What did you do this morning when you got up? What will you do today?
Throughout the day, it may seem like you are making well-considered choices, but it’s likely you are often operating out of habit. More than 40 percent of our actions in any given day are habitual, a 2006 study by Duke University found.
In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that habits emerged because our brains are constantly looking for ways to conserve effort. When we don’t have to think about basic or routine behaviors, we can devote more time to more important and creative tasks.
Duhigg says the three-step habit loop consists of a cue, a routine and a reward.
The cue sends your brain into automatic mode, which kicks in the routine. The routine can be physical, mental or emotional. When an action leads to a reward, your brain will lock it in for future use.
Pursuing a life of meaning and purpose requires a foundation built on habits that support healthy relationships, earning a living wage and creating a safe, supportive home and lifestyle.
In the past two months, we have examined healthy relationships and living wages. Today, I want to discuss building a supportive home and lifestyle by focusing on the three R’s: relax, recharge and rejuvenate.
I’m not talking about turning on the TV, grabbing some comfort food and spending an evening in your favorite chair. I’m talking about consciously cultivating keystone habits that help sustain a meaningful, productive life.
Let’s look at those three R’s.
Relax: To rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious. Of course, you cannot relax if you are stressed. The two primary causes of stress at home are clutter and debt.
Recharge: To revive or restore energy, stamina and enthusiasm.
Many people think recharging involves doing nothing. Not so. The human body restores itself by moving, eating and sleeping.
Throughout the day, try taking at least 10,000 steps, with some in the evening after a healthful meal, which consists largely of vegetables, healthful fat and adequate protein. Eat less than 25 grams of sugar each day. Get seven to nine hours of sleep in a dark room, free of screens and phones and at a temperature that allows you to get your best rest.
Rejuvenate: To make fresh and new again. This involves building supportive, lifeline relationships. You can practice this with the four mindsets in Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Who’s Got Your Back, which are being generous, vulnerable, candid and accountable.
Changing habits can be difficult. Pick one of the three R’s and a keystone habit to begin. Examine your habits: Notice their cues, routines and rewards. What habits are helping you, which ones are harming you?
If it’s a good habit, keep it. If not, disrupt that pattern and build a constructive routine that leads to healthy reward.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns Momentum: Personal Finance. Visit his website, www.personalfinancecoaching.com.