While some experts advocate focusing on one healthy habit at a time, to avoid draining precious will-power reserves, other studies suggest that people who work on developing one positive habit often find it easier to improve in other areas, as well.
It’s a Secret of Adulthood: Good habits foster good habits. Change fosters change.
Certain habits, too, seem to be particularly important; they serve as the Foundation for other habits. I always remind myself, “First things first.” That is, pay attention to the obvious before worrying about more subtle concerns.
From what I’ve observed, people who get their basic Foundation habits under control find it easier to add additional good habits, even if those habits don’t seem relate.
Why? Because Foundation habits keep us from getting too physically taxed or mentally frazzled, and then, because we have more energy and self-control, we follow our healthy habits more easily.
From my observation, the four Foundation habits are:
The Strategy of Foundation holds that when you’re trying to change some habits, think about strengthening your Foundation.
Of course, a major challenge with Foundation habits is that, ironically, they’re often the very habits that we’re trying to adopt. Yes, exercise would help us stick to good habits, but exercise is the habit that we need help with. Outer order contributes to inner calm, true, but having inner calm makes it much easier to create outer order.
Nevertheless, because of the important role they play in boosting self control, and their helpful spill-over effect on other habits, it seems to me that Foundation habits are a great place to start, with habit change, and deserve specially protection from encroachment. Foundation habits tend to reinforce each other; for instance, regular exercise improves people’s sleep quality.
Agree, disagree? Do you find that working on your Foundation makes it easier to stick to other habits? Or that neglecting them makes it harder to stick to those habits? Do you think Foundation habits that should be added to the list?
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.