You’re Your Habit.

‘You are not defined by your goals. You are defined by your habits.’

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The recent pandemic had us confined to our homes. It was undoubtedly one of the worst crises humanity has had to face. But looking over to the bright side of things; it certainly allowed much time to introspect and re-evaluate our definition of ‘normal’. Life in the pandemic was not smooth sailing. In fact, it never is. In a world where change is constant, our routines, the systems we have in place for ourselves act as an anchor, plunged deep into the ground, providing much-needed stability. As waves of uncertainty slapped across our shores tearing us down, they left us to realise the importance of building ourselves back on.

‘Tuch tujha Shilpakaar’.– goes a popular, poignant saying in Marathi, which essentially means, ‘You make your own destiny’. It goes on to call one an ‘architect/sculptor’ equipped with lessons, wisdom and tools to carve out a niche for oneself in this world. As goes author & YouTuber Lilly Singh (previously Superwoman), ‘The only person who can put you in check, is you.’

The incessant need for instant gratification has robbed us of our vision for s longer term. We often fail to anticipate the benefits that lie in the future, simply because we are too impatient to wait for it. Apart from food, fashion and a bunch of ‘furious’ people, adding the word ‘fast’ to anything with respect to building a habit just does not hold true. Habits are not made overnight. It is a process- It is sequential, monotonous and even painstaking sometimes.

Popular beliefs associated with habits prescribe 21 days for a habit to develop. Some even go to the extent of 90 days. But that in fact for me is not true. A habit is not meant to be an activity conducted unwillingly for a period of days till it seeps into your routine. It is equal parts consistency (yep, that’s the tricky part); and equal parts desire. For an individual to develop a habit, both the mind and body must function in tandem. Whilst struggling to establish that equilibrium, the greatest demon one has to fight is ‘resistance’.

As per motivational speaker and investor ‘Ankur Warikoo’, ‘our brains are hard-wired to resist any activity that does not provide the ‘feel-goodies’ aka that sweet dopamine release. In this event of resistance, we often find ourselves with the attention span of a squirrel- looking for the next shiny object to distract ourselves, effectively losing focus.
In such dire absence of focus and the never-ending need to fulfil dopamine filled needs, one does not naturally gravitate toward habits,- which are not the most stimulating activities. Let’s face it! They are boring!

And I get it! Forming habits is hard!
This is why we must do it regularly. Whipping back into shape is precisely needed for our ‘monkey’ of an attention span, a rarity in itself. Attention being one of the world’s more scarce resources. Habits get a pretty long time to get formed.

The thumb rule is to ‘never shock your system’. Quoting Ankur Warikoo yet again, I would assert that shocking or unexpectedly expecting your system to behave and react a certain way is tough, given that it is used to following a certain chain of command. The key is to gently break in. Slowly and gradually initiating oneself into the process of building a habit is the best way to go. This just naturally allows one to blend in the process in an organic manner.

Apart from Writing, journalling, creating timetables and to-do’s, the key tools required would be a great resolve. Also, try not to fit yourself into watertight compartments of somebody’s vision. Because it is not math that we are trying to solve here, it is a life, career and a personality we are trying to build. It’s best to determine one’s own approach. This is especially important to millennials and Gen Z, who are just in the process of creating a foundation for their futures. You can only build on a strong foundation or rather have it all crumble, compromising on the same.

The pandemic has been in some aspects a blessing in disguise. With confinement, it has slowed us down to reflect, introspect and regroup. Ideal for the generation of tomorrow, to start today.

For “He who has begun, has half done.”—Horace.

Author: Digital Onca

Digital Onca is a blog that documents the concepts of Digital Marketing and Public Relations. Digital Onca is the effort to stay with the times, understand more deeply, more closely the working of a digital space that is steadfastly emerging around us.

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