Your Habits Decide Your Future
The author Ryan Holiday has titled his new book Discipline is Destiny. Our destiny is decided by what we do every day.
We are not what we think we are. We are not what we say we are. We are not what others think we are. We are what we do all day long.
As said by Sean Covey in the book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teenagers. We become what we repeatedly do.
Out of all the people who start new year’s resolutions every year, only 16% stick to them. It takes around 90 days for a habit to become part of our lifestyle.
In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how habits should be identity-centric. We often make the mistake of setting outcome-oriented goals.
Weight loss is a goal many sets and fails upon. We define the goal by saying we need to lose or gain 5Kgs. Now that takes time and our initial motivation slowly fades away.
We can change the goal to be identity-centric by saying that we are a health-conscious person who eats properly and goes to the gym daily. This way we are making it part of our identity.
Now it is not a goal set in the distance. From day one, we are trying to be the version of the person we described earlier.
We are focusing on small wins that will confirm the new-found identity. Like walking to buy grocery than ordering online.
Every day is a new start. You are getting the chance to be a better version of yourself than the one you were yesterday.
I see it like playing a video game in which you could train and up-skill your character.
Here life is the video game, and I am leveling up myself. I don’t have goals, all that I have is systems.
Like after waking up I start my day listening to audiobooks. Then I do my morning pages, then I do my reading.
Now there is no question of what to do next. Everything is set in the system. All I have to do is to be disciplined and enjoy the process.
As rightly said by John C. Maxwell “Motivation gets you going, but discipline keeps you growing.”
Morning Pages helps in self-reflection and I could see where am lacking and I could improve upon them.
To gamify the system you could use habit tracker apps like HabitNow. Or you could dive into the rabbit hole of bullet journals.
The streaks shown in the apps sure acts as motivation. But never become a slave to the streak.
Remember motivation will fade. Your brain will resist the changes.
There will be a voice inside you that will tell you to push the running session to tomorrow.
Or that it is okay for you to sleep an extra hour. And you will start waking early from tomorrow.
Never fall for the voice and never wait for the motivation to strike. Listen to the new-found identity of yours that is disciplined.
Will that identity snoozes the alarm for the third time?
Start thinking in systems, if looking to learn a new language. Don’t fall for the motivation trap.
In the first week, you sure will spend 1–2 hours learning. But that will fade away.
Instead, set a system where you will spend 15–30 minutes every day after dinner.
When I tell people who want to become a reader to start by reading one page every day. They don’t understand the power of the system.
Someone on the first day will say that they have read 20–30 pages. Again the person is falling into the motivation trap.
Being disciplined and choosing to follow the laid out system of reading one page every day, will make reading the person’s identity.
Habit is persistence in practice — by Octavia Butler.
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