Photo: Christopher Campbell for Unsplash

Photo: Christopher Campbell for Unsplash

We all have habits, good and bad, and though we can define the words “good” and “bad” subjectively, we probably all can agree on a baseline of what constitutes good, or constructive, and those that are destructive, or bad.

The more we do a specific thing, the more it becomes a habit. How I focus my energy, what I believe or don't believe, how I want my life to be and my willingness to shape it this way, and my levels of laziness or motivation determine how I manage my habitual life.

Habits are generally based on what makes us feel good, even if they affect our behavior in a counter-productive way. Staying in bed all day, sleeping late, being late, eating too much chocolate... these habits are based on what makes us feel “good” or at least “comfortable” in some way. But the habits that work for us are generally the ones that align with what brings us joy, pleasure, and achievement in a broader sense.

How do we develop the kinds of habits that help us to move towards what we love? First we need to identify what it is that we love, which is that thing or those things that make us feel most alive and give us the most joy and pleasure. For me it is dance, and I've shaped my entire life around it, from studying to performing to choreographing and teaching. Healthy movement is the basis of my belief system and it is so ingrained in my cells and DNA that when I don't move in some way, I don't feel well.

What is it you love to do? What is your deepest passion? It might be gardening or playing the oboe or learning Quechuan or playing tennis. Even if you aren't doing this thing now, what can you envision yourself doing that would bring you closer to this passion, that would make you feel like you were involved in your life's mission, even if you're only imagining it at the moment?

When we can identify the things inside of us that we love to do it is easier to picture what we need to do to achieve them. Easy, it is not! Developing habits that bring us to a higher level in ourselves is definitely work! But a way to make it easier is to focus on each step, rather than becoming overwhelmed by the big picture. Developing good habits is exactly like developing your muscles. It takes time and repetition. And there is a certain joy in this process as each time you practice your new habit you feel the strength and the determination increase.

When our habits align around what truly brings us joy and pleasure and not just something that is a compensation, we are vibrating to a higher frequency. And the great beauty of this process is that we fall in love with ourselves as we come closer to the person we always wanted to be! Suddenly all of our excuses not to do the thing that gets us closer become less potent. Suddenly we prefer to get up early so that we can get back to the activity that brings us so much joy. And what does this do? It builds self-respect. It helps us avoid depression. It makes us feel connected as we become more productive and involved with something outside of ourselves that vibrates to something that is within.

We are all of us encoded with pleasure and pathways to good habits. Our challenge is to go inside of ourselves and activate this treasure!

To listen to my podcast on the subject, please tune in to “kadisova talks”