Habits drive our daily actions and steer the direction of our lives. They influence our wellbeing and overall quality of life. Responsible for nearly half of everything we do at the subconscious level, there is nothing stronger than habit.
Making a choice that is one percent better or one percent worse seems insignificant in the present moment—you can’t see the alarming consequences or the long-term benefits—but compounded over ten or twenty years, these choices can well and truly change the trajectory of your life.
We asked a few friends of Saint Belford to share one habit they’ve built in the last 12 months to inspire some healthy habit-building of your own.
The one thing that has had a really big impact on my mental wellbeing over the past 12 months is music!
I was in the non-helpful habit of diving straight into social media and email scrolls when I woke up in the morning. It would always leave me feeling a certain type of way and it set a tone for my day which never felt good or productive. I was able to identify pretty quickly that by having the phone near me, I was letting myself get into a cycle with this habit, but no matter what I tried, whether it be turning off notifications or leaving my phone in another room, I always managed to fall back.
That was until I figured out that I could lean towards music to start the day. What I did was create a whole heap of morning playlists for myself so that when the alarm goes off, I pick up my phone like normal, but instead of clicking into a million things, I click into my Spotify playlists. I get to choose the morning vibe that I am after and let the music fuel my first 5-10 minutes.
It eases me into the day, waking me up gently, and gets me ready for everything that awaits. I love this new habit and I don't plan on it changing any time soon!
I’ve started each day by sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and reading a few pages of poetry. I find poetry to be something that I can read in quiet moments alone and yet often the words make me feel connected to others and to something bigger than myself. This year I’ve ready many books of poetry, my favourite was ‘All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols. It was visually so beautiful to look at, while her words made me feel inspired and hopeful. I’ve found it a comforting and uplifting way to start each day.
I’ve started journalling in the morning for five minutes (stream of consciousness style journalling) to declutter my mind and begin the day with fewer tabs open in my brain.
Often, I’ll be thinking about the dream I had or what’s on my to-do list or replaying events from yesterday. Journalling gives me an opportunity to mindfully acknowledge and address those thoughts instead of letting them brew throughout the day. It helps me begin the day slowly and calmly.
Sometimes, my journalling session will also involve writing and rewriting affirmations or mantras that I want to embody throughout the day. It’s kind of like giving myself a pep talk.
A simple habit I’ve recently built is to not check social media before 12pm each day. It allows me to make sure I’m being proactive rather than reactive in the most productive morning hours of the day, and it’s not such a huge limitation that I feel overly restricted.
I’ve noticed a strong correlation that the longer I delay checking social media, the happier, more productive and balanced I feel for the rest of the day.
One thing I've been doing is waking up at 4:45am every morning (including weekends) and having that extra hour before I need to start my day, whether that's going to the gym or yoga or working, allows me to get grounded and centred as well as focused on the day ahead.
I'll meditate, do my breathwork and journal while enjoying a cup of coffee and I find it gives me clarity because I've downloaded all my thoughts and the noise that would otherwise preoccupy my mind during the day.
ALSO cold showers in the morning - game changer. It resets and wakes up the nervous system and along with breathwork stimulates the brain and kickstarts it!