It’s 2019, time isn’t exactly slowing down. Turning 27 this year has me wondering if I’m living the best life I could be, ya know? Habits and routine can be positive reinforcement tools that can add structure to your lives, help you make fewer decisions and build a life that you want. We are habitual creatures and more often than not, end up feeling like structure is what we are lacking in life. Healthy habits can lead to healthy behavioural and lifestyle change. Why wouldn’t you want to live the best life you could?

Habit became a supportive word for my 2019 after reading “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” by Mark Manson. A particular resounding section of the book focused on fault and responsibility. Circumstantial living so to say, living by the cards you’ve been dealt and not because of the cards you were dealt. I gave myself a year to start again, to take complete responsibility for the life I live. Deep introspection took place these last few days and I circled around structure. Something that I really lacked last year because I work from home, I study from home, there’s no urgency in having a routine. I quickly realised that implementing simple habits may be my best chance to actually achieving any of my goals this year.

Eat a healthy breakfast

This may sound rather boring but eating a healthier breakfast every day since the start of the year has added some routine to my life. Knowing exactly what I’m going to eat every morning, is one less decision I need to focus on. Right now I’m on a coffee and Pronutro buzz and I don’t feel guilty about skipping breakfast because I didn’t plan better or eat something unhealthy just for the sake of getting some food in my tumtums. Eating better has improved my energy levels significantly and the fatigue is slowly fading away. I’ve also stopped overeating, which I would do when I decided to skip breakfast.

 

Read 5 pages a day

Sometime towards the end of last year, I decided to get back to reading. It truly sparked joy for me when I was younger, let me escape my own thoughts and essentially let my imagination grow as a writer myself. This year I vowed that I would tackle 40 books, 10 books a quarter and 5 pages a day. Now 5 pages a day may seem rather easy, but in my opinion, 5 pages are perfect. Because it’s the minimum and still a target. 5 pages mean I’m probably going to exceed that target and give me something to smile about. In forcing myself to read 5 pages a day when I feel like I don’t have the time or don’t want too and choose it over spending a few minutes scrolling through social media, boom automatically a better decision.

 

Write 200 words a day

This is a habit I need to hone in on simply because I’m a writer. But to you, writing can be a brain dump. So I need to implement this target purely for the sake of improving my writing, growing my imagination and dropping off thoughts. Think morning pages or journal prompts to get you going and you may find yourself losing time and finding yourself.

 

Exercise (let me explain)

An important focus in 2019 is my physical and mental health. Finding myself overweight, with a handful of unhealthy conditions led to me falling into the deepest depression I had ever endured. I have never been an overly physical person nor a tremendously bad eater. But as the depression sunk in, my hunger seemed to grow and I found myself overeating more than I should have. That’s depression I guess, kicks you while you’re down. Exercising every day may seem like the most tedious chore of anyone’s existence, I am definitely not a fan. But committing to doing a 100 crunches, squats or arm pulls is doable. It’s a small achievement that makes me feel better physically and mentally, that I can knock off easily. And I know, that it’s not much but its more than I was doing last year. These steps are important enough to help me achieve my bigger health goals in time and are small enough to guilt me into skipping a day.

 

Meditate to massage your brain

Meditation is a tricky one. It’s something that everyone swears too and yet the hardest habit to implement. There’s always that question circling around while you try to focus on not focusing, “Am I doing this right?” It does work, on days that I stuck to including it into my routine, led to me actually feeling lighter and able to tackle stressful decisions without it consuming me whole for the rest of the day. On the days that I didn’t, because time or laziness, I found myself frazzled and in a bad mood for no particular reason. How do you focus on not focusing? I believe it’s difficult because people usually say focus on nothing. Why focus on nothing? Nothing doesn’t bring me peace. My method includes imagery that I know makes me feel better. I focus on walking along the coastline, soft waves caressing my toes, wet sand squishing beneath me and the sun rising in the distance. It instantly puts me to peace and focusing on the water and rays on my skin lets me escape from real life for five minutes. Find your peace and focus on that.

 

Everyone’s favourite – drink 6-8 glasses of water

I won’t go much into detail about this but it’s a habit I really need to enforce for the sake of my skin and digestive system. When you become a water fan, drinking anything else it becomes an effort. You’ll skip the usual sugar-loaded drinks for water and lemon and it will have you feeling like your life is in order.

 

Indulge (weekly)

Last year I only did things I loved when someone suggested it. Sure it made me feel slightly better but didn’t really add anything to my mood or change my focus. This year I am backing indulgement all the way. Life is a circle of suffering so why shouldn’t you prioritise things that do bring you joy, that make you smile and add a layer of peace to your worries? Why not do more of things that bring purpose and love to your being?  This year, I want to focus on playing more guitar, taking more photos, cooking dishes that excite me and try my hand at candle-making. These are hobbies that made me smile and I think I deserve to smile more often.

 

What habits are you focusing on in 2019? Consistency is key.

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