Put Positive Habits to Work for You

A habit is any rote action you take based on a stimulus and leading to a reward. For example, when the alarm clock goes off, you get out of bed. Within a few minutes, you’re eating breakfast. After awhile, you no longer think about it, you just do it. It is no exaggeration to say that habits are hardwired into your brain. Scientific research validates that concept; your habits are stored in a part of your brain called the basal ganglia.

[1] That’s why, when asked what you had for breakfast today or whether you brushed your teeth, you likely can’t answer. You do these things without thinking about them.

The power of a habit is exactly that—it’s something you do without thought or effort. That explains why bad habits are so hard to break, and why good habits are such a powerful force in your life. They function like an alarm clock—set it and forget it.

Here are some extremely powerful positive habits you should hardwire into your routine. Get them started, and they’ll pay dividends for years to come.

Prayer

Make this the default setting in your life in two ways: (1) something you do daily before moving into work mode, and (2) your automatic response to any crisis. When you spend time centering yourself on God’s mind and agenda, the default setting on your heart and emotions will be “calm.”

Punctuality

It now seems fashionable to arrive a few minutes late, and tardiness is sometimes used as a badge of honor or a power move (“I’m so busy today!”). But it is a poor habit that stems from a scarcity mind-set (“I don’t have enough time”). Successful people almost always arrive a few minutes early. They are respectful of their own time and that of others because they are focused on achievement.

Politeness

Politeness stems from a basic attitude of respect for others. We are polite when we see others as having equal value—or even greater value—than ourselves. Using words like please, thank you, yes sir, and no ma’am is a habit. It springs from a positive attitude, and it soon becomes second nature. For sure, our world could use a fresh baptism of politeness!

Physical Fitness Habits

The most frequent complaint that a primary care physician hears is “I’m tired.” Much of the fatigue we feel stems from our poor habits with regard to self-care. We don’t eat properly or exercise enough. Success in any area of life, including personal life, depends on having adequate energy. When you get consistent sleep, eat properly, maintain a healthy weight, and exercise regularly—you feel better! These positive habits don’t guarantee happiness, but a good health regimen is a great predictor of future well-being.

I could list dozens more positive habits that grow organically from a positive attitude, things like writing your goals, planning your day, smiling, taking consistent time away from work, spending time outdoors, saving money, reading, and taking breaks during the day. You get the idea. Happy and successful people do positive things by routine, almost without thinking. These positive habits become the best predictor of their ongoing success.

What about you? How do you rise above your circumstances and choose to have a positive attitude? I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.

StanAToler

[1]. Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (New York: Random House, 2012), 21.


 

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