4 Tips for Anyone Trying to Make New Habits Stick

Some time ago I was reading Robin Sharma’s books, and I felt like I needed some change in my life. I then took up the habit of getting up early every day (around 5 am), to meditate, write, and exercise.

When I started this new habit, it felt amazing. I was proud of myself—I was doing it!

On top of the satisfaction, I really felt the benefit of being productive before everyone wakes up. It had a very positive effect on my life. I was upbeat, motivated, and I was doing things with a spring in my step.

It was amazing, for about two months. But then, normal life happened. I had been to bed later for some nights — parties with friends, watching a movie, etc — and tiredness, coupled with maybe the weariness of the new habits, quickly took over.

One morning, I did not jump out of bed and I was longing to roll over instead of starting my “productive morning.”

 

If you are a human being like me, I am sure you are very familiar with taking up new habits, only to give them up two or three weeks or months later.  We’ve all been there, right? Making promises to go to the gym three times a week, stop eating junk food, or stop drinking alcohol altogether?

We take up new habits, only to let them die away after a few weeks.

Have you noticed how different the feeling is between when you start and when you give up?

There’s indeed a very negative effect on your life, having a little voice in your head constantly reminding you that you have failed this or that.

You don’t have to beat yourself up for dropping new healthy habits. You’re not the only one out there; we’re all doing it (or not doing it). But don’t lose hope just yet!

I used to be very annoyed with myself when I stopped the new routine, as it gave me the feeling that my goal had not been achieved.

However, unless you are in a life-threatening situation and seriously need to change your lifestyle, I think that we need to take a different perspective on things.

Here are few practices that can help you sustain the habits you’ve been trying to cultivate – check them!

1. Don’t go wild with changes.

The most important part of building a new habit is setting attainable goals and staying consistent. It doesn’t matter how well you perform daily. Sustained effort is what makes the real difference.

For that reason, when you start a new habit it should be so easy that you can’t say no to it.

– Want to build an exercise habit? Pick some you can do even at home, for 7 minutes;
– 
Want to increase your vocabulary? Learn three words a day;
– Want to create a healthy eating habit? Limit eating jun, don’t cut it at once;
– Want to read a new book? Have a goal of 4 pages per day.

It doesn’t matter if you start small because there will be plenty of time to pick up the intensity later. In the end, it’s about starting somewhere. 🙂

2. Reflect on what you have learned or gained, even if the habit has stopped.

Part of the reason we give up is that we put ourselves under pressure to make things happen quickly. We try to make grand, sweeping changes in our lives and expecting overnight change.

If this doesn’t happen we soon become discouraged and quit. We lose sight of any and all progress we’ve made towards our goals.

Stop!

Stop and reflect back on how far you’ve come since you started the habit. Maybe you practiced eating healthy for 3 months and left. But in those 3 months, your body benefitted with it and so did your life.

Stopping doesn’t mean you have failed. You can always get back up and try again.

3. Develop a plan

Dan John, a popular strength and conditioning coach, often tells his athletes:You’re not good enough to be disappointed.”

The same is true when you build a new habit. What were you expecting? To succeed without failing from the very beginning? To be perfect even when people who have been doing this for years make mistakes on a regular basis?

Address the root cause of what’s stopping you. Once you understand it completely make a plan on how you’re going to overcome it.

Here are a few tips you can use:

– Set proper time limits;
– Forget about performance and focus on growing;
– Make this your new motto: “never miss twice.”

The “never miss twice” motto is quite useful when you actually practice it. Maybe you’ll miss one workout, but you’re not going to miss two in a row. Maybe you’ll eat an entire pizza, but follow it up with a healthy meal.

4. Reward yourself

If you really aren’t good at making it to the gym every time you really, really, really want to, you might have to bribe yourself.

Transfer 5 bucks to your savings or Paytm account every time you do what you were trying to do-  or just put money in a jar. You’re not making any money, but you’ll have some savings to reward yourself later on.

There are no tricks, hacks, or ninja secrets to making it work.

These practices are incredibly simple and that’s exactly why they’re so powerful. We can set some rules for us or have no rules at all. The choice is ours. But it’s so simple, that if we commit to it, we can make it happen.

Simple doesn’t mean easy, these practices still take work. And that’s a good thing, as our goals will be all the sweeter if we’ve applied ourselves along the way.

Stay consistent and you may get surprised by where it takes you. 🙂

Let us know in the comments section below how your new habits are coming along for you.

To read next: 4 Time Management tips to boost your productivity.


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

Is Mental Health a Taboo? Why?

Adolescence and the early years of adulthood are a time for changes in life. Changing schools, changing friends, leaving home, starting university or even a new job. Many many things can occur. For some or many, these are exciting times. But, for some, they can also bring out stress and anxiety. In some cases,  these feelings can build up and affect your mental health.

And we constantly contribute to that even without noticing. Some “small” things can have a big impact. When you call a person fat or skinny, even though you aren’t serious about it.

That might be unknowingly hurtful to them, this bad feeling could result in increasing their anxiety levels.

Mental Health should not be a taboo.

You may think that mental health is something far from you, or it’s “an exaggeration”, but it’s more common than you think. A mental illness causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life.

And there’s no right answer to what lead someone to become mentally ill. It can come from many things.

Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases. It can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease.

mental health - depression is a disorder not a decision

These are the most common mental health conditions, which you probably heard about before:

1. Anxiety Disorders – More than 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.

2. Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.

How can we look after it?

It’s important to take care of ourselves and others, to get the most from life. Here are some of the ways that you can start from today itself:

1. Talk and Listen

Talk about your feelings, it helps you to stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Don’t forget to listen to others as well 🙂

2. Exercise

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy and is very important towards improving your mental health.

3. Take a break

A change of environment is good for your mental health. Take a break and do something you feel good about. For instance: Volunteer, when you feel very unproductive about yourself.

4. Ask for help

We are humans, we all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go according to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help.

5. Do something you’re good at

What activities do you lose yourself in? Play a loud music, bang your head to the beats, jump to reach the top of the world, enjoying yourself helps you to beat the stress 🙂

Even after trying a certain number of things, you still feel mentally tired or ill. You should go to a counselor. Yes, some people make fun about it and might call you crazy, but, that’s not true.

Imagine when you have flu, all you need is some dosage of medicines, and you’re back to healthy living. The same way our brain needs counseling sometimes and it’s back to the track, in fact sometimes we do better then we were doing initially.

We pick ourselves up, only after falling.

Mental Health Awareness is something much needed in today’s generation. It’s a delicate yet much-needed topic to be talked about. Sometimes the best we can do to help people going through a mental illness is listening and letting them know how to get some support. Do you know other ways that we can all do our part, breaking up the “taboo” status of Mental Health? Share your thoughts with us.

If you also want to get closer and more involved in supporting actions like these, check out our Volunteer Exchanges options.

If you liked this blog, you may also like: Why gender equality is still not achieved, and how can you help it.


Written by

Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.

Choices, chances & changes – Three Cs that can change your life

Ever felt down in the dumps, absolutely sure that you wanted to transform your life but no idea where to start from?

Ever wondered what might have been?

Ever thought about where and who you’d be if only you’d done something differently, gone somewhere else, chosen something or someone else?

Probably yes, if you’re like most of us.

But, have you ever imagined where you might go and what you might still become, with the choices and chances you yet have left?

Choices, chances, and changesThe three ‘C’s of Life  

There are a lot of people who say that life comes down to the balancing act of these three things.

According to the saying “you must make a choice to take a chance, or your life will never change.”

But how do these 3 C’s affect our lives? How can we adapt them to create a life that we don’t regret? Let’s take a look 🙂

Choices

“Life is the sum of all your choices.” ~Albert Camus

Some say that every moment is a choice, while others say it’s every day. Many, of course, just wait until the obvious choices come to them, which is a choice in itself.

everything is a choice - choices

Every day we are faced with decisions – some large, some small.

The decision may be overwhelming at the time, but, the truth is, an outcome is going to happen regardless. Make the best of it. Choose what’s right and most importantly, go with your gut.

Life can be hard sometimes and the path is not always clear. But if we are making choices, either way, we sure would rather be picking the path that leads us closer to our vision than letting fear make the choice by default.

Chances

“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.” ~Denis Waitley

By making a choice, it is by default taking a chance, which leads us to focus even more on the obstacles that surround us. We sure wouldn’t want to be that person who’d, later on, end up saying ‘I wish I had done this or been there’?

take a chance, you never know what might happen - choices

The point is if you want to accomplish something you have to take a chance.

For example: Like that guy/girl? You have to take a chance and ask them out 😉

Want to quit your job and chase your passion? You have to take the plunge, quit your job, and make it happen.

Changes

“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb

Everything changes, even as the saying goes: “The only constant is change”, so why do we resist it so much, why can’t we embrace it?

It’s funny how pretty much all I know comes down to just one thing.  Change.

"There is always a chance to change and make things right - choices

The most uncomfortable part of the equation, yet, the most rewarding. By embracing change, we open the door to opportunity. With opportunity comes success.

Maybe you’re stuck in a rut, or a situation where it feels as if you’re going nowhere. Change. Welcome new beginnings 🙂

C+C+C = Life

However many chances remain in our lives, we better make the most of them, right?

We better be prepared for them. We better be ready—not only to make the choice but to see it through.

Life is the sum of our choices. If our chances are short-lived, as they are, then there are but few choices left that may change us forever.

What will you do with those choices? Are you ready for them?

You may also be interested in checking our article “5 Myths About Being an Introvert“.

If you feel like taking a chance today that can change your life forever, check out our exchange opportunities at aiesec.in/students.


Written by

Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.

5 Myths About Being An Introvert

A few months ago I attended the most beautiful conference in 20 years of my life.

A conference full of the most passionate and energetic youth from all over the country, and some foreigners too. We danced, we shouted, we played and we worked. We were sleepless for 6 days straight, yet we were full of energy.

However, there is one thing that I heard there that really bothered me, and I wanted to talk about it ever since. “I was an introvert before I joined the organization, and now I am an extrovert. I love how I am able to communicate with people now.”

The responses came flooding in with appreciations. I sat myself down, thinking that it might put somebody’s energy and confidence down. But inside, I kept asking myself: “Why? What’s wrong with being an introvert?”.

Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Marissa Mayer are all remarkable leaders – and introverts. Being an introvert is not a bad thing.

Although we tend to think of leaders as loud, extroverted and confident, the opposite might be true.

What is introversion?

An introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. These people like spending time alone and they get drained by enough socializing.

The opposite of an Introvert is an Extrovert.

An extrovert is a person concerned more with the socializing and physical environment than with inner thoughts and feelings. These people love making new friends and parties.

Yet, there is so much more to introversion than this.

So, let’s break some misconceptions about introversion 🙂

1. Being an introvert is not the same as being shy

People say that “shyness” is the trait that helps us recognize whether a person is an introvert.

No, there’s a difference.

Shyness means getting nervous and self-conscious in social situations. Even extroverts can have this trait. It’s not like extroverts just run around chatting with strangers all the time.

Introversion is when socializing wears you out. You might not be nervous or shy at all. In fact, many introverts like meaningful socializing, but it just tires them out. That’s why they avoid extra socializing.

You can be an introvert and shy, or you can be an extrovert and shy. One thing is not directly connected to the other 😉

If we compare socializing to running, then extroverts are marathon runners, and introverts are sprinters. Does it mean they don’t like running? No! It just makes them really tired after a while, and they need to conserve their energy.

2. Introverts don’t dislike people

They hate spending all their time around people, they don’t hate people. They just need a good amount of time to recharge themselves after some socialization.

Everyone is born with an innate temperament — a way that you gain energy and prefer to interact with the world. Introversion and extroversion are temperaments.

Introverts just need alone time to gain their energy and go back to interaction.

3. Introverts are not poor public speakers

Introverts generally spend more time preparing for their presentations and speeches, rather than just flying by the seat of their pants.  

Many introverts are naturally gifted speakers. They have excellent communication because of their amazing listening abilitiesBut anyone can work on communication skills, either being an introvert or an extrovert.

4. Introverts don’t need to “get better” just for being an introvert

Yes, if an introvert is completely out of social energy, they start getting a little crabby or simply zoned out. It doesn’t mean that they’re trying to be rude.

In fact, they’re a lot more friendly if you give them some time to recharge themselves.

Being an introvert is part of who they are, and it can be a source of excellence. We are at our best when we embrace our nature and use it as a source of strength.

5. Introverts can’t become an extrovert

There are plenty of introverts out there who wish they could be more outgoing, but this isn’t the same thing as becoming an extrovert.

First, there are no drawbacks to being an introvert.

Introverts, like everyone, can improve their social skills like communication and become more capable in social situations. But it won’t change the fact that those interactions, after some time, will start to drain them.

Many people falsely believe that introverts can (or want to) “unlearn” their quiet and silent tendencies.

Introversion is an inborn personality type, it cannot be altered. Therefore, an introvert can’t become an extrovert.

In fact, when it comes to leadership, introverts are confident leaders who are particularly effective at managing a lot of extroverts because of their listening abilities 😉

Being an Introvert is a gift. Today the world is in need of people who go deeper, think before they act, and look at things in new ways.

The world wants people who value meaningful relationships over meaningless small talks. And the world is welcoming thoughtful and contemplative people, who bring calm and wisdom to a room.

If you think you are an introvert, here are two easy methods that can help you with better socializing 🙂

  • Stretch the limits of your comfort zone:

It is always said that great things come out from your comfort zone. So, gather guts and talk to people.

Start with introducing yourself to everyone. Most important is, to start with the low key. Talk about things you’ve already experienced. Don’t hesitate to say yes to the outing plans.

It doesn’t happen in one day, but working on it helps you a lot.

My personally experienced method is volunteering. When I volunteered, I met a lot of like-minded people. We all were there to work for the same cause and improve our own selves by stepping out of our comfort zones.

Which made it easy for all of us to communicate with each other.

  • Learn to get involved in a conversation

By being involved I don’t only mean is to listen. your skills should be balanced in both the ways.

Sometimes, mere listening creates an awkward silence. It can be interrupted only by your talking. Thus, it is very important to develop conversation skills.

Being able to talk gives you confidence in various social situations. With practicing, you can definitely overcome your fears. You may also check 4 ways to improve your communication skills 🙂

Let us know how you feel about it. We’d love to know your views and what skills would you like to develop in yourself 🙂

We at AIESEC have many projects around the world which helps you to overcome your fears and gain confidence, apart from contributing towards world issues.

Check them out at www.aiesec.in/students

 


Written by

Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.

4 Different Concepts of Peace – and How to Achieve It

Today we celebrate the International Day of Peace. Although we know that in many countries peace is still not a reality, it’s not a reason to feel powerless.

We should also take our time to think of the peace which we can contribute to, every day, around ourselves.

Think about it: what is peace?

The obvious answer  – and the place where our mind instantly takes us – is the absence of war. But this question goes way beyond that.

There are many other types of peace in the world, besides armed conflicts.

Whenever there’s conflict, there can be peace. And most of this is on our reach, we can actually do something to shape our world into a better place.

A peaceful home

This is probably the first place where a lot of kids get to know conflict.

Let’s not even go to a house where physical violence prevalence, which we know there are many. Husbands hitting their wives, parents hitting their kids. But some conflicts are not physical.

The mental violence inside a house can turn someone’s life into a living hell, and all you want is to see it stopping. We can do our part.

Lilo and Stitch loving family peace

We can avoid unnecessary arguments, or if the argument is necessary, we can try to lead it in a calmer and civilized way.

If you’re not well in your own home, or maybe you are the one disturbing the peace, it’s time to take some action upon it.

A healthy study or work environment

We see it every day, in real life and in fiction. Co-workers harming each other, kids bullying their classmates, teachers, and bosses disturbing the ones they lead.

Besides (obviously) not doing this sort of things, we can also actively prevent them from happening. If you see anything from this sort, have some courage, speak out!

The same way you put forward your opinions about fashion, sports or politics, this is something you should speak for.

We should defend peace in your own environment, not only for our sake but also for others.

Walking the streets in safety       

Most of us already had this feeling, of not being safe when we walk the streets at night.

Depending on where we live, it can be a constant fear, even in bright daylight. A country doesn’t need to be at war to have constant violence in its cities.

What can we do about it?

For starters, we can vote consciously. Take some good though, do a proper research on the candidates for your city, state or country. What do they propose to decrease violence?

And keep in mind that not always having a more strict and intolerant armed body is the solution: investments in education, lights, and streets cameras already help a lot!

Finding peace with yourself

This may be the most important one.

One can be at peace in the streets, in the house, or at work, but the one place we can never run from is ourselves.

Accepting, understanding and loving yourself may come as a big challenge, especially if the external environment is already unfavorable.

We tend to feel guilty. We judge and blame ourselves, much more than others do, and even more than we do with others. This is not fair, and it’s not easy. But it’s one peace that can only come from your own actions.

You need to be the first responsible for treating you well, accepting who you are and taking it easy. Respect your limitations and recognize your strengths!

There are many things you can do to help yourself: meditate, exercise, write a journal, or seek for a psychologist… The important is to do something 🙂

Maybe we can’t stop some national wars right now, but we can act every day in favor of peace.

All it takes is some courage and attitude.

Take some time to reflect upon these things, and understand: what actions you can take to make your world a bit more peaceful?

To read next: “Are we human enough?