3 Reasons Why Habits Are Important

Word Count: 1038

Estimated Reading Time: 8 minutes

“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

The Success of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Besides, Dr. John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, stands out as one of the most impactful books I have read. To date, the book has sold over 25 million copies. It resonated deeply with me because it unearthed the importance and impact that habits have on life.

I believe habits are at the core of who we are. Pastor Rick Warren said, “We are simply a bundle of habits.” More than goals, our habits create the life we live. They are helpers or hinderers to our growth. They are so automatic that we can believe we were born with them. But once we take the lens of awareness and make our habits visible we discover that habits can change and we are not confined by them.

By developing good habits, I am convinced you and I will position ourselves for a higher quality of life. Here are the guideposts for this month with H.A.B.I.T (How Actions Build In Time) as the focal point:

3 Reasons Why Habits are Important (today’s post)

The 3D Path of Habits (3DH) (Arriving March 14th)

Breaking Bad, Building Good (Arriving March 21st)

Change your Habits, Reach your Goals (Arriving March 28th)

Let’s begin with the 3 reasons habits are important. They are:

Likely predictors of our future

I have an affinity for french fries. I supersize my order just to get the extra fries. I especially like Five Guys because they throw in a population of extra fries. I always leave there with a smile on my face. But I have a greater affinity for being healthy and eating right is the path to it. So I must choose when to indulge in eating fries. If I gave in to my liking for fries on a daily basis my health would nose dive. Habits are often the most overlooked predictors of our future because they are ingrained into our daily routine. What we do has a direct correlation with what we eventually see.

Truth be told, we are creatures of habit. And sometimes we are at a loss to explain why we do what we do. For example, I cannot explain why each time I am in deep thought I put my hand behind my head. Or, why I bite my nails when I am reading a book. Habits are powerful. So much, they can stymie our choices and intentions. This is why becoming sentient about our habits is an integral part of creating a better future in the present. But, while they may be predictive, and in some ways restrictive, our habits are not definitive. We can change them for the better.

The holy grail to a better quality of life

There are plenty of motivational tools to motivate us to have better relationships, health, or finances. But motivation cannot be the sole sustainer of a better life. The right habits must be woven into the fabric of motivation to keep us going on the right path to the better life we want.

In an upcoming blog post, I will show you how a priority box can help break bad habits and build good ones instead. The premise to this is derived from James Clear, author of the best-selling book, Atomic Habits. He says that for good habits to stick they must be connected to something meaningful. And building the right habits begins with clarifying our true identity.  

Reinforcers of our identity

What we do is unequivocally tied to who we are. When I lived with my parents I would hear, “Don’t forget who you are” each time I left the house to hang out with my friends. They chose to remind me of my identity in the hope that knowing who I was would dictate what I did and keep me from doing what I should not. I must admit that it worked most of the time. When I did act out of character at home, I would hear, “That’s not who you are.”  From growing up in a home that drew its values from faith and God’s word, to eventually finding my own journey of faith as a follower of Jesus, I believe that our habits should emerge from our identity and not vice versa. My identity shapes my habits, which in turn reinforce my identity.

Aside from good parenting, this is an important skill in life. We tend to see ourselves through the mistakes and failures we have made. We failed, therefore, we identify ourselves as failures. We made a mistake, so we label ourselves as a mistake. Such things create chinks in the armor of our identity, attacking our confidence and making us prone to accept and adopt negative labels. This is probably the reason why addictions are so strong because they are habits that morphed into an identity.

But if you locate your true identity from under the rubble of mistakes and failures, you can begin to employ the right habits that will reinforce who you really are.

To further illustrate this identity to habit relationship, let us practice with some fill in the blanks scenarios. I will do the first three then I will leave the next three for you to fill.

  1. Because I am a faithful husband, I will not cheat on my wife.
  2. Because I am a loving father I spend time with my daughter playing and reading books.
  3. Because we (my wife and I) are generous, we give away part of our income.
  4. Because I am __________________, I _________________.
  5. Because I am __________________, I _________________.
  6. Because I am __________________, I _________________.

By embracing our true identity, our good habits become rhythmic, and we live to the tune of our purpose, not our circumstances.

Final Thought: Success is not about how wealthy we can become but about how effective we are in the priorities and responsibilities we have. Success should not be seen as something in the distant future. But through the daily deployment of good habits, we can have sustained motivation, and success can be an everyday experience.

Keep on Keeping on!

1 Comment

  1. Hello Brother David, this is a excellent blog! Being creatures of habit is the truth. Because I am still growing, I am willing to learn. Because I am aiming to be with the Lord one day, I will continue to do the will of God! Because I am striving to be a good husband, I will continue to be supportive and loving to my remarkable wife. Have a good evening, God bless!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s