This sounds cliche, but you think you know yourself, but you really don’t. We form small habits early on in life and they keep compounding until we don’t even realise that we think that way. It doesn’t even have to be early on in life, it might be habits you gained when you were in a particular stage of your life.
For me, at one point I wanted to lift to gain confidence and get fit. The next few years, I kept going to the gym and it became a habit. However my mentality was the same. Exercise equaled to going to the gym. That was it. Cardio, stretching etc. became irrelevant because this notion of gym = exercise is super ingrained into me. This started become a problem over the past year where I went to the gym but I never really examined the reason why. It was just something that I did. When I spoke to a friend and was talking about life overall, he asked me about why I went to the gym compared to other avenues of getting fit.
So, I asked myself: - “Why do I go to the gym?” -> “To Exercise” - “Is gym the only notion of exercising” -> “Of course not” - “Why do I only go to the gym and discount other avenues?” -> “Because I’ve been going to the gym for a long time already” - “Aha, okay and why did I start going to the gym” -> “To gain confidence and get fit”
Since then I’ve defenitly become fit (from a strength perspective) and my confidence is where I would like it to be in key domains of my life. However I never stopped to ask myself why I kept doing what I was doing. It just became a habit.
If you carefully deconstruct your entire life, there’s probably more to you than you might have realised. Unless you’re already a hyper self-aware person, having a friend or a professional help you examine yourself can be really powerful.
Long Term Focus
I always think it’s important that we keep asking ourselves what we want out of life and continually course adjusting until we feel fully aligned. Circumstances change, things happen, and our previous ways of living life become outdated. Part of it all is having to continually readjust your map of reality. Quarterly life reviews can often be very helpful because they force you to think about a small, yet non-trivial part of your life.
If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend checking out this blog post by my friend Scott:
Short Term Focus
All of us want to do things and improve our lives. But how much of that do we actually measure on a daily basis? Very little.
What doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get done.
It’s for this reason that I’ve found rating yourself everyday in a few key habits or tasks is extremely beneficial to map your short term outcomes to your long term outcomes. At the moment I only use a habit tracking spreadsheet to stay on top of what I’d like to change about myself however something I’m actively looking into is personal OKRs. Corporatey? Kinda. Beneficial, I think so (testing pending).
The point I’m trying to make is there a correlation with what you’re doing right now to what you want to achieve? If not, make small changes until over a period of a few months it is.
Life is a strange journey which throws all sorts of interesting turns and pivots. The hardest bit in my opinion is staying optimistic and aligned with what you want to do in the long term while feeling fulfilled in the short term. I’m no master in any of this but as I learn more I’ll be posting more.