Whether we realize it or not, we all have tons of habits, and while the good ones make a huge difference over time, so can the bad ones.
Without good habits, we may fail to accomplish our goals and be more dissatisfied in the long run. If you are curious about why you should develop good habits, then keep reading as we will discuss ten reasons why they are important.
1) Our habits define us
Ultimately we are our habits; the things that we do all the time are who we are, so we derive meaning from those habits. This isn’t to say that we are only our habits, but they play an essential role in making sense of who we are and what is important to us.
At the beginning of this year, I committed to two things: creating a blog with lots of content and getting healthy by riding my bike. Neither of those things would be possible without a consistent effort.
You can probably convince yourself to do anything sometimes, but it is impossible to convince yourself to do something all the time, and so this is where habits come into play.
When we look at who we are and what we do, it usually comes down to a series of habits that we do day in and day out. For this reason, we are our habits, so if we want to see ourselves as good, we need to develop good habits.
2) Good habits are compounding
Good or bad, our habits compound. This means that while doing something once or twice won’t have much effect, making a habit of it will have a sizable impact in time.
Eating a bag of chips after work once will not matter much, but you will see a big difference in your weight after a month or six of this. Equally as important, if you make a habit of practicing something, you will see significant results in time. For myself, riding my bike once or twice doesn’t have much effect, but after nine months, I’ve lost 20 pounds.
Anything you do regularly will have a compounding effect, meaning small, unnoticeable daily changes result in considerable changes in the long run.
3) Our habits fill in where our motivation lacks
It isn’t easy to keep motivated, especially for extended periods, but this is where habits play a role. Rather than trying to motivate ourselves to do something, we should look at maintaining our practices instead.
I can tell you that it would be impossible to motivate myself to ride my bike after a long day. But since I’ve made a habit of doing it every day, I feel bad if I don’t do it, and so that is often all the motivation I need.
While we might not be able to get ourselves to step up to specific challenges, if we make a habit of the desired behaviour, we won’t have any choice but to keep it up. Rather than relying on willpower or motivation, focus on making a habit of regularly doing things you want to do.
4) Our habits enable us to accomplish big things
It would be impossible to lose 20 pounds or write 100 articles in a weekend; those sorts of tasks take time and dedication. By committing to doing something small every day, we enable ourselves to accomplish big things over time. At the same time, while the effort to do something big may seem daunting when it is split up into daily or regular tasks, it isn’t so scary.
It is often impossible to accomplish something significant in a short period of time, so we need to break up those big tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Once we have that plan and groundwork, we need to keep at it, and often making a habit of keeping at it is the best way to get it done.
Anything significant will take repeated efforts, so getting yourself into the habit of making that effort will make what seems impossible more manageable.
5) Good habits make our lives easier
Most of our actions are driven by habit, but when they aren’t, we need to decide. Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that interfere with our ability to make good decisions, such as being stressed, tired or hungry. In these situations, we are more inclined to make bad choices that adversely affect our lives.
I used to work with a guy who never brought a lunch to work, so he would head out to pick up something every day. The problem was that there weren’t a lot of healthy options around, so a lot of the time, he ended up eating crap. On the other hand, I always brought lunch, so it was easy to eat healthily if I had a healthy dinner the day before.
If we can plan and make good habits regarding what we eat, we won’t need to worry about making difficult decisions because they will already be made for us.
6) Good habits help us avoid wasted time
Last year I didn’t have as many good habits as I have today, so whenever I had some free time, I’d tend to sit back and watch youtube videos. The problem, however, was that I never got anything out of that because it was a waste of time. Now I’ve got so many habits that most of my time is committed to something, so I have no time to waste.
We often waste time because we don’t have anything to do or don’t prioritize what we need to do.
This means that wasting time is a filler of free time because nothing else is planned for that space. But at the same time, wasted time makes us feel shitty about our situations and what we are doing with our lives.
Having a series of good habits will ensure that you always have something to do, so you will never unnecessarily waste your time.
7) Good Habits will save you time
When I don’t want to do something, I continuously procrastinate and push it off. This often leads to something that would have taken 30 minutes taking more than an hour. This is something my daughter does too, we are supposed to practice words every day, and she can do it in 10 minutes, but if she cries and whines about doing it, it takes over an hour, which takes away from what could have been a fun time.
When you have made a habit of something, it isn’t something you can avoid anymore because it has become a part of your routine and doesn’t require convincing.
When our days are filled with good habits, we know what we need to do at any given time, so we don’t waste that time and are instead productive.
Knowing that I have to ride my bike every night means that I need to arrange my schedule to fit it in, which in turn means I’m more efficient and effective with my time elsewhere.
8) Good habits help us deal with stress
Often, we feel stressed when we don’t know what we should be doing or when we waste our time knowing we should be doing something else. We ensure that we get the things done that we need to get done by creating good habits. And by being productive with our time, we avoid the things that cause us stress.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve made a habit of exercising every day, so I always make time for it. We all know that exercise helps with stress, so making a habit of doing it every day will keep us healthy and stress-free. More practically speaking, good habits help us ensure that we get everything we need to do done. Which in turn means that we don’t have to rush at the last minute.
Good habits are important because they help us keep up the activities we need to do and ensure that we don’t leave things to the last minute.
9) Good habits give us confidence
As the first point stated, we are our habits, so we gain confidence to complete what we start when we develop good habits. I would have never thought I’d be able to lose 20 pounds, but now that I have, it makes me feel good about myself and gives me the confidence to do other things.
While we might not see results after a few days of doing a task, the effects are magnified when it becomes a habit, giving us greater confidence in our abilities.
At the same time, when we use routines to accomplish things that we didn’t think were possible, it provides us with the power to do similar tasks in the future.
Any time we progress towards our goals, it makes us feel good about ourselves and what we can do. Good habits are an essential tool that allows us to accomplish our goals and feel confident in what we can do.
10) Good habits improve our health and wellbeing
We all know that eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep and exercising are all part of a healthy lifestyle. Luckily, by developing good habits around these areas, we can constantly improve our health and wellbeing.
Making a habit of doing good things ensures that you do those things regularly and, as a result, have good health. As I’ve mentioned, my biking habit has helped me lose lots of weight, but it also encourages me to eat healthily and avoid other bad habits. Put differently, when we get into the habit of being healthy, doing bad things for our health seems worse, and we are naturally pushed away from them.
While it is easy to say that you should develop good habits, it takes time and effort.
But it is possible if you believe in the process and are willing to commit to the types of activities that will make a difference in the long run. Also, as we are our habits, it is better to have many good practices, as they will positively contribute to health and sense of wellbeing.