Essential Habits For Life: Habits You Need To Develop For A Good Life
Habits are an essential part of our day. It’s important for your survival as a person, but it’s also necessary for you to thrive. In fact, studies by neurobiologists show that about 40% to a whopping 90% of the time, our actions are habit-based. If we’re really conservative, we can say that half of the time, we’re on autopilot. This is how important habits are in our lives. This article will walk you through 10 essential habits for life you must slowly cultivate.
Knowing the impact of habits in our lives, it begs the question, “What habits must I develop to have a better life?”
Below is a list of 10 habits that I’ve learned and continue practicing. You don’t have to adapt everything all at once. In fact, I advocate against it. Just choose one habit you’d like to start with and work at it. It’s a better strategy to make significant progress in one habit than a millimeter of growth in a million directions.
Before You Read On…
A lot of people, when it comes to the subject of habit, asks how long it takes to develop a single habit. Some studies say you need at least 21 days. Others say 66 days of constant practice.
But what I’ve learned is that asking for a timeframe means that you’re focusing on the wrong question. If we’re going to ask how long it takes to build a habit, the correct answer would be “forever.” Why? Because a good habit must be incorporated in your lifestyle. It’s not a matter of speed or passing a certain time mark. It’s not a race, it’s endless development.
Now that we have that handled, it’s time to learn the…
Essential Habits For Life
Reading is probably one of the most important habits you’re going to develop in life. It’s not just about reading newspapers or toxic news on Social Media. And it’s not just reading for entertainment’s sake. You must go beyond that. Ideally, you must read something that enhances your mind – it helps you think better and healthier.
This includes novels, non-fiction books in and outside your field of interests, poems, and blogs. Maybe add in some philosophy books and even research papers.
Reading (at least the right kind) takes you places you’ve never been. It lets you experience things you’ve never seen or experienced before. Imagine if you could learn some wisdom for living from someone who’s been through massive sufferings. How much heartaches will that save you?
That’s what you’ll experience when you read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning. He shared his experience on the Nazi prison camp and what helped him get through it. Or learning how to follow your heart to achieve your dreams when you read Coelho’s The Alchemist.
Personally, this habit made a snowball of life-changing events in my life. From the time I read and finished my first book (that isn’t a school requirement), I wasn’t the same. It has changed the way I see the world, and in turn, the world I see. That’s what’s in store for you, too.
The next habit that can improve your life dramatically is the habit of personal reflection. You shouldn’t just read and accept everything that you read. You must stand guard on what’s going in your mind and ponder what is already in it. The physicist Albert Einstein once said:
We need to learn to think for ourselves. The concepts and “words of wisdom” we read should be filtered and examined with open curiosity. After all, the mark of an educated man (or woman) is his (her) ability to entertain a thought without accepting it. At least that’s what Aristotle said.
Secondly, you must reflect on what happened in your day, week, month, and year. In my experience, it’s more profitable to get something from the day than just get through it. Learn something from what happens to you and reflect on what caused things to be.
I know it’s a weird thing to read. But if you want to have a more fulfilling life, you must learn how to evaluate your own thinking (often called metacognition). It’s not everyday that you come across someone who advocates that you put your own thoughts under a microscope. But since I treat you not as a casual reader, but as a friend, I submit this idea to you. Cool?
The habit of meditation isn’t about sitting still somewhere in the most isolated cave on the planet. Humming the weird Asian sound, “Om” and turning your mind blank. It’s not.
In fact, meditation isn’t hard. When you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. How so? Because meditation is the practice of focusing hard on a specific thought, object, or activity. By doing so, it helps remove mental clutter.
Now, why is this one of the essential habits for life? Because in today’s time, we are bombarded with noise and messages that make us anxious or uneasy. From toxic news you see circulating around the net, to triggering Social Media status from our friends. These streams of endless noise fill the mind with junk thoughts.
Meditating is a way to clear the mind. To get a hold of yourself and keep you sane in this world of insanity. You don’t have to close your eyes or isolate yourself to do it. But you need to let go.
Practice meditating in the midst of any activity you’re doing. Let go of the thoughts that distract you and focus on the task at hand. Focus on the reading, the writing, the thinking, the enjoyment of doing. Focus on the flow and the movement, on the joy of the moment.
Decluttering is the process of removing excess in your life. This process is most helpful when your life becomes too heavy and too demanding. It’s like pruning away things of excess, things that don’t matter so you can breathe.
Most of the time, people think that decluttering only applies to things. It doesn’t. There are basically four major categories you need to declutter in life:
- Things: is all about the possessions you own
- Thoughts: is about what you think and how you think
- Tribe: the people around you (friends, family, colleagues, classmates, etc.)
- Time: the activities you allot time to
You must always evaluate how you spend your energy on these things. Is your life full of things or thoughts that weigh you down? Do the people around you bring unnecessary stress in your life? Are you a good steward of the time entrusted to you here on Earth?
These are hard questions, I know. And the thing is, you can’t answer them one time and forget them the rest of your life. It’s a constant pruning and decluttering of what’s non-essential in life.
Remember Memento Mori
Memento Mori is a Latin phrase which is directly translated as, “Remember you must die.” This is a reminder for both you and I that nothing lasts forever. No good thing, no bad thing. And every lemon that life gives fall short in comparison to eternity.
As Steve Jobs once said:
“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Developing the habit of remembering that one day, you’ll fall away in the face of death is freeing. It gives you the courage to try new things, to change old ways, and begin anew. You’re not going to be here long. So seize every moment to express love, gratitude, appreciation, and all the wonderful things life has to offer.
Final Thoughts On The Essential Habits For Life
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you enjoyed learning about the habits you need to develop if you want to live a more joyful life. If you’re interested in learning more, check out these related articles:
To a life of essence,
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