Does This Sound Like You? Sharing My Habits
It is important to understand where you are in order to figure out where you want to go. Do you feel like sometimes you are flying by the seat of your pants and you don’t exactly know what to do with your time when someone is not in your chair and your business doors are closed?
Who ARE YOU when your kids are not around, when your partner is away working or playing golf and you have a day to yourself? Who has she become? Are you making space for this woman?
Maybe you flop down on your couch in pajamas, messy bun, scroll the internet and some of your favorite shows.
It’s okay if this happens, however is this everyday you aren’t working or after work hours?
Ask yourself this…if you were to record your last 7 days and give it to someone else to watch as a movie…is it exciting? Does it bring peace? Does it inspire? Is it chaotic?
More importantly, is this the vision you have for yourself and how you want to ideally be spending your time?
If this sounds like you? You are not alone. I’ve been there. Sometimes we work ourselves so much that we can only do the bare minimum when we are not in front of clients essentially performing and improving the lives of others.
A saying my wise mother has always had is “teach us to number our days”, which essentially means, we need to recognize the fact that each and every day is precious as we don’t get a lot of them.
If we look at life expectancy for women in the United States, we may live 28,105 days which is about 77 years give or take a few months. My life is halfway over! How many of those days have you lived already? Are these days meaningful to you? Are you truly creating something which not only brings you joy and shows your joy, but is something which embodies your highest ideals?
This is a question that you must ask yourself and you must ask yourself how intentional you are with your time. Because life goes by in an instant and it is important to be proud of what we have built brick by brick. And that does not only mean work, it also means relationships, wealth, health and the pursuit of meaning because happiness is elusive and is only an emotion.
Every emotion makes life a quilt of experience. They all come and go and we, unlike animals, can watch our emotions in an outside of body experience like a passing cloud.
I have found that by writing down what I think is beautiful in life and intentionally plugging these things into my calendar that life has become more meaningful, more intentionally beautiful and also? These intentional moments have made my life feel full of joy.
A habit that has helped me and which I am sharing with you are habit cards. Yes it may seem elementary and even childish but much of adulthood is self mothering ourself to a become a better version of ourselves.
Each week on a Sunday, I take 5 index cards and write the corresponding day of the week on it. I write down what makes my morning feel alive and productive (I experimented with different routines). For me it is a 3 mile walk at sunrise, weight training, reading for 20 minutes, practicing violin for 20 minutes, eating a good breakfast and repeating my life aim and aspirations out loud in the AM.
On a separate section of the card I write down my evening routine and it is much simpler, reading, some things for health, and soothing music to sleep. This has improved my life greatly and I am excited to get up each morning because I know that once I have finished my routine I have made so many upgrades and improvements to myself by 8:30AM. This may not work for everyone , but this is what works for me.
Granted, if you have children who are newborns, throw all of this advice out the window since you are essentially working to keep a baby alive, but do your best to do something for you even during the chaotic moments surrounding childbirth and have your built community help you.
Written Goals and Achievement
A goals research study was conducted by Dominican University of California and the research team followed 267 participants which spanned business, organizations and business networking groups. Of these 267 participants 149 of the people completed the study. The age range was 23-72 and there were 37 males and 112 females. The participants were from various parts of the world and their professions were of various backgrounds.
During this study there were 5 groups. 1-Only thought about their goals 2-Wrote their goals down 3-Wrote down their goals and action commitments 4-Wrote down their goals, and send their action commitments to a friend and 5-Wrote down their goals, and sent their action commitments and weekly progress reports to a friend.
Do you know which group came out on top?
Take a wild guess.
Group 5 actually achieved 42% more of their goals than all of the groups and Group 2 achieve significantly more than Group 1. So essentially you will be able to come out on top by writing down your goals, setting action commitments and then sharing them weekly with someone who holds you accountable. (Gardner, S., & Albee, D.)
For you, this may be another injector, a mentor in the industry, your life partner or a good friend who is running the same race as you to accomplishing a goal whether it is similar or dissimilar to what you are doing.
Here are 5 reasons why writing down routines around your various life goals are important.
1-Enhances Focus and Commitment: When you write down your plans, it reinforces your commitment to those goals. Further, the daily routine of checking off accomplished tasks brings a sense of achievement, motivating you to stay on track.
The power of documenting and checking off daily habits lies in its ability to enhance focus and commitment, two critical elements on the journey towards personal growth and success. Whether you strive for personal health, career development, or cultivating personal relationships, maintaining written records and checklists of daily habits can start a huge shift in your journey towards goal achievement.
When you write down your habits, you transform them from just a fuzzy thought in your brain to something which is concrete. This simple act sharpens your focus and writing down your desired habits allows you to visualize your goals, like an artist outlining their next masterpiece.
The physical representation of our habits reinforces our commitment. Commitment, in the context of personal growth, is the bridge between our aspirations and accomplishments. It is easy to express a wish for change, but commitment translates that intention into action. By having your habits written down and present, you are continuously reminded of your commitment.
2-Improves Memory and Recall:
With so much information at our fingertips, our brains have to filter out lots of unnecessary data to focus on what’s crucial. For some of us, spending even 30 minutes on Instagram in the morning can derail our entire routine (I speak from experience). Through the act of writing on something other than our phones this allows us to think about our habit without distraction.
The daily habit of checking off tasks serves as an active recall method. Active recall, as opposed to passive recognition, is a more effective way of reinforcing memory. Andrew C. Butler in his 2010 study shows that repetition produces a better transfer of learning relative to repeated studying*.
So if you are just reading how to improve but aren’t doing the things to improve, your likelihood of learning new habits will not stick. Which is why writing your preferred habits down and referencing them daily are good for formation.
Further, by writing down your habits and checking them off daily, you are essentially setting reminders for yourself, reducing the cognitive load of having to remember everything. This way, you can devote more mental resources to performing the habit rather than just remembering it. If you have ever gotten stressed out for choosing outfits for the next conference you are going to and get a bit frustrated? This is an example of cognitive load.
Writing things down can help you visualize and understand your habits more clearly. It provides an opportunity to look at each habit and ask yourself important questions:
Why is this habit important to me?
How does it contribute to my overall goals?
This introspective process fosters a deeper understanding of your motivations and aspirations.
The first step towards any form of personal development is the clear identification of what we wish to achieve. When you write down your habits you are essentially making your inner desires into concrete tasks.
You are very familiar with this as you had to follow a very regimented program for medical, physician associate or nursing school. However, how many habit frameworks have you developed around the other parts of your life?
Writing down your habits makes you the captain of your ship and not just someone thrown overboard thrashing in random personal development waters.
Checking off habits daily holds you accountable to yourself. Every day, as you face your list, you'll be reminded of the commitments you've made. This regular, personal accountability is an effective way to foster progress and transformation in your life.
The daily practice of writing down and checking off habits is a mechanism of self-accountability, acting as a personal compass in your journey towards self actualization. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs follows this framework.
In life our goals overlap from level to level however we start with physiological needs which is the needs for food, water, warmth and rest. Then we look for safety and security. After this we work to improve imitate relationships and relationships with friends. Esteem needs are the next step in the ladder and this moves towards accomplishing prestige and feelings of accomplishment and then the last goal of many lives is self actualization which is the process of achieving our full potential which includes creative activities. (Mcleod, Saul)
Where do you think that you fall on this list? It is likely a combination of these things, definitely in the top 3 as you are an entrepreneur.
So if you haven’t?
Set ambitious goals when it comes to your health, wealth and relationships. You deserve the best in all of these.
Write out the action commitments that will support the pillars of your life.
Choose a friend that you know is disciplined and who will hold you to your commitment and send them reports weekly.
Watch your life go from okay, to good, to great.
Take an active part in building a life that does comes with stress and inevitable turmoil, but also comes with excitement knowing you are crafting a life you love.
Gardner, S., & Albee, D. (2015). Study focuses on strategies for achieving goals, resolutions. Dominican University of California. https://scholar.dominican.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1265&context=news-releases
McLeod, S. (2018, May 21). Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
Butler A. C. (2010). Repeated testing produces superior transfer of learning relative to repeated studying. Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition, 36(5), 1118–1133. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0019902