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How to choose your habits

How to choose your habits might be a hard task – this might help you to decide.

Know first who you are then adorn yourself accordingly <Epictetus>

To Epictetus all external events are determined by fate and are thus beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. 

To get back to this quote, this can be interpreted as something like: 

While we live we should wear on the outside what compliments who we are on the inside.

This stoic belief was extended on Christianity or rather we should say that Christianity extrapolated it from stoicism. 

For this video this thesis has a profound meaning saying: 

First you need to find a meaning in your life – or at least its core patterns  and then compliment it with habits that you won’t stop to execute

There could be a discussion about what was first whether the chicken or the egg. Whether it’s your habits that form you or it’s your personal characteristics – 50 % inherited, 50% linked to your environment that impacts your habit formation that largely determines the outcomes of your life. 

It’s clear that there are some predispositions that let people perpetuate some habits easier than others. Everyone is unique and a little bit special in personal characteristics. I think this is especially true by habit execution, especially in the long run. 

Let’s just leave the latter for now and define habits as a tool of manifestation of who you are. 

How to choose your habit? First, figure out who you are

Figuring out who you are is a tough question. It can be a life – long journey. Moreover, because life is dynamic – it’s changing and evolving, so you are going to have fun until you won’t be able to figure it out anymore. 

Let’s sum what tools you got to really figure it out?: 

  • Via Negativa 
  • Visualization 
  • Beliefs
  • Experience 

How to choose your habit – Via Negativa

The Pope was asking Michelangelo, what is the secret behind his genius, and he wanted to know, how was Michelangelo able to sculpture such a remarkable masterpiece – the statue of David.

The Pope was surprised by Michelangelo’s answer, he said:

It’s simple! I just remove what’s not David.

If you do not know how to define yourself – your ultimate goal, your Michelangelo, the idol you want to get to, start from who your idol is not. VIa negativa. If you think about that, we’re hardwired for negativity. 

Research has shown that across a wide array of psychological events, people tend to focus more on the negative as they try to make sense of the world. We can tell you a lot of arguments, but your time is precious and we want your engagement, so we’ll just let you think about that. 

There’s something about the statement that – 

We know much more about what is wrong than we know about what is right. From a negative perspective, we can predict some things rather more precisely. 

If you are having surgery and incompetent surgeon executes it, the probability of serious damage or death is rather high, isn’t it?

So, we should better get aware of incompetent surgeons.

Maybe, your task is to find out who are NOT first – like David. Remember Job’s quote about focus: 

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”

Maybe how to choose your habits is to decide what habits you don’t want to do. 

How to choose your habits – Visualization

Visualization is best for finding answers. You can call this habit, visualization a meditation. IN contemporary days the west is learning meditation in the traditional Eastern understandings of the word meditation. 

In Eastern, particularly Buddha influenced upbringings meditation means an attempt to cease the mind – to lock it, to stop it, to conquer its autopilot, particularly with a goal to extricate oneself from its destructive powers.  

Yes, our minds can hurt us – Buddha researched this and concluded that happiness is only possible beyond the mind. In contemporary days one of the best spiritual teachers is Eckhart Tolle – who expresses Buddha’s thought in a pointer of the present moment. Simply be – do not think. 

Western considerings of word meditation were of expressing considered thoughts on a subject. And this can be meditation as well. It can be a dedicated, focused, exclusive mind tethering activity on a single subject – that subject is better expressed as a single goal.

Visualization is a meditation about your life where your mind is controlled to create your ideal life picture. 

I tell you why you should indulge visualization and create your virtual image that your brain is capable of doing: 

  1. You can create an ideal life that you can follow in the real one. 
  2. You can learn how to create things in your mind like Tesla or Einstein 
  3. Lastly, you can create an alter you – the third eye that observes your action and judges it. That can help you influence your decisions and actions, maybe correct them closer to your ideals. 

If you do not know how to start at first – try our video with white screen method

Visualize your ideal life and pick habits based on that vision.

How to choose your habits – Beliefs

Your belief system sets your character and your personal character helps to shape your destiny. The belief systems are extrapolated from other group entities that create our environment – they may be inherited from a family, community or societal culture. 

A belief system is largely shaped by education that you get that sets a certain pattern for information processing. 

Your belief system largely determines what kind of next information you will process. After your belief system is in place it largely filters what information is important to support that belief. 

It’s a good habit to clean in this system once in a while.

Have you heard of the constitution of values? 

What if you looked at yourself as a person that requires a constitution of values- that is a written, ceremonial piece of paper that sets priorities of your values. 

If you are brutally honest to yourself and you want the best for yourself then you’ll write in priorities what is the most important thing for you. This can tremendously shape your behavior and decision making.

Think about Steve Jobs. He started Apple, but at the same time, his girlfriend said that she’s pregnant. Steve knew exactly what he wanted and what was his no.1 value. Jobs could not be a father, because that was way down underneath a vision of starting his own company. 

We’re not saying that it was a good decision, but he was brutally honest to himself and he decided upon his values. 

For instance, if business is more important for you than employment – pick habits that build a business instead of forming you as an employee. 

If you believe that being in shape is great, but you do not need to look like a professional athlete – you won’t take steroids. You know where we are getting. Values determine your habits. 

Pick your habits based on the priorities of values you got for yourself. 

How to choose your habits – Experience

And last but not least – experience. 

Experiences shape us all. Our beliefs, our identities – what do we consider important, how do we see ourselves? 

Experience is also execution of habits. It’s awesome if you can dedicate a certain time like let’s say a month and work on your dedicated habit. But, the truth is, that most of the habits that you picked as a plan – voluntarily, somehow don’t stick. 

But, anyway, that’s a good approach – to give a habit some time so your relationship with that habit can evolve. That way you will have some material to reflect upon. After some time of habit execution, you can really determine based on techniques described earlier that this is great, but this may not be for you. Or otherwise that this is great and you want this in your life. 

What about cold showers? Good or not? Tried that, have been there, what’s great about it, what’s not? How do you believe that it’s making you a better, enhanced person? 

There’s no habit, one single solution that fits all. Everything needs to be customized to your personal experience. 

So, we hope that this helped in deciding how and why you should choose particular habits for yourself. 

There are plenty. We’re constantly researching them, inviting them and experimenting with them. 

Download our habit tracker app and become a habit freak with us. 

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