What is your life?
I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with the fantasy world that we all live in. This ideal life that I want to live yet I could never quite grasp it. My ideal (fantasy) self in my mind was this moving target that I could never obtain. How do I measure my life?
I grew up in an environment of GRIT. Grit your teeth and “just do it!” The life of proverbs, slogans, and willpower to overcome challenges was what propelled me forward. One of my favorite quotes in my 20’s was, “The fear of failure is what fuels me toward success. I’m not as good when I’m comfortable.”
I just “had” grit to overcome life’s challenges. The mindset of Grit, tough as nails, overcomer, achiever is what I wanted. But could I really GRIT my way into my ideal self? Could I GRIT my way to becoming that ideal husband, father, business partner, and Spirit seeker?
About a year ago I read an article about “habitus”. A weird word but what it revealed to me was that Grit did NOT play that big of a role in me becoming my “ideal self”.
Change your habitat. Change your life.
What I’ve learned over the past year is that my habitat (environment) that externally influences my life impacts me more than I realized.
The “ideal husband, father, business-partner” could not be measured because it was a fantasy. The fantasy in my head was encouraged by the delusion of what I saw on social media. How do I GRIT my teeth and become like that guy or husband or father or entrepreneur or Christian? No amount of Grit would ever get me there! Why? Because your “ideal self” can NOT be reached or achieved because you can NOT measure a fantasy.
I began to ask myself, “What quantifiable goals do I have and how can I shape my habitat to help me obtain those goals?” I personally hate New Year’s resolutions because they are a joke. Gyms love them! They get tons of new memberships and the Gym owner has high traffic for 2 months. Then they have the summer and fall “off of work” as they still get paid!
So, if Grit does NOT work. What does work? What is my life? How do I set and reach goals by setting up my habitat to help me reach those goals?
To begin with, I knew that I had to write my goals down daily. Sounds extreme, but that is what I began doing. Every day I wake up and write out my monthly goals that are quantifiable (numbers based). This was a good start because it positioned my mind to focus on those goals that I could then measure my progress on the gains that I was making.
I could stop comparing myself to those I followed on social media because I can NOT compare myself to a “fantasy” of what I want to become based on someone else’s life. I could only compare myself against the gains that I made week by week and month by month.
Journaling in 3 areas
I began investing in myself in two distinct ways. I invested in learning how to setup my habitat. And second, I invested my time twice a day. I began writing down what I now call the “I”. You are probably very familiar with the “I”, here is how it goes.
- I will lose 20 pounds
- I will spend 1 hour daily with my son
- I will call 30 new prospects every day
- I will go on 2 playdates a week
- I will pay it forward in the Starbucks line 4-times a month
You’ve done this even if you (like me) hate New Year’s resolutions because they do NOT work! We all set what I call “I will” goals. Many times these goals are just in our mind and sit somewhere between “reality and fantasy”. How do we bring these goals from our “fantasy world” to reality? We write them down every day and we measure them on a monthly basis!
This was the first evolution of my journaling (go ahead make a crack about my diary).
Then came the “my” portion of writing down the “I will” goals. I would write out my “I will” goals every day and out popped “My moments”. These are moments that we all encounter every day and you may capture them on camera and post them on FB or Instagram or they may just be in your memory. The “my moments” portion began to flow out, like this.
Today we had Denny and Shirley our neighbors over for dinner. Grayson had his first week of preschool and today came home with a cold. blah-blah-blah. At first, I thought this was lame, I’m just writing a diary. What is the use of this?
Then it dawned on me, my memories are going to fade. I may remember a few “lightning and thunder” moments in my life but they are trapped in my memory. What if I leave a legacy behind to my son? What I wish for many days is how my Grandfathers handled adversity, how they overcame challenges, what they did daily, what life experiences that they had, and how their Faith made them raise good families.
The “my memories” portion of my journaling was not for me it was for them. They are for Grayson’s children and their children. The only thing that is certain during life is change. Writing in “my memories” journal reveals how life changes as we go through different stages of our life.
Then “my memories” on a daily basis began to evolve into my last category that “framed” my mind for daily victory. What is my life? It is not my own because I believe my life was bought with a price! The last section that I began to write about was my “Thine”.
The spiritual is what frames our worldview and how we see our habitat. If I really wanted to set up a habitat that would influence my habits then it would have to be through the spiritual framework of what I believe.
I to My to Thine – revealed to me that by changing my habitat I could change my habits and I can measure my habits because they are NOT fantasies they are my reality!