For me 2019 is going to be the year of habits, I’m going to break a few shitty ones that no longer / have never served me and I’m going to work on building a few new, more beneficial, ones.
It’s funny but I hadn’t really realised it till recently (I think THIS BOOK by Gretchen Ruben helped, pop it on your Christmas reading list if you can, it’s a good’un!) but the massive dip in confidence I’ve been feeling throughout the whole of 2018 stems pretty much from the habits I’ve been keeping (or, not keeping, should I say).
And I’m calling bullshit on the ‘this is just me, it’s who I am, I’ll never change so I might as well embrace it.’
I don’t even believe the above narrative, I know damn well that we can all change. Beyond recognition actually.
I’m living proof. I don’t even recognise the person I was 10 years ago, which is a good thing really because she was going nowhere, fast.
Sure, we have inherent traits, whether they’re a product of nature or nurture is really of no consequence as we actively choose which ones we cultivate and which ones we kick to the curb. Every day is made up of 100’s of little choices that make us who we are, most of them we don’t even notice (cus they’re now fully formed self-sustaining habits) and yet they have the power to shape what we believe to be true about ourselves and also what others believe to be true… aka our identity.
The problems start when our choices and habits don’t marry up with the vision that we see for ourselves and before we know it, our confidence is at all-time low and our sense of identity has taken a bit of a battering, too.
I mean, there could be any number of reasons why we do what we do but I think that a lot of the time, it’s self-sabotage. Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear, fear, FEAR… Our subconscious literally loves to keep us small and safe and out of harm’s way. Some people find sticking to good habits easier than others but it’s possible for all of us, it’s just about getting rid of any mental roadblocks and finding the right motivation. My motivations as a rebel will be different to yours as an upholder, an obliger, or a questioner. It’s worth figuring out which one you are so that you can start to work with your personality and not against it. (There’s a quiz you can do online if you’re unsure, though I read the book and recognised myself instantly.)
Just to clarify, it’s totally understandable that we go through phases of wanting to be safe and protected, both literally and metaphorically, we can’t always be charging full steam ahead.
Maybe you’ve just been through a rough few years and your brain is like… ‘ok, nope, that’s enough life for now – let’s just switch gears, sit back and heal for a bit’ but everything is cyclical, so once you’ve done some healing, it’s time to get things moving again, towards the unknown – however hard those first few steps might be.
I love this quote as a reminder;
A ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships were built for.’ John A Shedd
Decide what type of person you want to be. What unique recipe of traits and interests will make up your identity? What do you do, or what do you want to do, for fun? What do you do because it makes you feel good? What do you believe in? Are you an activist? Which big or small habits make up your day to day and help you feel the most ‘successful’.
I chatted about it a lot in THIS POST but the reason I used ‘air quotes’ around the word success back there, is because it really does look different on everyone and every now and again it’s so important to do a gut check and make sure that we’re focusing on our own versions of success, not someone else’s. (Once you’ve figured out what your version is, write that ish down and stick it somewhere you can see it!)
Back to our identity and what we can do to make our hopes and dreams a reality… We talk about it all the time from a branding/business perspective but let’s get a little personal for a moment… Who do you really want to be? Travel forward in time and meet the future you. What do they look like? Where do they live? What do they do for work and for fun? What’s their vibe like?
Now take a good long look at your current thoughts and habits. Do they match up with the person you want to be? Are they the habits of your incredible, successful and happy future self? Or, are they holding you back?
Create a list of habits, thoughts and actions that matter to you, ones that you know will make you feel like the best version of yourself. Maintaining these ‘good’ habits will, over time, build your sense of self-efficacy and will mean that you approach life and situations with confidence and self-belief. One day you won’t just ‘feel’ like the best version of yourself, you really will be that best version.
Imagine what that version of you could accomplish. Imagine the life you could lead. Just imagine. It’s all out there for the taking.
So, what are you waiting for? Of course, there’s no better time to start than right now, whenever ‘now’ is but if you’re reading this around the same time that I hit publish, the tail end of a year, well – I really do believe in the magic of a fresh start. The beginning of this new year might just be the helping hand that allows you to not only start some new habits but more importantly, keep them.
I’m rooting for you. I’m rooting for all of us.
Let’s show ourselves what we’re really capable of.
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