Set your sights on a bigger goal like to live a healthy and happy life.
I’ve been reading the book by James Clear called Atomic Habits lately. I know you’re probably thinking another book on how to change your bad habits. However, it’s about more than just changing your habits.
Your identify is shaped by repeating habits – good or bad. The key then to becoming who you want to be is about repeating the right habits.
1/ What you want to be?
Genetics limit some of our options because those who have the ideal height, limb length or some other idealistic body composition will always perform better. There is nothing you can do about it. So start by picking something that your body is genetically suited to do.
With that done, your genetics are just part of the equation. You also have to consider your personality because it plays an even bigger role in shaping your identity.
2/ What are your personality traits?
The big 5 personality traits to consider are:
1/ Openness: from curious and inventive on one end to cautious and consistent on the other.
2/ Conscientiousness: organized and efficient to easygoing and spontaneous
3/ Extroversion: outgoing and energetic to solitary and reserved
4/ Agreeableness: friendly and compassionate to challenging and detached
5/ Neuroticism: anxious and sensitive to confident, calm and stable.
3/ Now ask yourself:
1/ What feels like fun to me but work to others?
2/ What makes me lose track of time? [Flow]
3/ Where do I get greater returns than the average person?
4/ What comes naturally to me?
Once you’ve answered that, focus on and work hard on the things that come easy to you. If you’re concerned that there are others better than you at doing that one thing, think about the combination of your skills that could make you the best.
4/ What does working hard mean?
Working hard means, developing good habits to support your direction and if necessary, breaking old habits that may be holding you back.
5/ How to create a good habit:
1/ Make it obvious
2/ Make it attractive
3/ Make it easy
4/ Make it satisfying
The short story here is that you want to set yourself up for success by making it easy to do the right things that will become the habits you need for success. Think about how you could change your physical environment to help you develop the right habits. Use your existing habits as a reward. It’s called habit stacking.
Variable rewards or not, no habit will stay interesting forever. At some point, everyone faces the same challenge on the journey of self-improvement: you have to fall in love with boredom.
6/ Know when [and when not] to track a habit
You want to track your actions and progress in a way that does’t make you obsessed with that one measurement.
An example might be using a scale to track only your weight. To loose weight faster you might cut your calories to a level that doesn’t give you the vitamins and nutrients needed to sustain life. You might attain your ideal weight but harm your body in the process.
For more detail on how to develop the right habits and to become the person you want to be, read Atomic Habit by James Clear.
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