Our personhood is carved by the flow of our habits.
Identity comes from consistency, not rare moments of greatness.
And so, if we are to engrave them so deeply that they become natural and instinctual, we have to make space to integrate them into our lives. I’m reminded of a useful mantra my yoga instructor recites at the end of each class:
Give your body time to memorize the new habits you started, she says.
Luxuriate for few minutes. Soak it all in. That way, next time you come in to practice, muscle memory will engage, and you’ll perform the postures with less conscious awareness. That’s how habit grows. It needs space.
Brook’s treatise on the road to character takes it on step further. His research on the moral ecology and internal cohesion of history’s great achievers suggest making the beginning of a new habit a major event in your life. Launching yourself with as strong and decided an initiative as possible.
And so, whatever new habit you intend to start, make it momentous. Do something tangible and memorable and public. Throw a party or write a press release or email twenty friends or buy a leather journal or take a picture of yourself naked to remember what you looked like that day you started this journey.
By raising the level of significance attached to the habit, you guard yourself against anything that might weaken it in the future.
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