The best way to make a habit stick: this is your North Star

As a professional organizer and a lifestyle coach, I am often offering advice not just on how to organize but how to think about the life you want to live – the person you want to be daily. When you know who you want to be, the goal of getting organized or eating healthy, working out or spending more time alone, can more easily become a habit.

James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, states that identity change is the North Star of habit change.  He suggests that habit change is less about how and what and more about your true desire to become someone.

Who do you want to be?  It’s the first question to ask when thinking about making changes to your life.

And it is really quite an ingenious way to make changes.  So if you want to be more organized, healthy, enjoying your life fully, ask yourself: who is the type of person who has an organized home, who eats healthy and moves regularly, who consistently is joyful and optimistic about life?

What habits does a person who is organized, healthy, fit, happy exhibit?

Your habits help you become that person you wish to be. “They are the channel through which you develop your deepest beliefs about yourself.” (Clear, p41)

And this folks, is what it is all about.

Being clear around what you want for your identity will help you determine daily which habits help you reach it, and which don’t.

Of course, like with any change, there is no perfection in this. Perfect can stay on the curb. Your daily choices and what habits you perform daily can be negative from time to time. But that is also part of the growth and the learning. Being aware of what is negative, and what yields a good or bad result is all part of the process. And the being aware is key.

Being aware of who you want to be can help you make choices that help you win the day.

If you want to be organized, for instance, you must first choose to identify as someone who can be that way. And then you must shift your thinking. I so often meet with people who don’t believe they can be organized. They don’t see themselves that way.  And while months and years and even lifetimes of feeling overwhelmed because of too much can leave you feeling unable to be organized, the truth is it’s learned.

Organization is something we can all learn to do and be. Once you believe in who you can become, you will be aware of what an “organized” person does. And embrace more easily the things that make it possible.

Like any healthy endeavor, it’s there for you to choose. You get to develop your identity and “be” organized, or healthy, or happy anytime you want.

That should feel so promising. It makes what seems so daunting feel more than possible.

Who do you want to become? What qualities does your true self encompass?

Find your north star and you can become anything your heart desires.

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Simplicity is the best tool in the tool box