Your Habit Identity
We wear many hats throughout our days, weeks, months and years. These hats can change form depending on the situation. Some days you’re a superhero parent, some days you’re the boss at work, others you feel like the doormat.
Our habits create our identity, usually unknowingly. For instance, if you only wear blue shoes, your habit identity to the outside world is the person at work who only wears blue shoes. If you are the relative who gives funny birthday cards and you do it for every birthday, you will be known as the aunt or uncle who gives funny birthday cards. These identities are rarely thought of as we’re just being who we are. But what if you want to change that identity?
Let’s say you and your co-workers go out to lunch every day of the week. Your current habit identity may be just that. Someone who goes out to lunch every day of the week. What would your habit identity look like if you started to bring your lunch from home every day? How would that impact your life for the better?
If your current identity is one that sleeps in as late as possible before getting up, what would your identity be if you got up as soon as your alarm went off? How would that change your day going forward? Would you have time to get a quick workout in? Would you spend that time getting your day started with reading or meditation? These are all compounding effects that can have a positive or negative result on our day and our general well being.
How do I create a new habit identity? Start with an idea. What do you want to change? What do you want to make an impact on in your life? Since we’re in the fitness realm here at Triumph, we’ll say you want to start coming to the 6:00 AM class. Let’s map out your new habit identity. The idea being you do not do all of these new identity changes at once. Pick one and move forward.
- Old habit identity: Go to bed late
New habit identity: Get to bed by 9:30 every night
- Old habit identity: Rush around in the morning, leaving at last moment
New habit identity: Set your clothes out for the next day the night prior, have a bag with all your important belongings by the door
- Old habit identity: Have no consistency in your breakfast intake
- New habit identity: Make a few meals ahead of time to heat up quickly
Notice how none of these options above have much to do with fitness. They’re leading up to the event of actually going to the morning class. All of these small habit changes lead to large new habits in the long run.
The last and possibly most important piece of advice for trying to form any new habit is “never miss twice”. Sounds simply, possibly silly, but think about it. If you skip your new habit once, it’s understandable. You had a cold, the kids were late for practice, work kept you. But if miss twice, you’re now forming a new habit. To put it into terms as we’ve discussed above. You told yourself you’re going to bed at 9:30. Night one, you watch TV till 10:45. Okay, miss one. Night two, you were tired from staying up late the night before and took a nap when you got home. Now you have work to catch up on and it’s 10:30. You’ve created a new habit.
There is limitless potential here. You have the ability to change anything and everything about your life with small, meaningful tasks that can be molded into new habits.