Welcome to the Growing Tree of Life, newsletter with life-improving tips, delivered every Thursday since January 2023.
Trees floating in the air with soil carved around the roots to spell the word GROW.

Do your habits define you?

Issue number #042
2 November 2023
Reading time 2 minutes

Grab a seat; we're about to dive into a conversation about habits. You and me, having a friendly chat. We'll explore why breaking free from those not-so-great habits can feel like an uphill climb and how to make the changes you've been dreaming of.

We've all been there, haven't we?

Picture this: New Year's Eve, the clock striking midnight, and you're on fire with resolutions. "From tomorrow, I'll exercise daily, quit smoking, or chase those big dreams." More often than not, those well-intentioned promises fizzle out within a few weeks.

So, what's the deal with changing our habits?

Habit vs. You

I actually had this chat recently. In our chat, we stumbled upon a simple truth: the real issue isn't the habit itself.

Why Do Our Brains Love Habits?

Think of habits as the shortcuts your brain takes.

They're like well-trodden paths in your mind that make certain actions a breeze. Your brain loves these shortcuts because they're like energy-saving mode. It wants to stash away that mental energy for a rainy day, for those moments when you really need it. So, it often turns everyday actions into habits.

The twist: your brain doesn't play favourites when it comes to good or bad habits. If an action gets the job done, it gets a thumbs-up from your brain, and off you go on autopilot.

Taking Control

Now, here's where the story gets interesting.

You can actually take the reins and steer your habits in a new direction. It's like telling your brain, "I want to do things differently." Science tells us your brain is a bit of a shape-shifter. It's flexible and can learn new tricks.

Changing your habits? Totally doable. The catch: we often blur the lines between our habits and our true identity.

"That's Just Me..."

Let me break it down with a simple story: imagine someone prone to sudden bursts of anger. They might say, "That's who I am, I can't help it." Here's the twist—it's not about who they are; it's about what they've gotten used to.

It's a habit, not an unchangeable trait.

We often focus too much on what we do and forget to see who we are underneath. We've got this habit of mixing up our habits with our identity, and that makes change feel like a tough puzzle to solve.

Finding Your True Self

Imagine you're like an old statue pulled from the sea, covered in seaweed, shells, and all sorts of debris. Beneath that mess, there's a hidden masterpiece. When you start cleaning it, you unveil the true essence of the statue beneath all the debris.

It's the "you" without all those habits clinging on.

  • You're like that hidden gem, pure and unblemished.
  • The bad habits? They're like the clutter on the statue, but they're not who you really are.
  • The good habits? They're the nice, clean clothes and accessories you wear to show the world who you are.

Changing Habits – Like Picking Out New Clothes

Now, let's talk about habits as if they're clothes in your wardrobe.

They're like your everyday outfits, the way you present yourself to the world. The exciting part: your habits don't define who you are. They don't have the final say.

You're the one who gets to choose the habits you wear.

Some habits are like your comfy old sneakers—familiar and easy. You can consciously choose new ones–either for a special occasion or because you want to try something new. It's just like you shop for new clothes. It might take a bit of effort. You have to be willing to try on something different. But these fresh choices can become your new habits.

The secret to changing habits is recognising that –depending on the habit– they are merely external decorations or debris.

Your habits are not you; they're just the way you present yourself to the world.

"Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

My tip today:

To successfully change your habits:
  1. Realise that habits are not your identity – they're simply how you present yourself to others.
  2. Discover who you really are – find your inner motivation and values.
  3. Consciously choose new habits that represent your true self.
In our next chat, we'll explore practical strategies to create, manage, and replace habits. Until then, keep your mindset open to change, and see you next Thursday!

Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday.


What you can do next:

  1. Did you find the content valuable?
    Do you know someone who could benefit from information like this?
    Please forward the email to them.
  2. Have you been forwarded this email?
    Do you like it?

    Here is the link you can use to subscribe.

    The Growing Tree of Life newsletter is sent out every Thursday.
    Reading time is usually 4 minutes or less.
  3. The Tree of Life Quest website is a resource for you-centred personal development. Check it out.
  4. Do you have questions, comments, suggestions or complaints?
    I would LOVE to hear from you.
    You can reply to this email or use the Contact me Form.
  5. Follow me on X (Twitter) for posts about personal growth, life improvement and occasional threads with tips and tools you can use.
    (Note: I don't post on other platforms too much. Yet.)
  6. If you want to unsubscribe from the Growing Tree of Life newsletter, the link is at the bottom of the newsletter.
See you next time.


Share this with your friends.
youtube twitter facebook instagram linkedin email 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet