Watch your thoughts, they become your words.
Watch your words, they become your actions.
Watch your actions, they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
The actions we repeat become the fabric of our lives and the mirror of our character. Habits can promote health, wellness, and happiness but they can also dim our light and steal our joy. Some habits form without much thought so it’s important to frequently take an inventory of our habits and determine those that are helpful and those that are harmful. As we let go of habits that no longer serve us, we create space for new, empowering habits.
Try one or more of these positive habits that will shift your mindset.
Track your progress with the Habit Tracker in my Year in Focus Journal. Download here
Journaling is one of the most effective and powerful ways to gain perspective, build self-awareness, soothe intense emotions, and identify positive actions. There are many ways to journal, including art, lists, and narratives. If you find you have nothing to write about try one of my favorite journal prompts:
- Something I did well today is… and that means I am…
- I felt proud when…
- Today I accomplished…
- I had a positive experience with…
- Something I did for someone else…
- I felt good about myself when…
Remember, even one sentence counts. To make journaling a habit, find a way to include it in other daily routines. For example, keep your journal by your bed and when you wake up, instead of grabbing your phone, pick up your journal. Aim to journal every day but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Getting into a new habit takes time.
Daily Intentions and Affirmations
One of the easiest ways to create a good day is to start it with a positive affirmation or clear intention. This can be something you write in your journal or simply say to yourself. Similar to journaling, to make intentions and affirmations a habit, incorporate them into something you already do on a daily basis. I like to say my intentions or affirmations when I am brushing my teeth. I look myself in the eye and think of how I want my day to be or I say an uplifting “I am” statement to myself. Some of my favorite intentions and affirmations include:
- I approach my clients with focus, wisdom, and clarity.
- Today will surprise me in incredible ways.
- The right words and insights will come at the right time.
- I am peaceful.
- I am productive.
- I am grateful for new opportunities.
Most of us take shallow breaths throughout the day and this can exacerbate feelings of stress or anxiety. Getting into the habit of intentional, deep belly breaths not only soothes physical and mental tension, but it also fuels the body with oxygen which helps us think more clearly and approach life with a sense of calm. Taking deep belly breaths also helps us stay in the present moment, enhancing productivity and connection. To start the habit of belly breathing, set a reminder on your phone for morning, midday, and evening. When alerted, pause what you are doing and exhale. Then, take a slow, deep, full breath, and feel your belly and your ribs expand. Exhale just as slowly and feel your body soften, your muscles unwind, and your mind calm. Repeat several times.
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Do One Thing at a Time
Multitasking can make us feel like we are getting a lot done, but the truth is when we do several things at once, we are more likely to feel stress, frustration, and anxiety. Multitasking also leads to more mistakes which can end up requiring more time to fix. When we focus on doing one thing at a time, we actually become more efficient and productive. We can more easily access creativity and critical thinking. As a habitual multi-tasker, this habit was hard for me. What helped was creating a visual reminder that prompted me to focus on one thing. I wrote on a post-it note: What is the most important thing right now? Each time I look at that post-it, I answer the question and get my brain tuned into one thing, the most important thing.
As you begin these new habits, remember to go easy on yourself. Encourage yourself. Set achievable weekly goals. For example, start with affirmations three times a week for the first week, and increase every week until you are using your affirmations every day. Reward yourself or at minimum acknowledge your progress. Most of all, pay attention to the positive outcomes of these new habits, and have fun!
Download A Year in Focus Journal here to track your habits and get even more inspiration for 2023!