7 Good Habits I have Chosen to Make a Positive Change to my Life

“I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions”.jpg

I have made some big changes to my lifestyle recently to encourage positive change and productivity. Getting settled into life back in Ireland financially has been the biggest hurdle. I wouldn’t change my life of travel for a second, but it does leave us far behind our peers in various capacities.

I hit a personal low recently with another house move. I was resisting all change, having become quite comfortable in my routines. However, the move was a necessity and has put us in a position of needing to move house for a third time this year as I couldn’t find a nice, reasonably priced property to rent in a rush. This is my entry level into the Irish housing crisis. Rents are quite high in relation to the salaries here, but we have come from Switzerland where the rents were extremely high also, so it is not a major shock.

The process set me on a short journey of rediscovery. I was waking up in the middle of the night having panic attacks about making big decisions. I started to write everything down - these moments of clarity at 2am and 3am.

I wrote down what was in my heart as it felt like I had a voice that was screaming out to me in the middle of the night, whereas during the day my head of reason took over with lots of doubts and questions and “what ifs”.

My heart told me where I wanted to go, my head told me that it was going to be difficult to go there. So on a piece of paper I wrote down where I was and where I wanted to go. I connected them with an arrow and wrote the word ‘How’. This unbelievably simple word was the answer to all of my problems. It gave me direction to make a decision and then find a way to make it happen. Instead of being blinded by financial and personal fear, I could see a path forwards.

Through the house move, I ended up with quite a long commute to work. Within a week I started to feel like it was an impossibly long commute, but I love my work. I had to find a solution. I discovered (way behind the rest of the population I’m sure) podcasts and audiobooks. A world of motivation opened up to me and I began to feel like I could do things and start to make the answer to the question ‘How?’ a reality.

A habit is something that takes time to create. I have stuck to these habits for a month now and plan to keep these positive changes as part of my life.

  1. Go to bed early and get up early. I aim to be in bed reading between 9pm and 10pm every night. I am a morning kind of person anyway, so this routine allows me to be my most productive self. I listened to a podcast that said if you get up one hour earlier and work for that one hour every day of the week, you get 7 hours extra - essentially a whole day of work. Time is something that I always feel I don’t have enough of, so to be given the gift of an extra day is life changing for me. I put supports in place to make this hour the most constructive possible ‘- the night before I lay out my computer and books and phone in the kitchen, with a candle and a lighter ad a glass of water. In the bedroom I lay out my exercise clothes to jump straight into and set my alarm for 5.15am.

  2. Have a set routine for my early morning hour of golden time. I could quite easily get distracted, so I need a plan to make this hour work for me. I also make most of the hour offline, so that I can’t get sucked into any kind of web browsing or social media. I don’t check emails. Everybody is uniquely different, but having read the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod I follow some of the steps there:

    • Drink a glass of water

    • Exercise for 15 mintues - either a yoga routine form YouTube or some Insanity warmup

    • Affirmations - I say a list of 8 - 10 positive affirmations

    • Meditate for 5 minutes with my eyes closed, using the Insight Timer app.

    • Journal

    • Take one positive step on my business process. (write a blog post / send some emails / research a topic / write a plan)

  3. Journalling - last year when we moved from Antigua back to Ireland, I enlisted the help of a life coach to keep the voiced of fear in my mind at bay. One of her suggestions to me was to start journalling. I have always loved to write and always kept a diary as a kid. However, when I tried, it didn’t sit right with me. It felt odd to be writing down each night all of the things that had happened to me during the day. But now I have nearly filled a notebook in a month already - I have discovered what journalling is to me - it is not a list of what has happened in the past, rather it takes a constructive format for me. This avoids getting distracted, as if someone is telling me what to write every day. For example, I write 3 things that I am grateful for, I write what I want to achieve this week or tomorrow and give myself a pat on the back for what I have achieved yesterday or last week. If I am struggling with a decision or a plan, I write out where I want to be and ask the question How and lots of possible solutions.

  4. Made a list of the things that I want to stop doing, or do less of. I was surprised when I did this and found a much happier version of myself when I implemented it. Most of it is technology based as that is my big time waster. I block off time to check emails and social media, so that it is not a constant checking of my phone. I decided not to watch TV 5 days a week. I enjoy to watch a movie with the kids on the weekend, snuggled up on the couch together, but I don’t need to mindlessly watch aimless shows and flick channels until I go to bed at 11pm. I always kidded myself that was my ‘me time’. Realistically it was me turning into a ‘mombie’ - an exhausted mom for no particular reason.

  5. Tidy up and clear out clutter one step at a time - instead of being overwhelmed by the chaos, I take one step every day to clean it all up. Typically I leave everything for a major cleanup once a week and then see how long it lasts. Now I schedule 15 minutes in every day to clean up and the weekly burden is less. I include cleaning out drawers and cupboards as part of this - that way I don’t get grumpy and spend a week doing it every season.

  6. Light candles and read books. I want to make my good habits nice as well as productive. I love to read and the simple act of lighting a candle changes the ambiance of the room instantly. I love scented candles and ask for them as gifts for birthday and Christmas so that I always have a stock of them. It is such a little personal treat and the whole family can benefit from the good vibes.

  7. Say ‘no’ and know when to stop. This has been a hugely bad habit in my life. I always say yes to doing things to please other people. Now, if my instinct is to say no, I just say it. I value my time more. I also know when to stop. For example, often when I have finished writing a blog post, I would go to my browser and spend a little time searching for something random or looking at pinterest. It was as if I was pretending to be still writing, but actually veering off track. It is essentially what I have been telling my children not to do, not to pretend that they are still playing the same round of Fortnite, when I asked them to turn it off.

In a way, even writing these bad habits down here and sharing them, gives me a sense of accountability. I can no longer hide. These habits are in place to make a positive change to my life and there is no point slacking off.

I am not a product of my circumstances, I am a product of my decisions
— Stephen Covey