How well do your most important habits fit you?
How do you know if you are making your habits or, if in fact, your habits are making you? In my work, I am frequently asked how important habits are to create a well-balanced, successful and fulfilling life.
My answer: they are not important, they are EVERYTHING!
And because they are everything, it is critical to know exactly the role habits play throughout your life.
Here are some guidelines to help you differentiate if you or your habits are in control.
I am in control if:
1. I take time every day to think about that which I do and if my actions still have the desired outcomes.
2. When faced with conflict, challenges or disappointment, I reflect on the part in which I played, and identify specific behaviours/actions which contributed to the outcome(s).
3. I take responsibility for the results in my life.
4. Reflection is a key activity and I make time for it every day.
5. I consciously identify when my actions, behaviours and beliefs may no longer be serving my highest self.
6. I believe that all behaviour is learned, and can be modified as required.
I am being controlled by my habits if:
1. At times I am at a loss to understand how I have let situations get the better of me.
2. I am too busy to reflect on those things that occupy my time and take up space in my head.
3. Life has not dealt me a great hand; others seem to have it so much better that I do.
4. My behaviour, on more than one or two occasions, has gotten me into trouble.
5. I speak, then think.
6. I feel like my life is stagnant and I don’t seem to be able to shake this rut.
The best thing about habits is that, with thought and deliberate effort, your important habits can, and will, evolve.
However, you have to own it first, before you can ever hope to change what you do and why you do it.
Consider this, imagine as an adult, you decided you wanted to wear all of the clothes you wore when you were in Grade 5. And lucky for you, they are still in your attic.
You venture upstairs and start, one by one, trying on the different pieces of clothing.
Chances are you are not going to get very far because you soon find the shoes are way too tight, the pants won’t even budge past your upper legs, the shirt arms barely touch your elbows and the front buttons are so far apart it would take any extra yard of cloth for them to ever touch again in your lifetime.
No, you would never be able to fit into clothes you used to wear 20, 30 or even 40 years ago, that would be ridiculous. You would feel so awkward, uncomfortable and stifled.
Yet, I bet you walk around with beliefs, behaviours and habits that are 20, 30 and even 40 years old. Perhaps contributing to you feeling awkward, uncomfortable and stifled.
The other issue with old clothing is if you hold onto things that no longer fit or work for you, you have no room for new, updated more appropriate clothing that can fill your life and your closets.
Old clothing is a great metaphor for important habits. Remember to clear out the old, and you'll make room for the new.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.