Do you sometimes struggle creating habits that stick with you for good, just like me? If you do, well, good news: we’re not alone because Sun Life Philippines is with us on this feat!
But, before we go to that, allow me to tell a thing or two about this company. (This short intro is for those of you who may not be familiar with it.)
Sun Life Philippines: who are they?
A pioneer of its kind in the Philippines, Sun Life has been providing Filipinos with quality and humanitarian insurance benefits since 1895.
With a worldwide reach spanning across continents, this Canada-based insurance company has relentlessly helped Pinoys become financially secure, as well as live healthier and rewarding lives.
Sun Life Philippines’ workshop entitled “Ito ang Araw Mo, Build Bright Habits to Reach Your Goals”
I can’t think of anything that would drive Sun Life to make FREE , useful and empowering events like this other than its COMMITMENT to Pinoys and excellence. Indeed, it stayed true to its word of helping every Filipino in their journey towards a brighter life.
So, on 20 March 2021, Sun Life held a workshop event called “Ito ang araw mo, Build Bright Habits to Reach Your Goals”. To make this workshop more relevant and useful to its audience, it invited over Dr. Christine Carter, highly acclaimed Ted speaker, sociologist, and happiness and productivity expert.
Fortunately, I had the rare opportunity to be one of the coachees / mentees for this almost 2-hour life goals and habits workshop. And what I really liked about this event is Sun Life’s holistic approach. As such, it didn’t really focus on financial goals and planning. Actually, it zeroed in to the most important thing in the world — one’s self.
Learnings from Sun Life’s Build Bright Habits Workshop
At a first glance, one might think that the topic “building bright habits” is pretty basic. I should know because I thought the same way too prior to attending the workshop. However, it turns out that there’s more to it than meets the eye.
After attending this event, I now know why I struggled at times in achieving well-engrained habits that would have allowed me to be more productive and fulfilled in life and law school. It is because I’ve been doing things wrong all these years.
Sun Life, through Dr. Christine Carter and other speakers, imparted snippets of knowledge on the matter. And today, I’m happy to share them with you.
Ready? Here they go:
“For the habits to stick, keep it tiny”
Yes, you read it right. SMALL HABITS.
According to our coach, Dr. Carter, small habits tend to stick to us easier. Thus, we should refrain from establishing ambitious and insurmountable habits, which we often cannot live up to.
Attaining unusually big habits usually leads to failure and frustration — a perfect combo for a crash and burn situation. Consequently, this further demotivates us and makes us feel that we’re not good enough.
Let me use my law school life as an example. Applying this lesson, you’ll realize that instead of forcing yourself to finish all your backlog case digests in one sitting, you should chunk your task. Perhaps, you can start with 3 cases per day. Then, you may gradually increase this number as time goes.
The important thing here is to establish the habit of reading for law school even if you don’t have assignments or classes.
This illustration I gave you exemplifies the better-than-nothing approach. This technique wants us to do something — even a small one — than to do nothing at all.
Habit formation is all about consistency. And, the only way we can be consistent is for us to be able to do a specific task repeatedly.
Eventually, because of repetition, the task becomes so familiar that our brain need not think about it. It’s like we’re in autopilot mode or something.
We’ll know that something has already been transformed into a habit when doing it becomes second nature to us.
Habit formation is not a willpower issue
Habit formation is a matter of design, not will power. As such, habits are things we can actually design or program ourselves to do, whether or not we are motivated or inspired. This gives us the conclusion that willpower is not reliable, but a systematic approach is.
But, how can we create that system?
Well, Sun Life Philippines and Dr. Carter suggest that we condition our brain to stick to a small habit that it becomes part of our system.
Emotions create habits
Unlike willpower, emotions are instrumental in establishing habits. This happens when our brain associates a favorable experience or positive feeling to an activity we do.
In order to do this, it’s important that we reward ourselves whenever we successfully complete a task or assume our desired behavior. Such reward gives you that inner shine, which makes you want to continue doing the habit.
For instance, if you’re a law student like me, treat yourself to your favorite tea or coffee whenever you complete your set case reading volume. Reward yourself no matter how big or small your achievement is.
Be part of a community that builds bright habits like Sun Life Philippines’ “Ito and Araw Mo” Community
Establishing your habits and learning how to stick with them are more fun and become easier when you’re part of a community that does the same. Hence, Sun Life created a Facebook group for this purpose.
I am one with Sun Life that a group of like-minded people facilitates information sharing and fosters supportive environment for its members. Thus, I joined the aforementioned online group without second thoughts.
Let me know in the comments below if you want to join too. This way, I can invite you to be part of this powerhouse community.
My way ahead after this Sun Life Philippines workshop
Well, there’s nothing left to do at this point but to continue the inspiration I got from Sun Life and make bright and lasting habits. At this juncture, I intend to continue with my consistent bedtime habit, which solved my sleeping-related challenges from last year.
Meanwhile, I’d like to examine my lifestyle and identify more problem areas I’d like to solve. Then, I’ll experiment on new ways to achieve my law school and financial goals for this year, applying all the lessons I learned from this workshop.
And I plan to do these one tiny yet mindful step at a time.
Ito ang araw Mo… Ang araw ko… Ang araw nating lahat!
(This is your moment, my moment, your moment!)
Feeling inspired because of this post? Don’t forget to share this article with your friends and loved ones so they, too, can form bright habits now.
Altogether, we can build great habits that LAST!