I’m doing a short meditation course that includes conversations between Dan Harris and the well-known psychologist Dr. Kelly McGonigal through the Ten Percent Happier app. The course is on Healthy Habits and each session is about 15 minutes and includes a 10 minute or so meditation. In the first session, McGonigal talks about the role your identity plays in your habits. Willpower and self-criticism aren’t things that help you change your habits, but rather being aware of what matters to you, what’s important to you. In other words, what might motivate you to put in the effort to change.
Brendon Burchard recently had a podcast episode about this as well. In it he talked about how we see ourselves, including whether we identify as someone who is deserving or capable of the change we’re looking for matters a great deal in how we live our lives.
In my previous post I noted that I haven’t been taking care of my health as well as I had been and I’m not as patient with those around me. I’ve also been slacking on the habits that I had been so diligent about (drinking enough water, being mindful of what and how much I eat, doing all of the things that have been key to my morning routine) and all of this has a negative impact on me, and ultimately those around me. I don’t have as much energy, I’m not a good role model for my daughter, and I don’t like the person I see in the mirror because of this.
I’m at my best when I identify as someone who is healthy and energetic, who is a thoughtful parent and partner, who is focused on doing what I need to do to care for myself and show up for those who need me. Even on my best days I have room to grow in these areas, but my effort, my focus is on being that person, the person who aligns with my values and goals.
During times of stress it’s easy to forget who we really are, the person who does align with our own values. It’s easy to eat a lot of unhealthy food, not drink enough water, fail to wind down well at night to get a good sleep because we’re watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. It’s easy to dismiss our shortness with others, our procrastinating on doing things like dishes. It’s easy to sit around in sweatpants because people on Zoom or whatever conference system you’re using for work can only see the shirt you’re wearing.
Deep down, this isn’t the person I am. I am the person who lives my values, wants to be a good role model for my daughter and partner to my wife. I want to be healthy and have the energy to work toward my goals. I want to have the focus to to take actions to make the world a better place.
Yes, these are difficult times, but are you acting in ways that truly reflect who you are?