Left unattended, what started as a one-time thing can become a habit, then a ritual. It starts out small and builds up until it becomes a part of you.
Maybe you haven’t noticed that you always brush your teeth in the exact same way, until your dentist tells you that you are still missing the same spot. Maybe you didn’t realize you spent your week watching TV until a friend asked you what you were doing. Habits set in and take over.
Here are five habits to break for a better year.
Snooze your alarm
Pressing the top button and riding for five more minutes is the opposite of what champions are made of. There is no point at this point. It is not awakening, it is not rest. It’s a waste of time, and if it’s five minutes every day of the week, that’s almost 22 hours of your year. Former Navy Seal Jocko Willink, who compares dozing off to leaving ‘the day [get you] all intimidated ”, gives advice on getting out of bed:
“What I’m going to do is I’m going to tear these blankets up, I’m going to get out of bed and I’m going to handle what I’m supposed to handle.” I will do it. Don’t let these days beat you up. Beat these days.
Move the alarm clock across the room and away from you or just be harsh.
It’s late and you are tired. Or maybe you are taking some free time. You’re determined to take a break and rest, but you quickly check your emails, just in case. Or you answer a customer call because you’ve been trying to reach them for ages. Or you continue to care about this project or these campaigns. In no time you will be operating on the same frequency as if you were working, so you might as well be. It’s straddling two worlds and giving nothing. It disrupts your sleep and your state of mind. It’s not rest but it’s not work, it’s a purgatory filled with typos in emails and distracted meals.
Be in work mode or be in home mode. Give everyone 100% while you’re at it.
Switch to autopilot
If a situation is familiar to you, your brain wants to activate autopilot. He saves energy based on what he knows. But sailing with your head in the clouds means you’re missing out on things. 77% of car accidents happen when someone is within 15 miles of their home. Sometimes the answer is right under your nose. The best ideas come with a change of scenery because it forces your brain to fully engage.
One tactic, to achieve this even in familiar situations, is to tell your own life, in your head, as you do it; “I leave the house, I lock the door, I call the elevator, I pass a restaurant, I order coffee.” This keeps you present and you will probably notice more extraordinary in the ordinary.
Practice being aware and present and jot down what you missed.
Being too available
If you are constantly available, you will develop people who will need you constantly. If you are regularly unavailable, you will train people to find answers on their own. Even if they only get 50% of the way, it’s still a lot better than asking you for solutions without thinking about them.
I recently interviewed someone who called YouTube the best teacher of all. She was an incredibly resourceful person for whom it was second nature to search for something and make an informed decision. Give those around you the opportunity to do the same. If you end up being someone’s google search bar, you won’t get anything because you can’t get to a feed state. Your thinking will be slowed down and your ideas will be limited to those that come immediately.
Define your available hours and be strict with them. Concentrate on deep work for the rest of the time. Train resourcefulness, not powerlessness.
Living in the future
Whenever you speak or think about your life, how far is it going in the future? Sentences beginning with “Someday I…” or “When it happens…” or “Next year…” all speak of a moment that has not yet happened and is not happening now. The biggest indicator of your future is your present. The past only existed to bring you to the present, and when the future arrives it will be the present. So stay here. Interact by talking about what could happen with what you are going to make happen today. Trade the dream of all you will achieve with noticing what you have now that you only dreamed about once.
The future is out of your control, but the choice is yours today.
As John Irving said, “Good habits are worth being fanatical.” Break the habits of snoozing your alarm, always being on, going on autopilot, being too available and living into the future for a better year.