to your toothbrush. When I started this habit, I put floss ALL over the house, next to my bed, between the couch cushions, in my car…make a huge effort to never miss a day.
- Silent Radio: Turn the radio off in your car for the first five minutes on every drive. Instead, converse with who is in the car with you, plan your day, practice a speech/interview/negotiation, etc.
- Exercise for 7 minutes: The number is arbitrary, but make it easy. There is a good 7-minute workout app. You could make the exercise goal to do 10 pushups. Sometimes you’ll work out for a few minutes, sometimes it’ll be an hour. Don’t beat yourself up if you average 3 minutes a day, especially if you were doing zero!
- Drink water: a glass waiting by your bed for when you wake up is great. You usually start your day dehydrated, then drink coffee or tea…start with water first!
- Practice Mindfulness: the easiest way to start is to take a moment when you feel stress and look at three different objects and identify them. That is a tree. That is a curb. That is a hummingbird. Study mindfulness to learn more ways to bring you more peace.
- Dance: ask Alexa to play your favorite song. By yourself? Even better. I avoid reflections, if possible. I swear that movement is good for the soul.
- Gratitude: think of 3 things you are grateful for. Take joy in the small things, like when you got almost all green lights on your last errand.
- Goodnight phone: put your phone to bed one hour before you go to bed. Your phone likely has a do not disturb setting that you can control.
- Read for 5 minutes: sometimes you can only do five minutes, and that’s fine. Consistency is what is important. Sometimes you will get an hour in. I had to change the time I was reading because I did it so consistently right before I slept that I’d be unable to read at 2pm on a Saturday without taking a nap.
- Connect: Send a text message to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Do it at the same time every day so you have a trigger for it. Link it to some other event in your day, like when you inevitably have to charge your phone mid day. (Don’t text while driving!)
- Clean Smudges: I like to take a microfiber cloth and do a lap around the house to wipe fingerprints off walls, cabinets, door frames, etc. With four kids in my house, there are always smudges. Always.
- Recite Affirmations: write an affirmation and say it every day. It is best to do it right after that glass of water in the morning.
- Recognize others: tell others when you appreciate something they do. Thank the mail carrier, the grocery clerk, or crossing guard. Be specific. “Thanks for keeping us safe today!”
- Declutter for five minutes: even if you don’t want to be a minimalist, you can still spend five minutes decluttering something. Set a long term goal on each area and spend five minutes on it. I like to focus on something with permanence each time, like “declutter the desk” or “Declutter my clothes drawers.” You’ll start to build an eye for the areas that need to be decluttered and over time, being neat will become easier and easier.
Even if all of these habits took only 5 minutes each, that would eventually become a lot. What are your looking to accomplish over time isn’t just improving routines, but improving habits for your day-to-day choices. Eventually, rather than decluttering for 5 minutes a day, it will become more automatic to put things away in their place. Most of the examples are such habits that will change your behavior over time. Make the 40% on autopilot the best 40% you can!