What would a happier life look like for you?
Would you be healthier? Have deeper friendships? Would you simply be content?
The decisions and actions that make up our lives rest on our habits.
We usually don’t think about our habits too much. Do yours bring you happiness? Do they create enjoyable relationships, activities, feelings, experiences? Or do they pull you down?
Thinking about our lives and decisions lets us figure out what we want. When we then base our actions on our goals, we can craft a life filled with a sense of well-being. We can create habits that move us towards joy.
Build the Foundation for Change
What do you want to take on? Start by listing some things that would make your life better. Engaging work? Financial stability? A comfortable home free from clutter?
Choose one area, and let’s think about what small steps you can take towards your dream.
For example, say you’d like to get healthier. Perhaps you want to add more vegetables to your diet. What kinds of habits could get you there?
Eat More Vegetables
Most Americans eat far fewer than the recommended daily five to eight servings of vegetables and fruits. (Readers from other countries: do people in your culture eat more of them, and if so, what advice can you pass along to people in the United States?)
Does that sound unbearable? One serving, though, is just half a cup of cooked vegetables or one cup of something raw like salad. So if you start by adding one serving of vegetables a day and do that for a month, you’re already doing quite a bit better than you were.
Add another serving the next month. Before long you’re up to snuff.
It’s important to note that your goal isn’t to lose weight. You may or may not go after that goal later. Now you’re just trying to eat more vegetables. If you do, you’ll probably lose weight naturally, if that’s what you want. And for sure you’re adding a lot more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and all that good stuff to your life.
If you have an aversion to vegetables, they’ll need to taste especially good or else you probably won’t stick with this. For a few months, then, add a generous splash of olive oil, a sauce, some mayonnaise. We’re not talking about going overboard, but add enough so that you can really taste it.
If you want to move towards little or no fat with them, it’ll be easier to do this as you come to enjoy the taste of the vegetables themselves.
Enjoy Your New Habit
As you’re making changes, reflect often on how glad and proud you are. You’re doing well.
Notice how you feel physically and emotionally — it’s very reinforcing.
Creating a healthy habit can be easy. Do it very slowly, in small steps, and you’ll succeed.
Readers: What new habits have you created? What are you working on, and what’s one small step towards forming a habit?