It was windy and raining, a cold front was passing over. The weather was not appealing, but it would have been more uncomfortable not to go. I put on my running shoes. If I hadn’t, it would have itched at the back of my mind. My habit won.
“My Subtlety professor once taught us an interesting theory: ‘a person will lie with their words, face, and even actions. What they can’t lie through is their habits. No one keeps doing things they hate, not long-term…everyone eventually weasels out of things they dislike. You want to know what matters most to someone? Look at their habits.”Drew Hayes in the Super Powereds Series
I was not expecting such a profound concept to leap out while reading some (enjoyable) fantasy fiction about characters with superpowers attending a University to complete the highly competitive Heroes Certification Programme.
It got me thinking about my own Personal Development Philosophy –
- Prioritize what to (goals, outcomes)…
- Focus on;
- Develop the associated Habits and
- Allow the Compound Effect.
What I had never fully considered was turning that approach or viewpoint back on itself. I could work out my true values by examining my habits or perhaps more usefully, by setting the right habits, I could develop the values that I aspire to.
So many well-meaning gurus start with saying write down your values. These are generally what we would like to “value” rather than what we actually value. Visualizing goals comes without the pain, effort and sacrifice, needed to achieve those goals. Once the hard work starts, the motivation quickly dissipates.
Stated values are also deceiving, they are seen through a rose-tinted lens of how we would like to see ourselves. Examining our habits is a far more honest process. We can pretend we value being healthy, but we clearly don’t, if we don’t have habits to support this value.
This is not intended to be a judgment. It is just a way to check if we are deceiving ourselves.
We are taught that sharing our goals creates accountability, but it can also reduce the drive. Basically, our minds give us some of the satisfaction and sense of achievement, before we have achieved anything.
I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t create accountability, by sharing our goals, I think it’s just worth being aware of the contrarian view.
I’ve heard so many people say, I’m on this diet, starting this blog, youtube channel or podcast, doing this training programme. This has power, but it also can have unintended negative consequences.
Ideas have zero value, without action. Action is what counts. The compound effect of consistently showing up. Find the small wins, the small wins grow and compound, giving us the resilience to achieve more of our aspirations.
Habits are your breath, your heart beat. They are continuous.
- Overcome limited will-power
- Overpower procrastination
- Reduce overthinking
- Compensate for waning motivation
Motivation is like kindling, it gets the fire burning, but it doesn’t last.
Over time habits make it more uncomfortable not to do the task, than to do it. Like brushing teeth and putting on a seat belt. All habits take a while to entrench and feel like a hassle, but only at first.
My challenge to you is to kill empty/dead value habits. Entrench good habits. Create a life that reflects the values you aspire to.
Some resources I’ve found useful in my quest to entrench better habits:
- Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds
- The Compound Effect
- The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)
- Actions, not words, reveal our real values