By definition, a habit is a task you do daily, consciously, and involuntarily, such as waking up early or making dinner at 5 pm. Successful people know how to be more decisive by creating habits that fit their lifestyle.
For example, an athlete wakes up early (habit), makes a healthy smoothie (habit), stretches, and goes for a long sprint (habit) every morning (routine). Habits lead to daily routines before we realize it, influencing our thoughts and behaviors.
People who do not create healthy habits often find themselves stressed out, unorganized, and depressed. Without daily habits, you’ll one day wake up and realize you’re not where you want to be in life.
If you don’t have any particular routine, the best and easiest way to start habits is in the morning. Figure out which type of morning person you are, and build your habits around your comfortability.
If you’re someone who bounces fresh out of bed, ready to tackle the day, your first habit may be to make a hearty breakfast and write down everything you’d like to accomplish for the day. If you’re a ‘leave me alone” morning person, your habit may be to wake up early and jot down positive affirmations about yourself.
Other morning routine examples aside from waking up early include:
- Avoiding screen time – Too much screen time increases depression and lack of focus and sets the tone for the rest of your day. Wait at least one hour or more before delving into screen time.
- Journaling – Journaling in the morning proves beneficial for your mind, creativity, emotion, and mental health.
- Gratitude – What you do in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. Showing gratitude has made individuals happier, more confident, and very successful.
If we are not healthy, we cannot live our life to the fullest and make good logical decisions. Aside from a morning routine being the most important habit of your day, you’ll find that adding healthy habits to your routine helps you stay mentally and emotionally stable.
Creating habits takes commitment, self-discipline, and awareness to make the habit into a daily routine. When you incorporate one habit out of the four health categories into your daily routine, you’ll find that you:
- Feel better
- Are sick less often
- Have a healthy weight
- Feel more energetic
- Are less stressed
A healthy habit includes physical and mental exercise, diet, and good quality sleep. When you find a happy balance between the four categories, you’ll notice how to be more decisive because you’ll find what works for you and what doesn’t.
Try adding one of each idea into your daily habit each day. Studies have proven that a habit takes 18 and 254 days to become automatic. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you commit to a healthy change and how successful you’ll be in just under a year.
The hardest part about incorporating a daily habit of exercise into your routine is starting it in the first place. The willpower and motivation for the first week will be the most difficult.
First, decide what motivates you. Is it your overall health? Is it to be less tired throughout the day? Pick a reason for engaging in exercise, then plan out your routine.
It would help if you stuck to light exercises such as a light stretch followed by a short walk, for starters. After the first week of this daily habit, you can alternate other physical activities such as:
- Daily steps
- Brisk walk / Jog
- Dog walking / training
- Bike riding
- Lifting weights/toning muscles
Keep physical exercise as a habit by logging your progress after each activity and jotting down how it made you feel. Beside each exercise, write down how that’ll benefit you and why you need to keep doing it. After the second week of exercise, you’ll notice what exercise works for you and which doesn’t.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition can make all the difference, from feeling your best to feeling sluggish and drained. If you’re used to eating whatever you want, try adding one healthy food item into your weekly diet plan.
For example, if you’re not a breakfast eater, try drinking one cup of water as soon as you get up. For brunch, mix yourself a green smoothie and get ready to start your physical habit.
Keep in mind what’s healthy for one person may not be for another. Your friend may interpret healthy eating as cutting out sugar entirely. However, cutting sugar is not an option if you have hypo/hyperglycemia.
Please speak to a naturopath or dietician about your diet goals, and have them create an individualized diet plan for you. Once you have all the facts, you can create your meal plan.
Keep a food journal and track daily calories (meeting your desired count based on your height and weight) to keep the daily habit going. Put a star beside your favorite meals and jot down how each food item made you feel.
A healthy mind makes for a healthy life. Ask anyone who suffers from depression, anxiety, bipolar, or another mental health disorder – their symptoms are barely noticeable on the surface but internally, they work extra hard to keep a healthy mind.
You feel freer, healthier, clearer, and genuinely happy when you have good mental health. When you have a clear mind, you’ll know how to be more decisive with life stressors and positive opportunities.
Starting a mental health habit can simply be writing all your worries down and storing them in a box to think about for later. Journals are a great way to improve your mental health because a blank page is a room for whatever you want it to be. Aside from a thought journal, try creating an art journal or a gratitude journal. Write your favorite saying and decorate your masterpiece.
Other mental health habits to incorporate into your routine are:
- Positive reinforcement
- Venting with your closest friend
- Getting yourself to look your best for nobody but yourself (and for no reason at all)
- Dancing or listening to your favorite playlist with no other distractions
- Going someplace with nature and peaceful natural sounds
- Being kind to yourself
Do you want to know how to be more decisive? According to sleep experts, getting good quality sleep is as essential as diet and exercise. It takes a good night’s sleep coupled with a healthy bedtime routine.
Creating an individualized “wind-down” time for yourself is part of building healthy sleep habits. This could include avoiding alcohol and caffeine, making your bedroom a quiet relaxing space, and only going to sleep when you’re exhausted.
However, after creating a particular wind downtime, ensure you start this series of sleep habits at the same time every night so that you have a consistent bedtime. A predictable bedtime allows your brain to create patterns and increase melatonin to make it easier to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
When it comes to power naps, try not to nap too late in the day and aim for no longer than one hour. One hour gives your brain time to go through each stage of sleep, so you wake up refreshed and focused.
Now that you have a good idea of which habits will increase your mental, physical, and emotional well-being, you can dive into subtle and more minor habits to increase your workflow and productivity.
Firstly, you’re going to want to turn off those pesky notifications. Vibrations, dings, or noise can bring you out of concentration and slow your productivity down. Especially when you get a text or message, and it’s bad news.
If you work from home, try to create just a workspace that has no background noise or other distractions. It would be best if you keep your phone charging in another room. If you work outside your home, keep your phone or electronics in your locked vehicle or away from the worksite where distractions are less.
Wow, with all these new and healthy habits, who has enough time in the day for socialization and relationships? The good thing about habits is that they can be rearranged and prioritized. People are social creatures, and being alone for too long or not having enough close relationships contributes to unhealthy states of mind and other consequences.
Dealing with people and keeping a personal balance for success requires you to create healthy boundaries, which forces you to be more decisive. While it’s good to check in on friends and family, you must create a work-life balance.
If you’re in a relationship, make time for your spouse during dinner or “wind-down” times. If you know one of your friends or family members is struggling, call them before you start your bedtime routine – to check in.
The importance of having strong and healthy relationships allows you to navigate life stressors, solve a conflict, and overcome challenges. Relationships are more beneficial to your health than you realize.
Habit vs. Routine
A habit is an action that you do unconsciously, like washing your hands after using the washroom or seatbelt when you get into a car. A routine is made up of a string of habits that are repetitively done in a specific order, like making dinner at 5 pm, having dinner at 6 pm, and cleaning up at 7 pm every day.
Think of a routine as a chain of habits done in a specific way every day. You create the habit first, do it repetitively daily, and it becomes part of your routine.
The benefits of having a routine are:
- Promotes self-care and healing
- Serves as a constant in your life
- When completed, routines give you a continuous sense of accomplishment
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
- keeping you on track and increases productivity.
- Sally wakes up every morning at 8 am. She uses the washroom, washes her hands, and drinks one cup of water before brushing her teeth. At 8:30 am, Sally does some light stretching and jogs to the gym. By 10 am, Sally leaves the gym and jogs home to make breakfast. Sally does this every morning except Saturdays when she takes a break and hangs out with her friends and family.
- Bob wakes up at 6 am every morning. He uses the washroom and takes a shower. At 7 am, Bob makes a green smoothie and does the dishes from the night before. After Bob finishes his smoothie, he starts his car and leaves for work by 8 am.
Evening / Night Routine
- After dinner at 6 pm, Sally takes a shower. By 7 pm, Sally has her teeth brushed, her pajamas on, and she settles into a dim light bedroom with a good book. At 8:30 pm, Sally quickly checks her notifications, responds, and says goodnight. By 9 pm, Sally writes in her journal about what she learned, plans her day for tomorrow, and names three things she’s grateful for. By 10 pm, Sally meditates herself to sleep.
- Bob watches TV for two hours starting at 6 pm. At 8:30, he makes himself a light snack and does light stretching and daily steps. By 9:30, Bob changes into pajamas, lays down, and turns on meditative music to help him sleep.
You can see that there is a pattern to routines. Routines are a generalized idea of what you’ll do that day/morning, whereas habits are the subtle choices you make between each action.
For example, Sally might stop at the same corner every morning to take a sip of water before continuing to the gym. Bob might text on his phone during the two hours of TV time.
If you’re set on how to be more decisive, clear-minded, healthy, and overall happy, you’ll want to create a healthy routine that incorporates the habits mentioned throughout this article.
Firstly, no one is perfect and old habits will creep to the surface over time if you’re not careful. Understand that falling off track is completely normal. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, keep a habit tracker to help you stay on track.
Here are some other great tips to help you stay on track:
- Start small, and don’t rush.
- Remember why you started and why you need to finish
- Be kind to yourself
- Find a habit-starting buddy
- Keep visible signs of your progress.
- Stick reminder notes at the beginning where you can see
- For every accomplished week, celebrate and reward yourself