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Start with Habits, End with Values
A Reframe for Bringing Your Whole Self to your Daily Life
This post is not another post about habits. It goes deeper than that.
Habits are the baby steps to a system that serves your unique goals. As I mentioned in my last post, creating a new habit is how we enact the change we want to see in our lives. It’s pretty clear and obvious. And yes, clearing room in our overstuffed agendas is critical for creating new habits.
But here’s the key question that often doesn’t get addressed when we consider changing something about our lives:
What is the new habit or new system in service to? What is the “why” of making challenging daily change?
Some would say it’s about the goals we have for ourselves. We might want to spend less time in our Instagram reels (*raises hand*), or we might want to curb that sugar habit so we have a more sustainable energy throughout the day. We might want to stop procrastinating on the dream of launching into a new career.
All of these are valid goals. Pick them up and put them as goal posts, yes. But also, know that a dead person can succeed at these goals better than we can. That’s why a certain school of thought calls them “dead person goals.” A dead person isn’t on Insta, doesn’t eat sugar, and can’t procrastinate.
To make change meaningful, we have to go one level deeper than goals into values.
You and only you can aim to connect more presently with your loved ones. You and only you can aim to create more time in the day for work that lights you and your unique calling up. You and only you can muster the courage and conviction to make the career change that you deserve.
In other words: habits are the building blocks of change. And change is not agnostic. We have to point our compass towards the values that light our goals up. We have to strive towards something that’s additive, that brings us joy and meaning, and offers sustenance and service to our people. Once we’re aimed at that north star, we make the habits and systems that drive us in that direction.
This is what we call our way of being. It’s not what we do. It’s not even how we do what we do. It’s about who we are, how we want to be, how we want to show up today, how we want to show up tomorrow, what we want to stand for tomorrow.
This is the core orientation of my coaching practice and the Integral® model at its foundation. It’s best fitted for those of us who need help with habits (yes) and systems (yes). But more than that: it’s for those who feel called to home in on their deepest values and their whole self, and align their days around that. If you’re looking for 1-on-1 support with your unique calling and values alignment, please respond and reach out.