Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: Jorinde Berben
When I clean my house, I like to listen to something on my headphones. Sometimes that’s music, sometimes it’s a podcast, yesterday it was an episode of Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast with James Clear on his book ‘Atomic Habits’.
Now, I’ll be upfront and honest: I haven’t read the book (yet). And there are so many wonderful ideas in the podcast alone that I can imagine it must be brilliant. But today, I just want to share this little one-liner with you because I love the shift it can make in your perspective.
In the podcast, James explains how we can learn to build habits not by setting goals (which we often do not reach) but by changing the systems, the set of habits, that can lead us to those goals. It’s not the fact that you write ‘Run a marathon by June’ on your fridge that is crucial in getting you to run that marathon, but whether or not you put on your running shoes every day. James Clear encourages you to build tiny habits and let them grow bigger.
One way of helping you focus on which system you want to get in place is by asking yourself what kind of person you really want to become by reaching that goal. I really want to be a published author one day, so the person I need to become to do that is a writer. I also want to gain some muscle (and lose some fat) and feel more energetic, which would make me a healthy (or healthier) person.
When you’ve figured out which kind of person can reach the goal you are setting for yourself, you can first ask yourself if you really want to become that person. (I want to be strong, for instance, but I have no interest in becoming a bodybuilder). Then you can ask yourself at any relevant choice you come up to: What would an <insert type of person here> do?
What would a writer do with these extra 5 minutes I’m waiting for the bus? How would a creative person approach this project? What would a healthy person order at the restaurant?
Since my partner and I are both looking into establishing healthier habits again, we opted for the bikes to go to a nearby town today instead of the car. As an added bonus, we got beautiful sunset views on the way home: