For as long as I can remember, I was resistant to the idea of habits. I associated them with monotony. In time, I learned that habits are the most flexible thing we can create and practice consistently. They are not tied to a schedule; instead, they’re connected to an intention.
By: Andreia Olaru
The saying goes, “Start the day with the most challenging thing on your to-do list, and you’ll never have an unproductive day.” I say: Build one strong daily habit, and you’ll never have a bad day again. Nothing sustainable was created in an instant or out of luck. If you admire someone’s success, take a look behind the scenes, and I guarantee you’ll find resilience, consistent actions and healthy habits.
How to know which habit to create?
Luckily, there’s no fixed set of habits that everyone must adopt to lead a carefree life. Some research says it takes 21 days to build a habit, but I believe there’s no one-size-fits-all method for building habits. If you dream of becoming a writer, build a writing habit. If you wish to become a dancer, get on the floor everyday.
But just because you’re starting a copywriting business, it doesn’t mean that writing every day for an hour is the right habit you need right now. You might need movement, meditation and cold showers in the morning.
“But wait, Andreia, how can a cold shower help a copywriting business?” We all need something to boost our energy and creativity. Nurture your body and mind in parallel to polishing those writing skills. And, given our busy lives, there’s only so much time and focus, so pick the most impactful habits. Don’t get stuck in the area of work or location and, above all, don’t copy others’ habits.
The good news is that if you’re in tune with your mind and body, they will send signals about what the right habit to build might be. Some people are affected by the weather, the moon or the season. We’re not machines functioning at 100% capacity throughout the year. Some prefer to take summers or winters off then to be super focused in the other half of the year. Treat your habits with flexibility according to the place you’re at that point. Amplify or tone down your daily routines depending on your needs.
When can we consider a habit as created?
As I mentioned, habits come from a place of intention; they’re not meant to be bound to strict timetables. You embrace them because you need them. So both the creation and the doing part should come easily. That’s why starting small is essential. If you wish to get to one hour of training a day from no training at all, start with three pushups and 5 minutes of freestyle dancing in your living room. When it becomes easy enough that you don’t even need to think about it or set a reminder, increase the activity. Dance for 10 minutes and do then pushups. And so on, until moving your body for one hour straight comes effortlessly.
Now, how much you stay in your initial phase depends on the person, the habit, and the triggers. You know the habit is formed when…
- skipping it (because it happens, we’re not programmed machines) feels strange.
- you can return to it easily, just picking it up from where you left off.
- it fits in your daily activities effortlessly.
Don’t focus on the routines; focus on consistency
Finally, be flexible with your habits. Flexibility is a virtue in all aspects of life, but especially when it comes to habits.
If you meditate in the evening, don’t attach the habit to a specific hour. It’s ok if you get to it between 6 and 9 pm. Sometimes you might stay late at dinner or want to take a detour on your way home. The habit is there to help, not to constrain you.
If you’re journaling in the morning, it’s not the end of the world if you need to take a call before you sit down and write. Don’t be rigid with the times of the day when a habit has to happen. Lean into your body and mind’s needs and be mindful of the other things that occur during the day.
Related Post: Write Your Way Home: The Practice of Journalling
In my work, I focus on consistency. When working with small business owners, where the journey often gets lonely and overwhelming, consistency is the key to success. For me, what happens between day one and the day they reach the goal matters more.
In my private life, building healthy habits was the only way to remain sane. I practice journaling, meditation, walks in nature, meal prepping, one day offline per week, etc. Some of them happen daily, and specific actions trigger others. Consistent healthy habits shape our lives and help keeps us mentally sane, joyful, and creative.
I’m always curious about other people’s habits and love discussing what works and how they changed our lives. I would love to read your stories in the comments below!