This guide will allow you to kickstart a direct reflection of your regular habits. Gain clarity about your own goals, systems and motivations. The result might surprise you. This guide is based on the previous article „Daily habits. Understand why you do them„.
Take 5 minutes to write down habits you do regularly.
Regular doesn’t necessarily mean daily/weekly. You may have routines that you haven’t cultivated as much as you would like, but please write them down anyway. Some questions that may help you:
- What do you do to stay fit?
- Do you have hobbies?
- What do you do to earn money?
- What makes you happy?
- Do you have side hustle?
- What are you learning?
- What would you like to do more often?
Goals and Skills
Take a look now at your goals and skills. Before you compare habits with targets, it’s time to take a first independent look at them. So please put your first habit list aside for once.
Now take some minutes to find your personal motivation. Write down short answers in a new list. Here again some questions that might be helpful:
- What is my personal dream — what have I always wanted to achieve or experience?
- Which goals do I have at the moment?
- Which goals have I had for a very long time?
- What am I missing in my life?
- What is great in my life that I would like to have more of?
- What would be a great goal for your family, your health or your business/career?
- What do you want to accomplish in the short term?
- What in the long term and how do you get there?
Now do the same with skills. Skills are habits we repeat to gain mastery. So, what do you learn or train? What do you get out of it? Skills are unique, so here are some random examples you can use as a starting point:
- Public speaking (Professional Skills)
Combine your habits with goals & skills
Now it’s time to bringe these seperate lists together into one table.
- Start adding all your routines in such a list into the column “Habits”.
- Take your “Goal-List” and try to match them with habits. Cross out all the items you have added to your list.
- Add all open goals, that do not match with your habits, to the end of your list.
- Do the same with skills. Use the same column as for goals, as they are both the basis for your motivation.
Now you already have an overview, about how strongly your habits reflect your goals and personal development.
Perhaps new goals are popping up now because you are discovering something in your habits or want to add new habits to help you achieve your goals.
So far you got a good mix of the skills you train/learn and the goals you pursue. And some of these topics fit somehow together. You will identify clusters that you may not yet named, but let’s have a try to summarize these topics.
The challenge: you could come up with a ton of systems, where a single habit or skill would perfectly fit in.
Please only write down the systems, that has meaning for yourself. When it’s nothing that you are aiming for, it’s not your system.
The exercise is about finding your personal systems.
Things you really care about and find meaningful.
Systems that work for me:
Often habits fit in multiple systems. You can use the following list as a starting point and replace the examples with your own routines and goals. In practice, it is most difficult to distinguish between goals, systems, skills and practice. The examples of “meditation” or “blogging” illustrates this quite well. There is no right and no wrong here. And I am very sure that it is always different for you.
What might happen
You will most likely not fill out the full list, as the separation is not easy and can also change with every thought. It will help you to add a description to each habit and the context in which it relates to skills, goals and systems. So when you come back to it, you understand your original viewpoint.
While working out this list for me, I had another result that I want to share. Based on my initial list I figured out that “Freedom” — one of my overall guiding principles — is not reflected on my personal list. That was unexpected. I was so convinced that this was the most important thing for me, because it felt like one of my personal guiding principles. So I thought:
- What does freedom mean to me?
- Why do I think this is important to me?
- And why are my habits not reflecting that?
Now I added it to the list, as I realized that “Overcoming fear” is no system for me, it’s a skill — and the overarching system is “Freedom”. This realization alone was worth the practice. I hope you will discover some similar surprises and it will teach you something about your passions, dreams and overarching guiding principles. Only you can do this for yourself. So do it.
- Add routines, hobbies or regular actions that you do in the column “habits”.
- Find out why you are doing them — what do you get out of it, what do you learn? Add this to Goals & Skills.
- Now find your cluster. What is the overarching goal, the biggest thing you would still call worthwhile — or maybe the special thing that is true for you — this could be your “system”.
- Write it down — see the context and think about it.
- Any boxes you leave blank, describe with a question e.g.: What is my relationship to money? Is mindfulness a skill or a system? For which reason do I do this?
- Come back to the list from time to time. Read the questions. Change relationships that don’t seem authentic to you and update the list.
Now just create your own list and add all your own routines to it one by one. If you like, you can also find a version as a Google Spreadsheet that you can duplicate. For questions or support, just drop me a line.
I’d love to see some lists from you and share ideas. Hopefully this first guide is helpful to you.