The internet, especially social media, is riddled with stories of people who have made it big by having just one life changing habit. Or incorporating that one life changing habit. There is such a cacophony of habits right from exercising for 20 minutes, joining the 5 a.m. club, to even talking positively to one’s reflection for 5 minutes every day. It’s all about that ‘one habit that can change your life!’
One simple Google search will show you results that vary from blogs to videos to images.
I was in the same boat too, looking for that one habit to change my life. That one quick fix to make the difference. And I tried so many ‘one habit’s. But none felt life changing.
A Basketful of Habits
Looking back, I realize that I was collecting habits and not cultivating them. I was waking up at 5 a.m. but hated it because I felt tired and sleep-deprived for the rest of the day. I tried a diet to feel light, positive but that’s torture for a foodie. The same goes for exercising; I turned into a procrastinator.
And it was not for the lack of commitment. I did it all because of social media pressure – everyone was doing it. And I wanted to feel good by adopting at least one life changing habit.
But I was not. I was not feeling good at all.
About the habit. About myself doing it.
I felt more dejected, more…unhappy.
I was not getting that life-changing experience that I was looking for.
A few months ago, I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with myself. It was the lockdown period of the Coronavirus pandemic. I decided to begin simple exercises and get back to reading and other positive habits. (Also, I was bored with binge-watching shows at home.)
I didn’t allow the pressure of social media to affect me. It began with wanting something to show for when I returned to the world. Something positive that I picked up.
I committed and didn’t miss a single day. I started with maintaining simple records of what I was doing and my goals in a notebook.
Using apps and tech at the beginning felt like complicating things. I realized that they were my failings at the start of a routine.
What I did get out of my previous experiences was unhealthy thinking. I spent my time waiting for that one positive result to happen. When it came to exercising, I did get that positive result. However the satisfaction was not as expected. It was disappointing.
I had also turned into a master procrastinator. Looking back now, with the idea of getting that one good habit I had cultivated a really bad one – procrastination.
What I didn’t realize was that in making the time and recording my efforts I was actually cultivating a good habit and investing in myself. I could see my journey towards my goal unfold. And best of all, it felt like a life changing habit
One thing led to another as I stuck with my habit of reading and working out. This had a positive approach and the results to show for.
Epiphany Moment: Discovering that Life Changing Habit
Seeing myself through my own eyes and not measuring myself with the external scales of social media. It was what best suited ME.
It was about ME, all along. How I felt about myself.
I continue to cultivate more positive habits like:
- Mandatory reading time before I go to bed.
- No more binge-watching but watching one episode at a time so I can savor it.
- Leaving my phone outside the room so there are no distractions when going to bed and waking up.
- Eating at least one fruit a day.
- Accepting the present version as the better version of me so far. And the best is yet to come.
- Even saying yes to some overwhelming projects which seem scary.
It was, perhaps a change in attitude. Perhaps it was a combination of the many small habits I picked up. Perhaps it was wide-eyed dumb optimism. Or it was something else.
‘I’ Change my Life
Nonetheless, I realize it was all along up to me and in my hands to bring about the change that I was seeking externally.
It was not an easy journey for sure. There are many temptations and the inner saboteur’s voice to quit. I practically discontinued a few habits in between too.
But that’s the thing about cultivating habits. They tend to grow on you. And you miss their absence. You miss all those endorphins. You miss those feel good moments when you finish a story or gain a personal work-out goal.
The one habit that changed it all was the habit of cultivating good habits and weeding out bad ones.
So which habit are you going to cultivate?