We are what we repeatedly do
Throughout my life I have set myself hundreds, if not thousands of all sorts of resolutions and goals. Giving myself goals is something that I have also felt was important in order to make true the idea of being the best version of myself. You’re probably asking yourself, but has she actually achieved any of the goals she’s set? And if she has, does she now feel more complete and happy? Well the answer is yes and no…
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
In saying this Aristotle reminds us that change and success in what undertake does not come overnight. In fact, it’s the opposite, in order to go from point A to the desired point B, you need to go through a number of events.
In the Spanish Royal Academy of Language Dictionary (Diccionario de la Real Academia Española) we find the following definition for today’s reflection: “Habit: a specific way to behave or conduct oneself acquired through repetition of similar or the same acts, or originating from instinctive tendencies.” From reading this it would appear that the key is in repetition.
Contact with other people who work towards just any type personal goal, has allowed me to realise that, if you don’t know who you really are and what is your (not your ego’s) true heart’s desire, you can frustrate yourself by setting goals that you will not achieve.
Stop for a moment and think:
- Do your goals take in to account what your heart truly needs?
- How would it feel if looking inside yourself was your main objective?
- What would happen if you needed to slow down the process in order to speed it up?
I don’t think that there is a recipe for creating habits, but I am convinced that there are certain things that help to create them.
Writing a diary, meditating, reading, walking, doing some physical exercise… are all acts of self-love, that allow you to look within yourself in order to commit yourself to your life goals, goals that go further than just any old goals which are disposable with time. It’s the small steps that you take every day that make the difference.
It’s about committing yourself to the road of self-awareness, knowing your values and what is of real importance to you.Find yourself in a way that you didn’t know before, through curiosity and without judging what is happening in your life by comparing it to that which others or society expects of you.
Let’s remind ourselves now of the key components for creating habits.
Macro-vision and small steps
Abstract thought is an effective way to help in this area, various reports on motivation.
The idea of thinking on the big scale seems to be a good way of starting the process. Keeping a universal idea in mind allows us to create intrinsic motivators which are key to enable the habit to set in just like self-determination.It is the balance between this large-scale desire and the tasks that we are resolved to do day-in-day-out that enable this major objective to become an ever-closer reality.
Many writers for example commit to writing a certain number of words each day… what could you do?
Create behaviour chains
In order for habits to stick it is easier if you incorporate them into your daily routine instead of fighting against them. Our brain creates small pathways through the habits and customs of our day-to-day lives and it is easier to add a step in this chain. The opposite of this would be to try to open up the jungle of our neurological connections to create a completely new pathway. Therefore, let’s be practical.
For example, instead of saying “I’m going to meditate”, you could say “when I come back from lunch, before starting back at work, I’m going to do a quick 10-minute meditation.”
According to studies on self-control having fewer options has a positive impact and what’s more it stimulates your initiative. Obama for example decided to only wear blue or grey suits because according to him “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”
According to the Harvard Business Review, if you want to remain disciplined in the long term you should look at what aspects of your life are the least relevant and create routines for the things that you want to strengthen. If you want to stop eating cookies or bags of crisps stop buying them, this way you won’t need to have the willpower to not eat them at home and you’ll have to make fewer decisions. If, bit by bit, you change your environment and your daily routine, the change will be more enduring.
Small steps or SMART goals
If your small steps, or goals are SMART it will be much easier to review your process of creating habits.
SMART is an acronym which helps you to create goals and it is used in many spheres, just as much in personal development as in project management methodologies.Goals must always be:
Creating habits is a delicate process. That’s why you need to eliminate, to as great a degree as possible, as many elements that might make you say that it isn’t worth it.
For this reason, I encourage you, for the love that you have for your goal or life resolution, to review all those things that might make you abandon the process. For example, I set an alarm to stop work and go to the gym, and another to remind me at night time that it is time to go to bed, to get up early and meditate before starting work.
If you change the company you keep to that of a team who are in line with your general objectives this will help you to commit to the change and will make it easier. Look at who you spend your time with, they could be your stimulus.
A coach, for example, could also be this loyal person who accompanies you in the process…
Dreams at first seem impossible, then seem improbable, and finally, when we commit ourselves, become inevitable. – Mahatma Gandhi
Tell me, if you are doing these practices, how are they working for you and how are they helping you in your everyday life? Let’s keep in touch so that we live each moment as it comes, here and now with mindfulness and Plenicidad!