“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” John Dryden, 1631-1700
I’m really excited to welcome guest writer Salma El-Shurafa from The Pathway Project. Salma is an Executive Coach, based out of Dubai – I love her message and her writing style, so am delighted to feature her.
by Salma El-Shurafa
John Dryden was correct when he implied that we are what we make of ourselves, that our daily rituals and habits are what make us distinctly human. They appear in all aspects of our lives and are wide ranging, from the way we approach sleep, to how we like to dress, what we eat, our work routine and the way in which we tend to speak to others. They are what make us unique and different to all other human beings.
We often categorize habits as good or bad, either having a positive or negative impact on our lives. Many of these habits, good or bad, are performed subconsciously.
Good habits are those that nurture our own being and our relationships with others. They empower us and enrich our lives. While we certainly already perform many good habits subconsciously, we can also deliberately make a choice to add more to our lives.
When we fall into tough times, perhaps faced with difficult situations or with hard decisions to make, it is imperative that we are at our best. When we have nurtured ourselves through positive, everyday habits, we can feel confident and more ready to work out how to overcome obstacles. Our world may have been rocked, but we have solid foundations to fall back on.
Here are 7 everyday habits that you can consciously perform to empower you to be your best self:
1. Choose to Rise Early
There are countless benefits to emerging from your bed earlier in the day. Most importantly, by using the time when we feel freshest to a greater degree and by adding more minutes to our waking hours, we are simply more productive.
Getting up earlier also allows us to start our day calmly, and to introduce some really positive rituals and routines that will stand us in good stead for the rest of the day.
2. Choose to Visualize Success
Most agree that affirming your goals is essential to feeling confident and assured, no matter what your day or week throws at you.
A perfect way to start the morning: take time at the beginning of each day to close your eyes and visualize a successful future. Fully imagine it, breathe it, feel it. This will fill you with confidence for the day ahead.
3. Choose to Be Organized
Although much of what life throws at us is beyond our power, we can choose to be in control as much as is realistically possible. If chaotic times suddenly occur in an aspect of your life, the feeling that everything else is organized will help keep you calm.
Lists are essential for organizing and feeling in control of the many different aspects of your life, but always prioritize spending a few minutes planning goals and listing what you wish to achieve that day. Enjoy the wonderful feeling at the end of the day when you look back and see what you have achieved.
4. Choose to Put Yourself First
Many of us are taking care of others, but it is absolutely essential we also look after ourselves so we are always in optimum health. Make sure that every single day, you eat 3 healthy meals and nutritious snacks, drink plenty of water, do some exercise, and get some fresh air. Treat yourself sometimes too, of course.
If you follow these golden rules, both your body and mind will be energized. If tougher times come along, you will always be ready to give your best.
5. Choose Good Connections
Each day or week, make time for people who have a positive influence on your life. If they leave you feeling energetic, confident and inspired, they are the right people to spend time with. By having regular contact with these people, you can continue to enjoy the positive feeling they give you, even through darker times.
6. Choose Peace and Quiet Every Day
Most of us struggle to have some quiet alone time each day thanks to busy lives and busy homes. Yet 15 minutes or so of peace and quiet in our day, reflecting, restoring and refocusing is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It is not selfish since it allows us to be at our best when others need us.
7. Choose Sleep
While it is necessary to rise early, you cannot be at your best unless you have had sufficient sleep. This can be difficult, especially during tougher times when we tend to lie awake wrestling our worries. Yet, it is at these times we need our best selves to provide good judgement.
On a day-to-day basis, we can form good sleep habits by avoiding late night screen time or caffeine, and by providing ourselves with a calm, restful and quiet space to sleep.
When faced with tough times, if we have made our everyday lifestyle choices more positive, we can feel safe in the knowledge that we are facing our difficulties with the most energized and empowered versions of ourselves.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.