January 16, 2020 (1 min read)
I’ve tried many different “habit tracking apps” in the past, and the only thing they have in common is that they didn’t work. I might have stuck with a habit for a few weeks or months, but in the end, I always lost a streak, stopped using the app, and eventually abandoned the habit.
In the last couple of years though I’ve finally started building a few healthy habits without any external aid.
What worked this time? A simple shift in thinking.
For example, take reading.
My old rationale was: I want to read 10 pages per day. Or I want to read 5 days in a row. Or maybe I want to read 50 books this year. That didn’t work.
My new way of thinking is: I want to gain knowledge, discover different points of view, grow intellectually. I want to have fun reading crazy thoughts from diverse authors, and fill my time with a slow, healthy activity vs. scrolling feeds obsessively.
Going from focusing on how much or when I should do something, to why I should do it made all the difference.
The same goes for everything else. Eating? Try going from “I shouldn’t eat sweets during the week” to “I’m a healthy person, and I enjoy feeling light” (I'm still not quite there yet). Don’t just try to change your actions, shift your identity and let that change your actions. Please the deep part of your brain that feeds on meaningful goals, not just its rewards and pleasure centers that crave the dopamine rushes.
PS: I’m currently reading to Atomic Habits by James Clear, and it heavily influences this post. I’m just a few chapters in and it’s giving me amazing insights. Highly recommended.