Habits shape your identity and your identity shapes your habits.Atomic Habits by James Clear
Habits are the things we do each and every day for good or bad that make up who we are. They are choices we make each day of what we do and how we think (how privileged we are to be able to have so many choices). The good (and bad) thing about habits is that we often do them without even thinking about it. That’s why it is so hard to change.
As we start the new year we can think of so many things we want to change! But come February we have completely given up the hope of changing. What if there was a different way? And it doesn’t matter what day it is. There is nothing magical about January 1st! Here are some ideas to help you be successful in changing your habits.
Decide Your Identity
According to James Clear if you want to change your habits one of the things you need to need is to change what you think about yourself. By identifying yourself in a different way you will start to do the things that that type of person does
When you think about it — your actual life and identity is made up of all the little habits you practice all throughout your day. If you think of yourself as a healthy person you will choose to do things like exercise, drink water and eat healthy foods. If you think of yourself as a reader you will spend time reading whenever you get the chance.
Start small and you will have better success. Pick one thing you want to change. Break it down into small chunks that are easier to accomplish and give you the feeling of accomplishment to help you continue to move forward.
For example, if you want to be more active the first small step would be to put on tennis shoes each morning. Once that is your regular routine add something more like doing some stretches. Maybe buying a fitness tracker so that you are more aware of how much activity you do each day would be a great next step. Next you could walk around the block each day. Each small step helps you to establish good habits that you will be able to maintain over time.
Body, Soul and Mind
I like to group the habits I want to establish in terms of body, soul and mind. Things to consider for the Body are drinking water, exercising, eating a salad, drinking a smoothie, getting enough sleep. For the Soul: reading the Bible, praying, listening to worship music, being still before God. For the Mind: reading, writing and listening to podcasts.
Keeping a habit tracker is very motivating for me. I have used many different forms from a hand drawn chart in my bullet journal to the one included on my tending sheet in Powersheets to the Loop Habit Tracker App on my phone. Sign up below to receive a Habit Tracker I created for you. There is something about seeing my progress that makes me want to keep it going.
Resources for Working on Your Habits:
Being intentional about choosing your habits, making sure to start small and then tracking them can make all the difference in creating the life you want and being the person you want to be. Don’t try to do everything at once. Just pick one thing and go from there.
You also might be interested in reading more from my previous posts here: