4 Steps to Creating Healthy Habits

We use habits every day to get us through the things we face at work and home. Some habits like emptying the dishwasher keep our surroundings clean and healthy. Other habits are designed to reduce the amount of time we spend on essential activities and chores.

Photo by Andres Ayrton on Pexels.com

Our life habits help us advance toward our goals, or they are a deterrent. To help us move forward, we need to put new habits in place that help us succeed. Here are four steps to creating healthy habits for life.

1. DESIGN A VISUAL TRIGGER

Our memory kicks in every time we see a reminder. These reminders don’t have to be notes, but can be symbols or items that trigger us to engage a certain habit. For instance, if I want to capture my first thoughts each morning, having a notebook prominently placed on my nightstand with a pen can trigger my new habit.

2. PRE-THINK YOUR RESPONSE

When we face a new habit, we tend to think, “I guess I have to do this stupid thing,” or, “This new habit makes the attainment of my goal much easier.” We know a thought will pop into our head when we see the notebook on the nightstand. It’s our choice to predetermine if we will see it as a good thing or a bad thing. Make sure you know that it’s a good thing before you go to sleep the night before.

3. REHEARSE YOUR REWARD

Remind yourself of your goal and what success will feel like as you position the notebook on your nightstand. Rehearsing the reward that you’ll receive after successfully capturing your morning thoughts solidifies the development of your new habit. Your feelings will make building the habit easier each day.

4. BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is critical to building new habits. If you miss or have to skip a day, get back to it the next day. We all have schedule interruptions that can derail new habits, but managing a consistent pattern will lock in your new goal-producing tool. It takes a single step each day over a long period of time to lock in your goal-achieving habit.

Building a new habit starts today, not tomorrow. Select one habit and focus on it for three months before picking a second habit. Most importantly, make sure you won the habit and you really want to put it in place. No on succeeds at putting someone else’s habit in place.

What type of new habit will help you attain your goals?

Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers

A Journey to Change

Photo by Kun Fotografi on Pexels.com

We all talk about living out our journey, but do we know what that means? Or, do we walk a journey that doesn’t have a defined end? Maybe we walk through that journey directionless and without purpose.

Can wandering define a journey?

I don’t think so.

A journey is defined as traveling from one place to another. We can certainly speak about an intangible journey, like a spiritual one. But a real journey must have a starting point and a place to land. A spiritual journey lands with a stronger relationship with God or significant spiritual growth in our life.

Obstacles Along the Way

Everyone on a journey encounters obstacles. Those obstacles can be both internal and external. The external blockades are often systemic of an internal battle within our soul.

I was recently in a person’s living room who had emotional ties to the objects in the room. This tie was an obstacle to the person growing and becoming successful.

The collected items were so numerous that I couldn’t find the couch to sit down on. Across the room where the TV was located, there were three 7’ walls of boxes between me and the buried digital equipment.

Instead of enjoying the comfortable couch and the large screen HGTV, the person sat in an upright dining room chair watching TV on their smartphone. The person was frustrated in their attempts to watch a show but not frustrated enough to get rid of the hoarded items.

The thing stopping this person’s progress is an internal belief system. They believe something about the items that once made them feel good. But today, they are frustrated and overwhelmed because keeping those items no longer serves them.

Unfortunately, no one can suggest that some items should be donated, sold, or trashed without detrimental ramifications. It is less painful for this person to live in a part of their home than letting go of the once-cherished items.

To help you get past your obstacles, whatever they might be, I’ll share the healthy steps I took that ensured my last journey was of value.

Select Your Single Focus

When we go on a journey, it’s essential to determine a single focus, so we aren’t overwhelmed when moving forward. This is especially true since moving forward means change—something few people enjoy.

Select one key point of growth to work on. Two won’t work. Depending on the internal and external obstacles you might face, more than one point of focus can hinder you from creating new healthy habits that support your journey.

Once you’ve selected your point of focus, determine what a 1% daily gain will look like. Yes, we’re only talking about 1%. Why? Because it is so simple to accomplish, you are guaranteed to succeed.

A few years ago, Forbes published an article about the science behind adopting habits. The report stated that there are only two reasons people fail to adopt new habits.

  • They don’t understand how to leverage the structure of habits (Trigger, Action, Reward)
  • They set themselves up for failure by doing too much too soon.

Start Small/Start Simple

The key to developing a habit is to start small. You start by doing one push-up per day instead of saying you want to do 50 push-ups a day. This allows you to become consistent and make the activity a natural part of your life.

After a couple of weeks, you can get it up to two push-ups per day. You will get to 50 push-ups per day. However, if you start with 50 push-ups per day, you’ll fail and not build the habit.

Examine Your Beliefs

Ask yourself questions to understand your beliefs.

  • What do you believe about this area of focus?
  • What do you believe about yourself in this area?
  • Why do you want to grow in this area of life?

Once you understand yourself better, determine the simplest next step you can take to move in the direction of your focus.

Seek Counsel for Knowledge and Accountability

The best counsel will come from someone who knows your heart and the direction of your life. This might include your God, spouse, and mentor. Make sure they help keep you focused on the promise you’ve made to yourself.

This is not a session filled with judgment. The goal is to have someone come alongside you that wants to see you succeed in your goals. This person might be able to inspire or motivate you to push through when things get tough.

You might even consider becoming an accountability partner with a like-minded person with similar goals. They would certainly understand the obstacles you face and empathize with you. But they will also know how important your goal is and encourage you forward despite those difficult moments we all face.

Let Go of Old Beliefs

Be honest with yourself. The old beliefs you hold to are most likely no longer serving your best interests. It’s time to face change and embrace new beliefs that will help you shine.

One day, I offered a neighborhood kid a piece of chocolate. He wouldn’t take it because he had shiny stones in his hand that he thought looked cool. He wasn’t willing to put the stones down to accept the chocolate.

I ate the chocolate as I watched him walk toward his house. He went inside, so I headed home. I heard the neighbor’s door bang open a few seconds later, and I turned around. The mother stepped outside and tossed the stones into the driveway. I saw the kid staring at me from the dining room window with tears in his eyes.

No matter what we’re handed, we can’t receive it until we let go of what does not serve our interests.

Practice New Habits for 60-Days

The key to building habits is consistency. Scientists have found that if you miss one day, your chances of building the habit drop a few percentage points. However, if you miss two days, your chances drop significantly. Missing three days is typically beyond repair.

Make sure your new habit building is super simple with little effort required. After it’s a habit, you can look for daily 1% increases. But do not do more than the trivial when creating the consistent habit; you want to be made permanent.

Let me know in the comments below what simple new habit you’ll start this week.

©2022 by CJ Powers

American Underdog—Review

We love underdog stories.

There is nothing better than a redemptive story to catch our attention and emotionally drive us to the super bowl of hope. This is when dreams become realities. This is also the true story of Kurt Warner.

The movie “American Underdog” stars Shazam’s Zachary Levi as football MVP Kurt Warner. The quarterback hopeful went from a stock boy at a small-town grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback.

The film covers warner’s many setbacks that seemed to derail his life all too often. But when things were at their worst, he swallowed his pride to take care of his wife and family by agreeing to play in the Arena Football League.

The struggles did not stop and their marriage hit the rocks. But Warner dug deep with the support of his wife. He continued working diligently toward each small success in front of him.

Then his break came. Warner and his wife Brenda grew closer in time for his NFL debut. That year Warner took the St. Louis Rams to Super Bowl XXXIV. They won the championship and Warner was the first undrafted player named NFL and Super Bowl MVP.

And this Cinderella story was real. The undrafted Warner miraculously took the Rams to the championship in his first year. The now Hall of Fame quarterback demonstrated that anything is possible when you have faith, family, and determination.

But wait, this film is NOT a football story.

The story focuses on Warner’s relationship with his wife Brenda. We learn how they met and his drive to be a part of her life. We see many of the obstacles they had to overcome including some of their foolish mistakes.

The story is heartfelt and better than most Hallmark Christmas movies. We watch real people struggle with real-life situations. We see how they fought to overcome each battle.

Had ten minutes been trimmed from the film, I’d want to watch it over and over again.

Okay, but Levi, in a dramatic role? Really?

Oh, my word, YES!

Levi stepped up big time in this role. His acting chops were at the top of his game. He drew me into this story so well, I never gave one thought to his goofy Shazam character.

Now, keep in mind I’ve appreciated Levi’s skills for some time. I adored his stylistic Benjamin character in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” I even thoroughly enjoyed his stint as the beloved character in his “Chuck” TV series. And, of course, I even watched his Fandral character in the MCU.

But his Kurt Warner character was by far his most realistic dramatic role. Congratulations, Levi!

There is enough football in the story to keep fans happy. There is also some incredible heartfelt drama to keep romantics happy. But most importantly, the story focuses on family. We see the results of a family that stays together because of their deep love and commitment.

This film is a true inspiration for those who believe faith, family, and determination are the key ingredients to real success.

American Underdog releases on Christmas Day. It’s rated PG so the entire family can get a glimpse at the importance of love and family.

Congratulations to the Erwin brothers who brought us “I can only Imagine” and “Woodlawn.” You have done the industry and your fans proud.

To learn more about American Underdog you can go to their site here. For those who want tickets, they are available here.

#AmericanUnderdogMIN #AmericanUnderdog #MomentumInfluencerNetwork

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”