If you are new to these Weekly Reminders you might like to know that your subconscious mind is accountable for 90% of your daily decisions. If all you do is read this email (but put nothing into practice), you are already sending a positive message to your subconscious mind. Congratulations! The more similar messages it gets, the better decisions you will make.
I don’t know about you, but the first time I realized how true this is, I felt cheated. All these years I had believed that “Practice Makes Perfect.” As it turns out, only perfect practice makes perfect, everything else just makes habits, and habits can be good or not-so-good.
For the majority of my life I was in the practice of having a big bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast. I thought this was a healthy breakfast and that I had perfected my morning routine – there was no need to think or make conscious decisions. My morning cereal became a habit for me and for my kids, until I discovered that a bowl of cereal (including many of the “healthy” ones) contains more sugar than any child should consume in the whole day – all in one meal. That is close to half of what an adult should consume per day. I was starting off the day by creating a blood sugar spike for every member in my family. I now know that repeated spikes in blood sugar create cumulative damage to many organs – including the brain.
Another bad habit that I had gotten myself into (and maybe you have too), was the habit of judging and criticizing people who make decisions that are out of line with my values. In other words, I had become very good at gossiping about my best friend’s ex. Is there someone in your life that you are very good at belittling? The practice of being judgmental towards those who are different from you, gives you a temporary boost to your ego, which is just like getting a temporary sugar spike – it feels good in the moment, but it doesn’t do any good in the long-term. If practice makes habits, how can we choose practices that lead to good habits?
Three Proven Tricks for How to Create Good Habits:
- Choose one new habit at a time, and make sure the first one is an easy one: You are much more likely to succeed in establishing multiple new habits if you start by proving to yourself that you can do it. Every time you follow through with your own intentions, you are giving yourself a nice boost to your self-esteem. This will set you up for success with every incremental habit.
- Stack the new habit onto an existing habit: If you are already in the habit of drinking a glass of water every morning, then use that as your reminder to fill a whole jug of water so that you can be sure to drink 6-8 glasses/day. At first, it won’t matter whether you finish the full jug or not, the practice of filling the jug will set you up to develop the habit of drinking it all up. If you are in the habit of brushing your teeth every morning, then that’s your opportunity to stack a new habit onto your existing habit.
- Focus on practicing the first step that leads to the new habit: If you want to get into the habit of running or walking for 20min/day, start by practicing the routine of getting your running shoes on and going out the door. Even if you only go for one minute and come right back, you are already creating a practice that will set you up for success. Once you have practiced how to prepare for your daily run/walk every day for 21 days, the rest will flow naturally. Give it a try!
Have a smarter day, a smarter week and a smarter life,
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A love note from your future self:
The older you get the more practice you get. The more practice you get, the more habits you form. The more habits you have, the more you are relying on the same neural networks again and again. That’s why it’s so important to keep open to challenging old habits, open to learning new things and practicing new skills. And the better you feed yourself (avoiding sugar-spikes), the more energy and capacity your brain will have to continue to learn and form new networks.
Thank you for identifying which habits are due for a refresh, thank you for believing in yourself, and for your capacity to be a lifetime learner.
Love, from your future self
Health Disclaimer: The content contained in this email is for educational and inspirational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice because of something you may have read on this email.