One of the major things learned during my spiritual awakening in 2016, is habits are crucial in becoming the person you want to be.
I’m sure you are aware humans are creatures of habit – we don’t like change! So once we get used to a routine (good or bad), it’s very hard to break it – which is why so many of us struggle with New Year resolutions!
I’m going to show you a list of all the main ingrained habits I had in my life before my spiritual awakening and all the new ones I’ve tried to implement afterwards as a comparison. Let’s start with the bad shit:
High fibre cereal
Watch Frasier repeats, news and politics shows
Face moisturise with commercial product (full of unpronounceable cra!)
Eat at least one cake with cup of tea, usually start on a bag of sweets e.g. wine gums (red n black, leave the green!)
High fibre bread
Gym once or twice a week (unless I’ve caned it that weekend)
Another cake with cup of tea, continue eating sweets (Cadbury chocolate buttons hmmm, only the large ones though, straight from the freezer!)
Desert or biscuits/cake with cup of tea after dinner (custard doughnuts, cheesecake, hot syrup sponge puddings….)
Watch TV/boxsets/football for 2-3 hours on average
Surf web for 1-2 hours on average
As you can see, nearly all of my habits are negative ones. When not working, I would spend literally all of my time watching TV or surfing. I wasn’t learning anything, unless you count news and politics, which was mostly feeding me with negativity anyway.
The only good routines I had were moisturising (which I’ve done since a child) and eye exercises, which are a great example of a how a habit can stick if you do it on a daily basis. 5 years plus, still on it!
I started after reading a book that claimed you could improve your eyesight just by working the muscles around the eyes every day. I was sceptical but was alarmed at how much my sight was deteriorating from wearing lenses, so gave it a go.
After just a few weeks I noticed I was getting clear flashes of 20:20 vision. They wouldn’t last more than a few seconds but that was enough proof that the methods work.
Only problem was, I didn’t like doing them and it was a struggle to build the habit.
Gradually, by forcing myself to do it before I even got out of bed, I managed to ingrain the habit. It’s totally natural now and as easy as eating my high fibre cereal instead of Coco Pops! Plus, my eyesight has improved; prescription has dropped from -0.5 to -0.25.
Glass of Water
High fibre cereal with blueberries
Oil Pull with Coconut Oil
All over body moisturise with coconut oil
Watch a YouTube Self-development video
2 More glasses of water
High fibre bread
Replace processed meat with avocado and cheese
Gym 2-3 times a week (no drugs and no binge drinking over weekend!)
2 more glasses of water
Replace red meat with seafood
Leafy greens (spinach, kale, watercress)
Replace sugary treats with 70%+ dark chocolate with cereals
Write/blog instead of watching TV/web surfing
Read a book
Plan next day’s work
I’m now eating much healthier (the long term plan is to at least become vegetarian if not vegan). But the biggest change is my morning routine. No more wasting time watching Frasier repeats (most of which I’d seen around 10 times each – I’m no kidding!) and starting my day off with negative imagery from the news.
Now, my only aim is to prime my mind with positivity and my body with healthiness.
Aside from diet, the biggest change has come from how I spend my after-work time. I still watch a bit of TV in the evening (a good drama like “House of Cards” for an hour) but it won’t normally be more than one show and no bingeing.
Instead, I work or learn. That means writing for this blog, reading a book and doing at least 10 minutes of Spanish.
The blog takes up most of my time now. It’s way more time consuming than I expected. If I had a social life, I think I’d find it almost impossible! That’s the one positive of having no friends. I can throw myself into it and get much further, much quicker than most people who have relationships to attend to. That’s what I comfort myself with, anyway!
I’M NO SAINT!
These habits are all at different stages of being fully ingrained. Whilst I do my stretches every single day without fail, I do sometimes miss out my meditation if I have to quickly start work. But I certainly never go more than 1 or 2 days without meditating.
Then at the other end of the spectrum, I really struggle with cutting out sugary treats. I no longer eat packets of sweets at all but I’m still partial to a desert after dinner (damn that Ben n Jerry’s Half Baked, so much fudgy, brownie goodness!!).
So I slip up on that quite often.
With Spanish, I can go weeks without missing a day but I then seem to go several days in a row before getting back on it.
Again, more work needed.
I never watch the news in the morning or TV, ever. But I still get tempted by YouTube videos and can watch a few too many, even though they are self-help based ones.
Flossing is the newest addition to my health arsenal. It’s not a big thing in the UK, like it is in the States but boy, it should be! If only people could see how much shit it gets out of your mouth! I’m very good at this actually, didn’t have to work hard at all to ingrain it and rarely miss a day.
So it varies a lot.
But the key is to aim to do a new habit EVERY DAY. That’s the only way it will eventually stick. Habits are a major part of my mantra for creating a dream life, and everyone should focus had on this. It requires a lot of discipline and I think that’s the problem.
But as Aristotle once said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, but a habit.”