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Cover Image © Merla

9 Good Habits That I’ve Developed in My Adult Life

Yesterday I pointed out 9 bad habits that I needed to let go of, so I felt like today was a good chance to flip that energy and talk about the positive decisions I feel like I’ve made. If you came across the post from yesterday, this is me exercising the last point and NOT forgetting to mention the good things, too.

I believe the seemingly inconsequential things that we decide to do add up in a big compounding way in our lives. If you have three and a half minutes, check out this video before carrying on (if you’ve never seen it). It’s the whole idea in a nutshell.

As with yesterday’s post, none of these are presented in any particular order – but all of them are solid habits that I’ve developed that I plan to keep with me for the long haul.

Exercising Regularly & Watching What I Eat

I try to share bits about my passion for Health & Fitness of the mind and body here on this site because there really are HUGE benefits to focusing on it. You feel stronger, more clear, happier, and you have more energy.

I have a saying tattooed on me that starts at the interior of my left bicep and goes all the way down to the interior of my left tricep. It is in Japanese and from an Anime that I love.

The saying goes: “A sound soul dwells within a sound mind and a sound body.”

I believe in that statement so much that I wanted it inked on me as literally the ONLY text that you’ll find on my person. And I try to remind myself of it every now and then when I’m at the gym or making a conscious decision to eat a little less meat. I say it to myself aloud in both Japanese and in English as I try to embody the spirit of the meaning of those words.

Learning to Loosen Up

I am not the most fun person in the world. I know this about myself.

But I’m waaaaay more fun than I used to be. Back in high school, I would say there was a phase where I just went overly serious in my personality. “Life isn’t a joke so I’m not going to treat it like one,” is one of the little things I used to tell myself in my mind over and over again. That mentality carried over into college.

Well, after living a little bit more and gaining an appreciation for the absurdities around me while intentionally seeking out more chill people to be around – I learned to relax a bit.

Happy Black Couple Resting Sitting With Hands Behind Head On Comfortable Sofa Enjoying Moving Day At Home. Young Spouses Relaxing On Weekend Together Concept. Selective Focus

One of my most treasured possessions from the last few years is an award that I got at my job for being “Fun” (literally – that’s what it’s for). It was an internal company award that all of your peers get to vote on. It meant the world to me to have that kind of external validation, from a group of people I respect, pertaining to something that I honestly think I struggle with: Being fun.

I try to stay loose, and I think I’m better for it now as an adult.

Focusing on Work During Work Hours

Learning not to procrastinate is a hard-fought skill that you have to regularly seek recertification on each week – LOL! Even if you don’t feel like working, understanding that there is value in your work (and that it’s not going away) is crucial to personal fulfillment for most of us and it sets us up for future successes.

You gain a reputation and confidence in your craft through repeatedly “showing up” when you’re at work, but you also don’t sabotage yourself later on.

Seeking Inspiration in What I Read/Listen To

I know that there’s a sense out there that you become what you do. If you watch trash TV about nothing and listen to music that’s about nothing and play video games that are about nothing, etc., etc. — while it’s not guaranteed, you’re increasing the chance that you won’t do/become much.

I don’t know how true that is, but I do believe in all things starting in your mind. That said, I try to take special care of the things that I read or listen to because I feel, more than anything else, those two activities employ “The Theater of the Mind”.

Woman thinking while reading a book at home,being distracted by her thoughts.Concentration problems.Bibliotherapy.Therapeutic literature.Attention disorder,patience, consistency, focus.Social distance

If everything good or bad from you starts in your mind, it only stands to reason that whatever you’re putting in there through the activities that most engage your thinking (with no real other stimuli) will HEAVILY influence you.

So, I try to listen to inspiring things more often than not. I try to learn from the stuff that I’m reading or listening to. If I don’t feel like it’s accomplishing that end, I tend to leave it alone and view it as not worth my time. Do not get me wrong, I still make time for mindless enjoyment here and there — we all need entertainment — but I try to make sure I’m getting in the stuff that builds me up, too. You will be surprised how many people probably don’t.

Pursuing Work That I Enjoy

I stand by the rough stat that, for most people, 1/3 of your life is spent working and 1/2 of your waking day is spent working on most days (if you’re a normal/non-privileged person or someone who hasn’t “made it” yet). That said, it is VERY VERY VERY important that you get that time right.

Why spend any more time than you have to on doing something that you don’t enjoy or where you feel undervalued? It doesn’t make any sense. I woke up to that fact years ago, and I never plan on looking back.

I think more people are starting to realize this and that’s part of what’s fueling The Great Resignation. Yes, people want better pay and benefits (why wouldn’t they?) – but they are also looking for more flexibility and general happiness with what they’re doing. I think it’s a great era of “waking up” for a whole era of our workforce.

And, yeah – we’ll all take a little hit now from it. Some packages will come slower. Restaurants will struggle. Retail stores will have odd hours. This is all true and it’s not something to scoff at — but I think we’ll be better for it.

Happier employees are more productive (Dear, Employers…) and less stress improves your quality of life (Dear, Employees…). It isn’t too outlandish to say that a generation may collectively look back on this time happily as one of the smartest moves they made in their life.

Surrounding Myself with Good People

My circle is strong and I love each and every one of them. To those who made the cut, you’re amazing. To those who didn’t last – no hard feelings. I didn’t stick around in yours either, and that’s ok. Oil and water.

Surrounding yourself with others who give you good vibes (and make you better) is just smart. Your life will be more peaceful, you will feel more positivity in your day, and (I think) you’ll live longer (haha – don’t ask me to support that with research).

Smiling mixed race young friendly people standing near white wall, portrait. Group of happy multiracial students posing for photo at meeting. Successful diverse colleagues team looking at camera.

Taking Time to Reflect & Adapt

I wax and wane on this one, but it’s between extremes of being reflective every week vs. me being reflective the week of my birthday each year. Either way, it’s something that I started back when I was like 25, and I’ve kept it up ever since.

The outcome of this tradition is that I not only get to practice a bit of appreciation for some major past events, but I also try to take the time to learn from missteps that I’m smart enough to identify at the time (I realize that there are a lot of things I’ve done wrong up until now that I’m literally not clever enough to perceive just yet).

But what’s the point of noticing a bad thing if you aren’t going to take the time to change it? So, I also try to alter my behavior a bit if I can if I think doing so will actually lead to something better for my future.

I o’no — works for me.

Not Judging My Creativity

As a younger version of myself, I was extremely critical of anything that I created. Any drawings had to look a certain way or I didn’t want my name tied to it. Anything that I wrote had to be in a certain voice. Every song I created (yeah, I used to make music) had to have a certain vibe to it.

Ugh. It made cool things, but it wasn’t fun.

So, I stopped.

As I grew older, though – I honestly missed it. Rather than sit around and just miss out, I decided to dabble again. I picked up a pencil and sketched things for the first time in years. I started blogging again. I wrote poetry again. I learned a new skill and started putting together very amateur YouTube videos.

But I’m having fun with all of it. I don’t think that fun could’ve happened without my learning to NOT judge myself so much and to enjoy the process.

Half length of young beautiful afro black man outdoor in the city holding instant camera, shooting - photography, creative, artist concept

Always Seeking Growth

I fear going static in my life more than anything else. It genuinely terrifies me to think that at any given point I can say, “That’s when I peaked in life.” I don’t want to say that, ugh! I’m not ready to throw that towel in yet.

I may not grow in the ways that others want me to when they’d like me to do it… I am human & we’re all flawed — but I’m always growing in SOME fashion and that’s good enough for me. So long as I can say that I’m not stalled out, I’m happy at that moment.

No plan. No real target. Just… Not stopping.

But that’s that! There are probably more things that I’m happy that I picked up in my adulthood, but those are the ones that come to mind right away. Maybe this year will introduce some new ones! We shall see.

Peace, and thanks for reading.

The soundtrack for this post provided by…

Image Credits:
– Cover Image © Merla (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 1 © Prostock-studio (Shutterstock)

– Body Image 2 © eldar nurkovic (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 3 © fizkes (Shutterstock)
– Body Image 4 © Eugenio Marongiu (Shutterstock)

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Created by Alex Volkov