If you are a woman over 50 I bet you’ve got your act pretty well together don’t you? Sure, there may be a few items that need tweaking, but for the most part you’ve got this thing called life figured out. I mean you didn’t get to where you are today without figuring out a thing or two. Right?
I have a pretty good life. Great boyfriend, excellent job, no drama, and the bills paid on time. I do as I please most days. I feel that I’ve got life right where I want it. (A far cry from where I was just five short years ago but that’s a story for another time!)
Or do I?
Even though I live the most incredible life now I have some tweaks I need and want to make. I get excited at the possibility that my life could be even grander.
Is it time to level up?
A few years ago I became fascinated with habits, how they are formed, and why couldn’t I just stop all those bad habits! My research led me to a myriad of areas outside of habits, such as willpower, and sabotage which led me to understand that my ability to start good habits wasn’t just neurological.
By the time you reach 50, you’ve probably settled into quite a few routines. Â You have a morning routine, a lunch time routine, an evening routine, a vacation routine, a weekend routine…
Maybe a glass of wine or two after work.
You eat granola and yogurt most mornings for breakfast.
You travel to Colorado every summer.
On the weekends you hit up a local place for music.
On Sunday you hang out in your pajamas drinking coffee.
Your Habits Comforting or Limiting?
Did you know that approximately 50% of your decisions are merely habits? Unconscious behaviors you perform by rote. These habits and routines are so entrenched you think you are consciously deciding to eat granola and yogurt every morning for breakfast. Â One day, a long time ago, I made the conscious decision that a glass of wine was just what I needed to cut through the stress of the day, now it’s just a bad habit. I often reach for that glass of wine whether I am stressed or not.
However, operating by rote is an efficient way to work. As a matter of fact, our brain takes events and tasks and turns them into habits. This allows us to focus on the other 50% of our time to learn new skills, and be on the lookout for danger, and be ready for whatever new things life throws at us.
Your morning or evening routines keeps you from getting bogged down in all the small details and lets you use that brain space for more important things. You can brush your teeth while going into your closet to decide what to wear.
I had a bit of an an aha moment before I sat down to pound out this blog. However grand I think my life is I live the daily grind. (The list above, that’s mine.)
I take great comfort in my daily grind. I don’t like chaos, and my habits allow me to go about my days with little worry. Building routine is preserves my safety, and my sanity!
A few of my daily grind habits are holding me back.
My almost daily wine habit after work to relax and unwind.
Binge watching TV after dinner.
My weekend habit of hanging out all day in my pajamas drinking coffee.
My habit of procrastination.
And a few others I am sure.
These are unproductive (bad) habits, that do nothing to move my life forward. My life could be even more amaze balls, if I stopped a few bad habits and replaced them with better ones. Â Some of my routines are very limiting. Â I can only imagine what else I could have accomplished. <Sigh>
There are times I need a challenge to add spice to my life, and I am at the perfect stage to live not just a little, but a lot! A whole hell of a lot.
My daily grind has worn out its welcome. Has yours?
I don’t really want to spend my days wasting anymore of my precious time. Do you?
Where do you start?
In my 29-page document, The Science and Art of Breaking Bad Habits, I tell you how habits start, and I also give you some research based tips and ideas to help you start good habits. Don’t forget to grab your copy.
I have three exercises to help you stop the habits and routines in your life that are limiting your potential.
Take a good look at how you spend your time.
Pick a few days out of the week and write down everything you do and how long you engaged in the activates. Then take note of the following:
Are there any glaring patterns or routines?
How much time did you waste on Facebook, engaging in gossip, watching television or other events that aren’t all that productive?
Pick one-time waster and trade it out for a new habit. You just can’t stop a habit, you need to replace with another one.
Decide what new habit you want to develop and ask yourself, What will this new habit do for me?
Here’s a great example for you:
I decide to trade out my wine drinking in the evenings for a 45-minute walk. What this new habit will do for me is, instead of being detrimental to my health, as too much wine can be, walking will be excellent for my physical health, help me relax after a stressful day at work, and save me money from not buying so much wine.
Instead of fantasizing about where you want to be visualize the process, the steps you will take to get there. Work on systems instead of goals, set your environment up for success, and implement a reward system, as a few examples.
Would love your thoughts. Do you feel your habits are beginning to limit your protentional?