What are habits for?

It’s no secret that I love my habits.

For example, almost every day I cook a healthy breakfast, I stretch, I meditate, and I write an article. Similarly, barring exceptional circumstances, you can find me in the climbing gym on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

I don’t mention this to brag. I do not have perfect habits. Some days, I postpone meditating a few times and I end up not getting to it at all. Some days I don’t stretch. And that’s after years of trying to develop these habits.

As for the daily articles—well, I’m proud to say that I’ve been at those for over five months now and I haven’t missed a day. 

I like to share my habits with you because I believe that habits are a key tool—maybe the key tool—for creating the lifestyle you want.

If you want to create a lifestyle that’s quite different from your current lifestyle, you’ll probably have to do some things that are helpful in the long term but painful in the short term. For example, I write because I want to share what I learn with you—but I rarely feel like sitting down to write. (Though I’m always glad at having written.)

Doing things that only pay off in the long term requires willpower. And willpower is a scarce resource, so we had better spend it wisely. This is where habits come in.

Habits exist to help you make investments for the long term without expending valuable willpower every day.

If you’d like to start meditating regularly, but you don’t do so at a fixed place or time, you might end up mentally litigating with yourself. You can meditate after you go shopping. No, after you cook. No, you’ll do it first thing tomorrow morning. This type of mental litigation is exhausting and will leave you with less willpower (or energy, if you like to view it that way) to get other things done.

Instead, if you make it a point to meditate every day, right after breakfast, your mind will direct your body to your chair or couch or wherever you meditate. It’s not a panacea—most days I still have to force myself to put down my phone and start meditating—but it requires substantially less willpower this way.

All this is to say that if you want to change your lifestyle, but you’re having trouble getting started, then take a look at your habits. What is one bad habit you can get rid of? What is one good habit you can develop? 

Improve your habits and you’ll free up some willpower for everything else.


— Peter

P.S. Need help developing good habits? I can help. Let me know and we’ll set up an introductory call.

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