About a year ago I made a simple move that sparked significant change. I plugged my phone in a different room before going to bed. That’s it… It sounds pretty insignificant. But as a “serial scroller”, I found my social media consumption to be disruptive – particularly before bed. I’d be tired – exhausted even. And yet I’d scroll through Instagram and Facebook – just for something to do. For no other reason other than that was my habit. My habit was keeping me up anywhere from 10 minutes to a full hour – every night! And if I happened to wake up during the night? You guessed it – I’d grab my phone and scroll. Then I decided to put my charging cord in the kitchen, and plug my phone in there before I went to bed. My sleep habits improved immediately.
Other “starting rituals” can be meaningfully beneficial to your healthy habits – even if they aren’t necessarily healthy habits themselves. One example from my own life has been making my bed. For some reason this simple, 30 second morning ritual has helped spark other morning habits that get my day off on the right track. Subconsciously, perhaps there is a calmness of knowing that there is one aspect of my life that is in order. This perhaps prompts other actions that bring about body and mind harmony.
And with that, so too did my productivity. The additional restoration supplied me with the energy to be more active, write, create and be more present with my children, clients and friends. Not only was I un-distracted before bed, having to get out of bed and zombie-walk into another room to turn off my alarm – removing the all-too-easy urge to hit “snooze” (which I did daily when my phone was right beside me). Sometimes a single, keystone habit can have a cascading effect on other positive habits. In the example above, let’s say you have an outcome goal of losing 20 lbs. This requires a system of meal preparation and deliberate movement Which requires consistent grocery shopping and carving out workout times Which requires additional time Which may require waking up earlier Which (ideally) requires going to sleep earlier Which requires a reliable and repeatable bedtime ritual.
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