It’s very much like the chicken and egg question to think about whether your habits shape your identity or who you are is revealed through your habits. But thankfully in this situation the answer can be and is both. Understanding how your habits both reveal and shape your identity is essential to building habits that both reflect who you are and also shape who you will become.
How Habits Reveal Your Identity
Many of our habits are formed naturally with little to no effort. These habits often reveal things about ourselves or our upbringing that we may or may not be aware of. They may seem to be second nature and you might not even be aware of their existence.
Recognizing these habits can be an excellent way to deepen your understanding of yourself. However, it’s essential that we approach this with curiosity not judgement. And that we are also mindful of the habits that are beneficial to us. Far too often we buy into moral judgements about our habits and when we look at them as an indicator of who we are we can slip into either denial or self-punishment. Exercising daily and keeping a tidy house don’t make you morally superior or a better person than the one who emotionally eats and has stacks of papers everywhere.
Identifying and understanding our habits and how they impact our lives and reveal who we are can empower us to make the changes we desire. We can better learn our own strengths and weaknesses and lean into them to create new habits and become the best version of ourselves.
How Habits Shape Your Identity
When you do the same things so often that they become almost automatic you begin to change who you are. It isn’t simply that you run for example, you are a runner. It isn’t that you smoke, you are a smoker. The habits that we have change how we see ourselves and the world around us and in this way they shape our identity. They cause us to grow, stagnate, or fall back.
The person you want to be and the future you want to have are determined far more by what you do consistently than they are by your thoughts, circumstances, or family of origin.
You ARE What You Do
We often forget that we are what we do. Sometimes we define ourselves by external validation or proof. While other times we embrace traits that have fallen away. It is a curious thing that we consider a person who paints houses for a living a painter, but one who paints landscapes on a canvas isn’t unless their art has hung in a gallery or been sold. Clearly BOTH are painters (and one is an artist as well). It is also curious that we will call ourselves kind while consistently treating those around us with disregard. If you don’t consistently behave kindly, you are not kind.
At the end of the day… you are what you consistently do. And we all have areas where we can grow and improve. What are you doing to become the person you’ve been longing to be and build the life you’ve been dreaming of?