75 - Habit-building 3: Use fresh starts to change your identity

02-07-2023

habit-building

We tend to repeat any routine that makes us happy. Problem is lots of things feel short-term blissful while being long-term harmful.

A new identity helps change our habits by tagging that same feel-good factor with a healthier, better routine. We still get gratified, just with different things and for longer.

Here’s the rub. Changing our self-image is a turning point in our lives. It doesn’t just happen. We need to use certain situations, or even make them happen, to leave our past self behind and welcome our new self.

Think of your life as a story. You can change the narrative if you don’t like it, But certain occasions lend themselves to new beginnings better than the rest. Think of a new chapter, a new section, or a new paragraph.

The birth of a child is a chance to reset a life, a new job to reset a career, a Monday to reset a week, a morning to reset a day. These are all occasions to start afresh, in ways big and small.

Fresh starts don’t appear only on the calendar. They could be locational (moving home), professional (switching jobs), or associated with any meaningful life event (end of a relationship). More importantly, they could be engineered–new town, new beginnings.

No matter their kind, fresh starts offer us a chance to reset. Our internal software asks us at the end of a stage: do you want to continue with the default? The question goes away if we ignore it. But if we’re willing to pause and consider, it is a chance to change the settings. We could go from a laidback student to an ambitious professional, from a carefree bachelor to a responsible spouse, from a wasteful renter to a frugal homeowner, and so on. The bigger the transition, the fresher the start.

Sometimes though things are moving just fine and a change may disrupt your flow. You have been good with your diet until the holidays show up. You’ve done your meditation practice all week but the weekend threatens to derail it. It is important to not let things slide when a good streak is broken.

So if you want to build a new habit, align your self-image with it. And time the change with a reset in your life. There are few better occasions than fresh starts to get you out of a rut. The anticipation of new things can be a motivator for positive change. ‘’

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