Every day, you make choices. You choose what to do and how to spend your time. You choose who to associate with and the relationships you wish to invest in. You choose your response to the various situations and circumstances that come your way.
Over time, the choices you engage in repeatedly become habits, i.e.: "a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior; an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary."
Habits Influence the Trajectory of Your Life
Each person's life is a collision of a multitude of factors. Some of these factors can be anticipated and/or controlled; others can not. Ultimately, however, your own personal habits play a significant role in determining the trajectory of your life and the outcomes you experience. Therefore, it makes sense to cultivate solid habits that serve you well. You want to cultivate habits that will bring about the kinds of outcomes you find desirable.
Regardless of what you pursue and the outcomes you wish to achieve, the following 5 habits will improve your life and lead to greater well-being.
Habit #1: Make your own decisions.
At one time or another, everyone has faced the experience of being pressured, swayed, or influenced in their decision-making. Nothing is worse than facing negative repercussions from a decision that wasn't even yours to begin with.
Strive to make your own decisions, based on your own values. This forces you to develop your own convictions about the path you want to follow, enabling you to proceed wholeheartedly and confidently. It also enables you to weather the impact if things don't turn out well, as you know you did what you truly believed in.
Habit #2: When you're knocked down, get back up as quickly as possible.
At some point in life, likely at many points, you’ll find yourself knocked down. It could be a job loss, a relationship breakdown, a personal setback, the loss of someone close to you, or some other event. Such events are inevitable, and they can be incredibly painful.
When something happens that knocks you down, you need time to catch your breath and regain your bearings; and the amount of time needed differs from person to person. Allow yourself the time you need, but aim to get back up as quickly as you can. Otherwise, additional issues can start to pile up while you're down, making it even more difficult to get back up on your feet again.
Habit #3: Identify the good people in your life and invest in those relationships.
Don't make the mistake of taking the good people in your life for granted. Invest in these relationships, allowing bonds to grow and strengthen over time. You'll continue to meet new people in future, but nothing can replace the trust and intimacy of longstanding relationships nurtured over years. In times of distress, these relationships can truly be a lifeline.
Habit #4: Identify the toxic or harmful people in your life and distance yourself from them.
Especially when you've had someone in your life for a long time and you're closely attached to them, it can be extremely difficult to separate from them. Even when you can clearly see yourself being dragged down, or dragged into situations you would rather not be in, you might still be reluctant to pull away.
Challenges in close relationships are normal, and pushing through those challenges often makes the relationship even stronger. However, if the entire tenor of a relationship is one of pain and distress, that is not normal or healthy. If issues are ongoing (or worsening) with no possibility of improvement, that's a concern. These kinds of relationships can hold you back, drain you, and wreak havoc in your life.
Know when it's time to distance yourself from the toxic or harmful people in your life. Be honest with yourself about the detrimental impact the relationship is having on you, and take action. It may be difficult, but letting go may wind up being the best thing you can do for your emotional health and well-being.
Habit #5: Think big-picture and long-term.
How many of our problems are due to the fact that we were short-sighted, or acted impulsively without thinking things through? As we look back, it becomes clear that many of our problems could have been avoided simply by pausing to ask: "What are the consequences of this decision?"
Do you find yourself procrastinating and dragging your heels on something, or perhaps looking for a shortcut? Are you about to make a poor decision because you're focused on instant gratification? Taking a moment to think about the big-picture and the long-term impact can help you shift your perspective and reassess your priorities.
Conclusion: as you make choices every day, strive to make the kinds of choices that will lead to healthy, beneficial habits in the long term.
How to Gain Clarity When You Feel Conflicted
Key Characteristics of Healthy Compromise
Why You're Feeling Emotionally Drained
How to Avoid Unwanted Weight Gain After 50
Selenium: The Multitasking Mineral Your Body Needs