Meta-Habits That Will Make You Become a Better Writer
There are millions of articles on the internet that talk about the importance of habits, how to develop habits, and how to become a better writer by using them. This article is similar but different.
I am not going to tell you to meditate every morning for an hour, to spend 30 minutes journaling, or even working out first thing — even if these are great habits to adopt if you want to change your life. Instead, I am going to share with you powerful meta-habits that will transform your life and career no matter what you want to achieve.
These meta-habits work if you want to lose weight. They work if you want to make more money. They work if you want to get promoted at your job or find a new job. If you can make these meta-habits part of your daily routine, your life will get exponentially better. Implementing only one of these meta-habits will change you for the better. Implementing all of them will transform you into a new person.
Are you ready? Well then, let’s go!
What is a Meta-Habit and How is it Different From a Normal Habit
A normal habit is something that you focus on to improve a single area of your life. For example, if one of your goals is to sleep better, you might work on developing a habit of going to bed and getting up at specific times or developing a nighttime routine.
A meta-habit permeates more than one area of your life. A perfect example of a meta-habit is meditation. Meditation allows us to focus, sleep better, reduce anxiety and make better decisions.
As you work on identifying, developing, and applying meta-habits to your life, you’re going to see a significant increase in your human performance versus if you just worked on traditional habits. Meta-habits allow you to fast track your daily performance, become more productive, and outperform those in your career field.
Start Your Day With Your Most Important Task
Most people experience their mental and physical peak before lunchtime. Mornings are a prime time for work that requires more brainpower and getting in a workout before the start of a busy day.
Still, most people decide to start their day with wasteful distractions like scrolling through social media, checking email, and unnecessary meetings. As a result, their productivity takes a nosedive and they struggle to get anything done before lunch. After lunch, the afternoon slump kicks in and they struggle to do any meaningful work. And before they know it, the clock hits 5:00 pm and it’s time for happy hour.
The morning is your prime time to accelerate your growth and get ahead of your goals for the day, so don’t waste it. The most successful people treat their mornings as a sacred time to work on what matters to them; not other people.
Successful people prioritize a beneficial morning routine and focused work before checking their social media, emails, taking calls, and consuming other information. That way, they’ve won the day before they eat lunch and it doesn’t matter what comes next. They get ahead on their most important tasks even if they have to spend 3 hours of their afternoon on an impromptu urgent task. I think we’ve all been there.
They remain at their peak physical performance even if they have a social event after work because they’ve worked out that morning before anything else. Other people can’t derail their daily goals either because they’ve proactively prioritized their tasks in the morning before the madness starts.
Analyze your typical morning routine and evaluate whether you are spending your time, energy, and mental focus on what truly matters in your life and career. Next, come up with a plan to start your day by spending 10 minutes on your top priorities like doing a quick workout, working on a side hustle, or doing a quick meditation session.
Start developing this meta-habit by going after the low-hanging fruits by replacing unnecessary habits like scrolling social media feeds in bed for 30 min before getting up and changing morning meetings to afternoons. Then start getting up earlier to get extra time in for working on your daily goals. Work your way up to spend 2 to 3 hours every morning on your top goals.
Curate Your Information Input
When you feed your mind with distracting information and toxic conversations with negative friends, you are priming yourself for failure. Garbage in, garbage out. It’s as simple as that. When exploring how to become a better writer, curating the information you come across can have huge benefits. Use this to your advantage.
Watching funny cat videos on social media might seem harmless and maybe even puts a smile on your face. However, chances are you are not just watching that one video. And even if you don’t fall down the rabbit hole, imagine how you would feel if you listened to an empowering podcast about motivation, achieving goals, and becoming successful?
Hanging out with friends that are constantly complaining and gossiping might seem harmless, but imagine hanging out with people that are on a similar journey as you or are where you want to be. Imagine them empowering you and mentoring you to take action and sharing their experience, tips, and strategies to help you achieve your goals.
I don’t think social media is bad. It has its place and I’ve written several articles talking about how to use it. I don’t think cat videos are dangerous, they’re just not my cup of tea. And I don’t think everyone that complains and gossips is a bad person. I just prefer not to be around them.
There are better ways that we could be spending our time. I believe that when we obsessively curate our input and match it with our goals, we will receive a much much better output.
Evaluate your media consumption and the people you hang out with. Where can you make adjustments that will significantly improve your life? What books, podcasts, and articles can you add to your reading list to help you achieve your goals? Who can you reach out to for a conversation about your goals?
Train Your Brain For Success
This can have a significant impact on your success. In the Marine Corps having the right mental state was critical to success. During boot camp, it was physically and mentally difficult to keep up with the demands and high standards day after day for 3 months. The key to my success there was what I was saying to myself.
Instead of saying to myself “this sucks, I wish I could just go sit down for a minute or just go home” I would say something like “this is only going to last for another hour. I can do this for that long.”
Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Devon Burton
The issue is that your mind is always listening to your inner voice. Your mind will start to reinforce your thoughts with feelings and certain desires. Negative thoughts become a slippery slope quickly and it can be hard to recover from.
If you want to achieve big goals, you need to completely change the way you talk to yourself. Just tell your mind what you want. Be specific. And do it all the time. If a negative thought gets through, just reword it in a way that makes it positive or easily handled.
Once you are aware of your inner voice and consciously make an effort to reframe it, it will become easier for you to correct it the next time you slip into unhealthy or negative thoughts that derail you from what you actually want. Over time, these new thinking patterns will become a habit and you’ll automatically talk to yourself in an empowering way and achieve bigger results.
Ensure You’re Consistently Operating at Peak Performance
Nobody likes showing up for game day when they are sleep deprived, sick, anxious, or depressed.
When it comes to success, you are your most important asset. A healthy body gives you the energy you need to accomplish everything you set out to do. A strong mind gives you the perseverance you need to keep going when it gets tough. And a happy soul ensures that you will feel great along the way.
Here are a few strategies to ensure peak performance at all times:
If you have a lack of energy, start by getting your sleep schedule dialed in before you do anything else. You can’t hack yourself to feeling great without sleeping well. Most people thrive on 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and a regular sleep schedule. Figure out what your sleep schedule needs to be and start doing it. It’s not complicated.
Experiment and find out which type of foods and eating schedule make you feel the best on a daily basis. There is no one diet to optimize your performance, you need to find what works for you! If you have no idea, start with having 3 to 4 small balanced meals a day consisting of fresh, real foods. You may want to also look into 1 or 2 healthy supplements to give you an edge once your diet is figured out.
Moving your body, especially when you are sweating, lifts your mood and increases your energy. Thus, daily exercise makes a perfect habit for a high-performance lifestyle. Even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll notice a significant improvement in your mood, focus, and motivation. This is something that I do multiple times a day to keep me going.
To have peace of mind on a daily basis you need to review your goals each morning, or the night before (even better!). Keeping your goals fresh in your mind will help you prioritize what’s important and what order to do those tasks in.
Continue to feed your mind with positive thoughts and information. If the thought or information impacts you negatively in any way, get rid of it. Curate all information as it comes through your eyes and ears and into your brain.
Track your progress throughout the week. This gives you a regular check-in to keep you focused on your goals. In my article on productivity apps, I talk about my to-do list and how it helps keep me on track each day of the week.
Take the time to do the things you’re passionate about regularly. Allow yourself 1 hour of guilt-free relaxation time to do whatever you want each day.
Also, find ways to reward and treat yourself in a way that doesn’t derail your goals. For example, if you achieved your weight loss goal, buy some well-deserved new clothes instead of having celebration ice cream or cake.
The happier you are, the more productive and motivated you’ll be.
Habits are much more than chewing your fingernails or popping your knuckles without thinking about it. We are creatures of habit, and our daily lives are filled with habits that we don’t even realize we have, some bad but many which are not only good but essential to our sanity.
Throughout your writing career, it is important to be aware of your habits and consider which ones are beneficial and which ones are detrimental. I hope the above tips help you create meta-habits of your own in your quest for how to become a better writer.