There are many different factors that drive our desires in life. Our lives are chock full of responsibilities, obligations, and appointments constantly competing for our attention and technology that offers hundreds of distractions every second of every day.
The amount of information, entertainment, and daily to-dos that consume our thoughts and our time, even when helpful or beneficial, is overwhelming. There are so many good things available to us, but too many good things without the ability to focus and devote our time and attention to a manageable number of them, leaves us stretched too thin to derive a good result from any of them.
This is why the task of determining a bigger picture of what we desire our lives to look like is so important. Once we understand our biggest goals or desires for our lives, from there we are able to ask the simple question "will this help or hinder me from achieving the life that I truly desire?" and work to add in the things that will help, while saying good-bye to those things that will not.
We simply do not have enough resources to do every good thing we stumble across or add in every practice that we see someone else doing that looks fun or important. When we have too much in our lives, even the good things, everything becomes unmanageable and stressful and nothing is enjoyable.
So, this leads us to the exercise we did last week: a brain dump into a list of all the positive habits we desire to see in our day to day lives, as well as the practices we already have in place. Today we are going to dig deeper into our list to identify our thoughts, feelings, and intentions for wanting to build those habits (or keep them) and order them by importance.
Then we will weigh them against our big picture question from above, and if we determine they do not actually add to our lives in a positive way, we will eliminate them from our list. This should leave us with a pruned down list of desires for our lives, and give us a great place to start - choosing one practice to focus on growing into a habit.
How to Grow a Habit
Step 2: Identify Intentions and Importance. So, your homework for today is to look over your list and ask yourself the following questions regarding each list item:
- What is my motivation for wanting to add this into my life?
- What do I believe I will gain by adding it in?
- Do I have the necessary resources available to me to add it in? If not, am I willing to say "no" to other things in order to say "yes" to this thing?
- Will this help or hinder me from achieving the life that I truly desire?
Then journal your responses, eliminate list items that don't help you achieve the life you truly desire, and order the remaining habits in order of greatest importance to you. Take the habit you want to begin with (this doesn't necessarily have to be the one at the top of the list, it could be one you feel would be easiest to begin incorporating into your life schedule currently) and then circle it. You have completed Step 2. Congratulations! Come back next week to walk through Step 3 with us.
Here is one example for Step 2 from my list:
Habit I want to add: Daily Stretching 10-15 minutes (30-day to Splits Challenge)
What is my motivation for wanting to add this into my life? Stumbled across a 30-Day Challenge online that looked like fun
What do I believe I will gain by adding it in? Increased flexibility, intentionally taking time to care for my body in a positive way, increased discipline and accountability for practicing daily fitness, a challenge that will give me a small goal to work towards that when accomplished will lead to positive motivation and self-confidence that I am capable of achieving things I set my mind to
Do I have the necessary resources available to me to add it in? If not, am I willing to say "no" to other things in order to say "yes" to this thing? Yes, the time commitment for this habit is small and easy to add in, also this goal does not require any additional equipment or skills I don't already possess
Will this help or hinder me from achieving the life that I truly desire? I desire to live a healthy life and maintain fitness as a regular part of my daily routine. I also want to maintain my mental health in addition to physical, and taking time for self-care and reaching personal goals helps me to be happier and more energized and allows me to be more present and positive in my life and with family. I believe this habit helps in reaching those goals for my life.