After a long day at the office you’re tired and not in the mood to do anything but go into comatose as you watch reruns of The Big Bang Theory.
No offense to Sheldon and his nerdy crew, but there are better ways to spend your time.
“But I’m tired,” you say. “I had a long day,” you say. It’s these excuses that lead to an endless cycle of work, dinner, TV, repeat.
Do you want to know what helps you make better, more productive decisions? Habits. By forming a habit you are not using a lot of energy to make that decision. You simple do it. Think about brushing your teeth. After dinner do you contemplate whether you really want to brush those pearly whites? (I should hope not). You brush them because you have been doing it ever since you can remember. This same concept can apply to working out or cutting out soda. By forcing yourself to maintain a certain habit, it is no longer a chore. In fact, when you stop doing that habit it becomes foreign. You need the discipline and drive to form the habit. But once that action is concrete, making those productive decisions come easier.
With that being said, let us start forming productive habits now, so we can enjoy a better life later. The following are seven habits I try to work on each day.
Saving Money: Open a 401k and start saving. This forces me to save a portion of my paycheck for retirement. Even if you are investing such a nominal amount, the power of compounding is unreal. For example, imagine if you invested $500 this month. Based on an 8% annual rate of return, in 30 years, you would have $5,300. This habit is worth its weight in gold.
Work Out/Eat Healthy: I’m not talking about eating salads the rest of your life. I’ve had my fair share of pizza and beer. Yet, I make it a habit to work out every morning. I never thought I could do that. However, now when I do not work out in the morning, it feels extremely weird. Like I didn’t brush my teeth. What is the point of making all this money in your new 401k, if you are not going to be around to spend it?
Watch Less TV: I expect some eye rolling at this comment. But what value does television truly provide? It simply is the best time waster imaginable. People spend approximately 34 hours a week sitting in front of the tube. Imagine all the other amazing things you can be doing. Which brings me to my next point.
Invest In Yourself: College should not be the last time you invest in yourself. Only you can improve your well being through experience and knowledge. Read at least two articles in your industry every day. Take a class. Learn a new skill. You will be surprise how these investments will make a difference in your confidence and overall success.
Network: We have heard it before, but it’s all about who you know. Back to the TV case… instead of watching the Big Bang rerun, go to networking events and build relationships with like-minded, successful business professionals. These connections will advance your career faster than imagined.
Travel: Some believe you have to put in the hours when you are young, and enjoy it when you are older. However, I disagree to a point. Work hard and work smart, yet go and travel the world when you are young and able. Make it a habit to visit a new place once a year. Those memories are invaluable.
Enjoy the Present: I came across a quote from the Dalai Lama and it really made an impression on me and I hope it does the same to you:
The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
What other habits do you want to form now, for happiness and success in the future?