One for the books: Use the time to build good habits

By Eduardo Andrade, Managing Editor

As we adapt to the quarantine, many of us are looking for productive things to do with our time. Reading more, exercising or spending more time with family are all goals we can hope to achieve during this period of excess free time.

However, it can be easy to get lost in the process, or even to not know where to start taking that first step towards self-improvement.

The first, and most manageable, step is to set an achievable goal. While reading a book a week is a good thing to do, for someone who hasn’t read in a while that may not be realistic. It’s better to set smaller short-term goals, like reading for 30 minutes every day, to help build up towards the ultimate bigger picture.

Next is to set time frames. Without a start or end date in mind, what you want to accomplish quickly gets put off until “later,” and once it’s there, it goes nowhere fast. Setting regular progressive checkpoints for your goal will not only help build the habit, but also avoid putting it off forever.

What goes hand in hand with this is knowing what to cut out in order to make time for your new activity. Saying you’re going to spend an hour exercising each day doesn’t magically add an hour to the clock. By deciding beforehand what you want to cut out to make time for your goal will make the starting process easier to start and maintain.

Finally, look for support in whatever you’re doing. If you want to go on a run every morning, invite a family member to do the same with you. If you want to read a book, download a free PDF and discuss it with your friend. Doing these things together will make the experience more pleasurable, provide some human interaction in this time of isolation and make it easier to get back on the wagon if you make a mistake along the way.

Take this time to do something productive and improve yourself along the way.

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