by Susan McCarthy
When you’re thinking of simplifying your life, chances are that you think of the big things – decluttering unwanted and unnecessary items from your home; backing out of committees and meetings that you realize don’t connect with your values; and even saying “no” to negative relationships that drain your energy.
What you may not think of when simplifying your life is adding habits. Your first reaction to the word habits may be feelings of restriction and boredom. However, habits allow you to simplify decision-making in many necessary areas of your life that support the greater goals you have for your life.
Choosing the right habits can make it easier to do the types of things that allow you to keep your home organized, your body energized, and your schedule purposeful instead of busily unproductive. This is one of those counterintuitive areas where planning to do more can help to create a simpler, calmer life with time for the activities, people, and experiences important to you.
What Is a Habit?
A habit automates an action. This can be something that happens intentionally or unintentionally. Chances are that you put more emphasis on your bad habits while overlooking the good habits you’ve established.
And while you may feel that habits just “happen” you can create habits when you understand what they are made of.
When Clear adds “craving” to his description, he’s talking about our motivation to engage in a habitual action. Because Fogg describes how to design habits, he asks us to figure out how motivated we are to develop a habit before we start forcing ourselves to practice the behavior.
The reward for the habit isn’t physical (the snack you grab as part of your Netflix routine or seeing the number of steps you took on your daily walk), but the feeling you experience for going through the habit. That snack may be part of a feeling of relaxation while the number of steps that show on your fitness tracker give you a sense of accomplishment.
Whether you refer to your habit as good or bad, it’s providing you with a feeling that’s encouraging you to repeat that behavior. Even if you refer to snacking as a bad habit, you’re still experiencing a positive emotion when you do that action.
Hi, I'm Susan.
And I’m here to help you clear the things cluttering your life so you can do and have more of what’s important to you.