Habits and Identity

Habits and Identity

Habits-are-cobwebsTo create successful, long lasting habits we need to come to know ourselves. Habits often fail to materialise into anything sustainable when we try to follow a habit just because someone else is being successful by following it.

We need to come to understand our own needs, desire, values and wants.

I know i need to exercise, but i have come to know that I don’t actually enjoy exercising, but I do enjoy a nature walk. I would love to fulfil my dream of walking Lands End to John O Groats, and coast to coast, but i have had to accept that dream is, at least for now, not attainable. I wanted to be able to wander across dales and through woods and glens for hours on end, but my physical disability means that that is no longer possible. However, I can make sure i walk every day. For instance, today i needed to collect a parcel from the post office, decided to have some lunch out, visited a few necessary stores and then headed home. So for today I have done my walking and therefore fulfilled the habit – to walk every day.

My friend, however goes to the gym three times a week and rarely misses.

We also become what we tell ourselves we are, for instance; ‘If I say, “I’m lazy, ” I can’t resist a sale,” “I’ll try anything once,” “I never start work before the last minute,” or “I’m lucky,” these ideas become part of my identity, which in turn influences my actions.’ (Gretchen Rubin: Better Than Before) It is also possible to pick up others habits, which isn’t a problem if the habit we acquire is a good, but what about if the habit is something that you would see as a bad habit. For some reason bad habits seem to be easier to acquire and maintain than good habits. Likewise our habits can affect someone else.

In conclusion, Gretchen says, ‘We can build our habits only on the foundation of our own nature.’ I agree with Gretchen here, as I have been reading around with forming new habits and I have found that the ones that have stuck are the ones that are me and fit in with my life style, although knowing that I am an Obliger, a Lark, A Finisher and an Abstainer has helped me understand my identity.

Some habits come naturally, but others require determination. But, bringing clarity to our thoughts and actions allow the habits we adopt to become part of our identity and help us improve our life, health or just about any area we chose.

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2 thoughts on “Habits and Identity

  1. Thank you for sharing. I am striving to correct my bad habits and embrace the good ones. I plan to re-visit Gretchen’s book, but I stay connected with her via her daily email.

    1. The book has made me look at myself and the habits I am trying to build differently – Gretchen says something like – what is right for others, isn’t necessarily right for me – which is very true.

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