“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”– Aristotle
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”– John C. Maxwell
Habits are the routine thoughts, emotions, attitudes, behaviours, and actions that define our day-to-day life. When our habits align with our goals and mission in life, excellence is guaranteed, and we position ourselves to produce a great impact in our own lives and that of others.
As part of my New Year’s Eve routine, I asked my friends to recommend one habit in the New Year. I have listed the top 10 below, and you may adopt them or add your own. I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year! I have a surprise for you at the end!
What is one habit you’d recommend in the New Year?
1. 1 hour exercise a day – this may include gym/ indoor exercise, cycling, yoga or sporting exercises, such as football or tennis. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous, including an improvement in your health, mood and confidence.
2. Eat 1800 calories a day – Your calorie intake will vary depending on factors, such as age, sex, metabolism, height and weight, nutritional needs and physical activity. Your GP will be able to provide you with specific advice on your calorie intake.
3. 2 hour study-time a day – It is often said that “knowledge is power”. A person’s ability, knowledge and skill is probably their true possession, as they are intrinsic attributes of a person. We grow in our abilities, knowledge and skills through constant learning. Dedicating some time to study, read or learn about your subject or topics of interest will lead to accumulation of essential knowledge to excel in your career and personal life. It is also important to read widely, including books on history and finances.
4. Keep a journal – It is important to record your day-to-day activities, thoughts, goals, events, mood, ideas, tasks, and achievements. Maintaining a diary is a great way to document your progress. Consistent writing is also important to maintain an archive of key memories, feelings, ideas and thoughts that you can always go back to.
5. Save and Invest 20% net income per month – This habit will help you reach your financial goals (e.g., buying a house, vehicle, or funding a vacation, wedding/marriage etc) and achieve financial independence in the long term. You may consult your Bank or Financial advisor for specific savings or investments that may meet your specific needs. A good approach is to “pay yourself first” – i.e., save/invest first before spending the rest of your income on anything else.
6. Quality time with family/friends a week – My therapist once asked, “Who will you call if you need help?”. We sometimes take our relationships for granted. But everybody needs a strong personal support system around them. Our family and friends are our primary support and it is important to be intentional about our relationships and dedicate some quality time to nurture and grow our relationships. This may include regular catch up over coffee or tea or enjoying activities that are of mutual interest together. A good place to start is to simply ask how they are doing, what made them happy in the week and what did not go so well. And learn to listen when you share with one another.
7. Enjoy a hobby once a week – A hobby is something you do for pleasure during your leisure time. I find that it is more exciting discovering new hobbies. Why don’t you make a list of interesting hobbies and give them a try. This may include painting, pottery, dancing, skating, sight-seeing, going to the cinema, karting, singing or sports! You discover something new about yourself when you try a new hobby!
8. Sleep early, get up early – A good night sleep is essential for many health reasons. Waking up early gives you more day time to be productive. I like to read something educative when I wake up in the morning. I have started incorporating a 20 minutes exercise and 10 minutes prayer/meditation time in my morning routine. You can create this habit by developing exciting morning and bed time motivations. My favourite bed time motivation is to listen to relaxing music.
9. Invest 1 hr in your goals/project a day – One of my personal ethos is to create goals I have never achieved before and to challenge myself to grow into the person who can achieve them. Consistency can help you reach your goals. If your goal is to write a book, why don’t you try to write 100 words a day? – It does not need to be perfect! If your goal is to create a business, why don’t you try to research or read a resource about the business idea?
10. Max of 2 hrs per week on social media – This is probably a challenge for most of us! I look forward to give this a try in the new year! It is an intentional and purposeful use of social media. Over the years I have learned to promote my work through social media and I have found it to be very powerful. However, when boredom sets in we may find ourselves scrolling timelines endlessly, and before we know it, we are spending hours of our time on social media. So, how do we replace this bad habit?
Start by finding alternative activities to combat boredom – call a friend, try a new recipe, read a book, try some painting, visit nature, go for a walk or write a blog piece. I have started using social media as part of a reward system – I only log in after I have completed something productive, and log out after spending a maximum of 5 – 10 minutes. You can set a timer in your social media activity settings.
The bonus habit
11. Practice compassionate self talk daily – I learned the importance of this exercise during therapy. We all do it knowingly or unknowingly. It is important to make it intentional. We tend to be extremely critical of ourselves but this exercise helps us to develop a more balanced perspective about ourselves and situations. Whilst we acknowledge the facts, we can learn to be more hopeful and optimistic. When we succeed, it means we can achieve more; if we fail it means we gain more wisdom to start again, improve or set better priorities. We win either way! So encourage yourself daily, forgive yourself, be proud of who you are, celebrate your daily wins, be kind to yourself and learn to be confident!
Thanks for reading, and I hope you find these habits useful in the new year! Don’t forget to tell me how it goes and if there are any others you developed.