Chances are, January has you thinking about how to be your best self this year. Doing so likely means taking stock of the rote habits in your life that are causing a drag on your energy. Simple enough in theory. Yet, simple is rarely simplistic.
19th century philosopher William James opined that all of our lives are but a mass of habits. Research published in a 2006 study found that about 40% of our daily action is habitual, which is still a good chunk of time spent in mindless behavior. And that was more than 15 years ago. How much more distracted, distant, and drained are we today by our digital lives and full-frontal political polarization?
If habits and distractions require little conscious thought, it may be time to do some self-evaluation. What is not working in your life? Where is there room to do better? How are you unconsciously sabotaging your own success?
Is it possible that you don’t have a definition of success that is truly meaningful? Does success mean dropping weight or having more Instagram-worthy moments? Or, does success mean showing up for people and committing yourself to social connection?
Maybe it means showing up for yourself first. Maybe you do that by switching one bad habit for one good habit. Not because your waistline is growing, but because, in order to show up as your best self this year, you need to get real about the cumulative effects of unhealthy habits.
There are plenty of resources available with tips and tools for how master the habits in your everyday life. But, before you pick up a title like Gretchin Rubin’s Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, try Rubin’s The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. If you want to explore your why on a more existential level, try this TED interview with David Brooks about his book, The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life.
There’s a reason why you made it to January 2022. Whether or not you’re into making New Year’s resolutions, don’t let bad habits and distractions keep you from showing up as your best self.
Question: What is one good habit that you could switch for one that isn’t serving you?
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