Welcome to the ‘Better Habits, Better You’ Blog. I created this blog because I want to help you become a better you. What moved me to create this blog is my fascination with successful people. Whether it be their career, fitness, sports, family, spiritual life or mental health, I find it inspiring when someone is able to master a particular area of their life. What separates successful people from average people? Successful people have a blueprint, which allows them to be successful in what they do. These blueprints can be broken down to better habits which allow individuals to become better versions of who they are. The story below illustrates how better habits have led me to become a better version of myself.
Being a victim
In 2013, I was a victim of my circumstances. I dropped out of university in my social work degree, exited a toxic relationship, became unemployed and was informed by an orthopedic surgeon that I was no longer able to run and jump for the rest of my life due to a knee injury. The circumstances got the best of me and I relapsed to a state of anxiety and depression. At the time, I was seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants. I blamed myself and others for the current state that I was in. I didn’t take care of myself and I was at an all-time low, causing me difficulty in moving forward.
It took a mission trip to the Philippines in 2015 to shake me out of my state of anxiety and depression. I played basketball for the first time with the local kids in the village and it was a phenomenal experience. I was able to run, jump and shoot the basketball without feeling any pain. It made me realize that I was hindering myself from the opportunity of challenging a doctor’s diagnosis of my knee.
Coming back from the Philippines, I decided to take ownership of my life. Playing basketball again was the purpose that I had in mind. Instead of blaming others and myself, I started to ask myself the question, ‘What am I able to do about my situation?’. I decided to focus on what I can do and what was available to me. I decided to put my sport and exercise degree into practice and see a physiotherapist to fix my knee.
By focusing on my purpose in playing basketball again, I started following the directions of the physiotherapist by strengthening my core and the muscles supporting my knee. I started training using a sport-specific exercise routine. It was not easy. Jocko Willink came up with the catchphrase, ‘Discipline equals freedom.’ The world views freedom as the ability to do whatever you want, but if you want to progress in a given area of life, it requires sacrifice and discipline. Athletes or high achievers know that success is built upon discipline which leads to freedom.
By focusing on playing basketball and being disciplined in my exercise, I was able to play basketball again. Through God’s providence, I played my first basketball game at a charity basketball event in May 2016 that helped the same children that I had visited in the Philippines in 2015. It was a great feeling and I became a better player. It made me realize that focusing on what I can become through better habits allows me to achieve things beyond my limiting beliefs.
This is the reason for this blog. I really enjoy helping people become successful in their own hopes and dreams. At times, negative thoughts stop us from achieving our goals and ambitions. It reminds me of the quote by Thomas Jefferson, ‘If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something
you’ve never done.’
Becoming a better communicator is another goal I have in mind. James Clear, author of ‘Atomic Habits’, introduced the concept of identity-based goals as a
replacement for outcome-based goals. Outcome-based goals are founded on a result, but once a certain goal has been achieved, the individual tends to lose focus. One example quite commonly found in the gym consists of an individual who wants to lose 10kg before a wedding. The individual achieves the result, but once the wedding and honeymoon have finished, the person is nowhere to be seen.
Identity-based goals rely on identity rather than the outcome, which tends to be sustainable in the long term. Identity-based goals have helped me to achieve my goal of playing basketball. I pictured myself as a basketball player, not someone who had a bad knee.
The goal of having better communication skills is linked to my identity-based goal of being a life coach and a motivational speaker. In terms of developing myself as a person, I have completed university degrees in sport and exercise science and social work, and I’ve studied books and currently listen to podcasts on life coaching, motivation and communicating. At this present time, I’ve been working at a gym for over 5 years as a Lifestyle Membership Consultant where I
help people accomplish their health and fitness goals. The accumulation of these experiences has led to me developing my skills needed to be a life and motivational coach.
‘Making The Goal Easy’
James Clear explained the concept of having a goal so easy that it leads to adopting a habit. James Clear provides an example of flossing a tooth. In most cases, people will not stop at flossing one tooth. It’s a great way to change the appearance of a goal from a mountain to a small hill. I was able to apply this concept to becoming physically fit for basketball. My first goal consisted of physiotherapy once a week. By focusing on practicing physiotherapy exercises once a week, it motivated me to build the muscles supporting my knee when playing basketball. It did not stop with the physiotherapy exercises. I went home and practiced the exercises whenever I could. This highlights the power of keeping a habit simple.
The ‘Better Habit’
My present goal consists of writing two blog posts twice a week in order to develop my skills as a writer. This goal was inspired by James Clear, who implemented these actions on his website. James Clear wanted to improve his writing and channel his efforts in being consistent with two blog posts a week. Previously, writing has not been a strong point for me. I struggle to convey my thoughts on paper and throughout my university degrees, I was average at best.
I did really well in presentations and felt energized when speaking in front of people. I felt that my personality thrives on understanding a topic and speaking to others about it. I was able to solidify my public speaking, presentation, and facilitation skills through serving in church group communities. I learned the power of vulnerability and how being authentic can impact a person life. I felt that writing requires a lot more time and effort. In the past, I complained about not being a great writer, but now I see it as a necessary skill in helping people become a better version of themselves. People have different preferences in learning and this can include visual, verbal or physical ways of communication. If I am able to develop my writing skills, I know that it will give me another avenue to helping people achieve their goals and dreams.
So instead of complaining about my lack of skill, I completed mini-courses in creative and blog writing. I know it’s not about having the perfect start, but to simply start. Action is the key to making a change. A lot of us, including myself, have been caught up with ‘analysis paralysis’. It’s a state in which we are indecisive and worry about mistakes or having regrets. As a person that loves options, I find making choices to be quite difficult at times. It’s only when I have a vision and purpose, I am able to make choices and take ownership of those choices.
1. What is one area of my life I would like to improve on and why?
2. What identity-based goal can I apply in that particular area of my life?