“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle
I love this quote by the philosopher Aristotle. While his example of habit is towards excellence, this would apply to anything we do with consistency. This goes for healthy and unhealthy habits, mindsets, emotions, thoughts, and basically everything else. If you practice habits that are healthy for you, you’ll be healthy in turn. If you’re consistently doing things that don’t serve you well, you’ll be unhealthy.
I see this often with clients and colleagues wishing to change unhealthy habits. They mean well. They really do want to live a healthy life, manage their stress and anxiety, and even set goals to do better. But then deadlines approach. External and internal influences cause them to break their intention. They’re working more than they know they should. They’re indulging in more unhealthy habits. Eventually, they’re back to where they started, except this time there’s the shame of failure.
What Aristotle is onto here is that health, excellence, and success are practiced habits. They are a lifestyle, not a goal to be achieved. Our daily moment-to-moment choices are what make us feel happy and achieved, not reaching some metaphorical finish line (though recognition and validation for achievement are always welcomed).
Like shifting any paradigm, time and patience are necessary for constructing a lifestyle that suits you and creates the health that you want. Think about the analogy of your life as a garden. What plants do you want to grow? What fruits do you want to reap? Shift your attention to watering and tending to those activities and create a habit of wellness for yourself. Maybe it’s meditation. Maybe it’s changing how you eat. Maybe it’s setting firm boundaries around work, relationships, etc. Maybe it’s going to one of my previous posts and practicing a short stretch with me. Maybe it’s just closing your eyes right now and taking a deep breath.
Ask yourself “What is it that I repeatedly do? What do I spend time watering in my own garden? And does that align with what I truly want and need?”
As a Coach, I help people of all ages, roles, identities, creeds, and backgrounds with this kind of work. Sometimes this involves lifestyle changes, aided by mindfulness and meditation, and other times it involves going to the block itself and understanding where it came from.
If you're ready to begin, schedule a free 20-minute call with me to discuss your path and how we can work together to move you toward where you want to be. Feel free to share my info with folks who could benefit.