"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us."
We humans are quite habitual in nature. Science tells us we spend about half of our day on autopilot. With that it mind, our habits, both healthy and unhealthy, can play a fairly significant role in shaping our quality of life. Most of us have our personal vices that we unconsciously cling to while forging through the day: poor choice of words, or snacks, or both. When we find ourselves in a comfort zone of unwanted habits, it's up to us to do something about it if we intend to live a better quality of life. One way to accomplish this is by exchanging unhealthy habits for healthy ones.
I had a bad habit of replaying old scenes in my head of what I refer to as my 'moments of shame.' I would let those unwanted reruns prevent me from staying focused and living more in the present. I noticed this when I would go on runs, especially if I was not listening to music that day. I needed something to distract me from my unwanted thoughts. I decided to create a game for myself where I would label the things I would see as I ran through the streets of Chicago. Mail truck. White wooden fence. Stop sign. Inevitably, I would get lost in everything I was labeling and be more interested in my surroundings than my thoughts.
I have had issues with mindlessly scrolling through Twitter or falling down YouTube rabbit holes. Now, when I catch myself doing this, I redirect my attention to creating content instead of consuming it. I love creating stuff more than I like consuming it, so it's not a drag for me to shift my focus to doing something that is helping me to achieve my personal goals. The bigger issue for me is catching myself in the act before getting sucked into the hidden corners of the internet for a couple hours, yet again, with nothing to show for it..
I realized if I wanted to live a more fulfilling life of purpose and joy I had to create healthy habits for my body and my mind. Replacing unhealthy snacks with healthier snacks was a good start for me, but I still love to indulge. Replacing unhealthy thoughts with more self-awareness and mindfulness was the game-changer for me. I stopped indulging in the negativity. By focusing on more of what we want, we can form habits that allow us to let go of old patterns that no longer serve a purpose or limit our potential. We can continue becoming our best selves by incorporating more healthy habits into our lives.