Becoming Your Best Self


As the cold winter weather takes over the landscape and all we seem to hear these days in the news are Covid-related topics, it is only natural that many of us feel a sense of sadness and a mixture of entrapment and detachment. 

In this situation, we can also observe with wonder how the human ability to adapt and transform has taken us this far. We are now FaceTiming with our loved ones, taking online dancing classes, and speed dating via Zoom (yes, that’s a thing!). 

Staying at home has forced us into a “time-out” to think; we suddenly have found ourselves in this constant headspace, challenged to confront who we really are as individuals. This has also forced us into forming new habits, while at the same time, deepening old ones. 

Maybe you used to order take-out a lot, now you spend your evenings actually cooking. Maybe you liked to paint, now you are becoming an actual artist. Whatever it is that you are doing, deepening old habits seems to be the easier way to go, even if it is something you do not wish to do (like watching too much TV and becoming a couch potato!). 

Establishing a new habit can feel like mission impossible. How many times have you made plans to work out or exercise at the end of your workday but never got around to it? Maybe you told yourself you would kick-start your savings plans by making monthly contributions to your RRSP, only to end up spending your savings online shopping instead!

In the pursuit of answers for this human dichotomy and how to emerge from it, I stumbled upon a book called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. Yes, a self-help book about habits (how very cliché of me) but if you’ve read this far, please stay with me a bit longer. 

In this book, James Clear describes a simple but essential concept that was missing in all those “how-to” books you may have read, and the message is this: in the long run, the success of your habit formation will depend on your ability to change the way you see yourself, as well as the way other people perceive you. There are a number of ways to establish a new habit, but crystallizing those habits depends greatly on transforming your own sense of self-identity. 

If you are perceived by yourself and those around you as a bookworm for example, you likely will have no qualms picking up a new book, reading it, and discussing it excitedly with your close friends. Or perhaps you identify yourself as an outdoorsy person and, as a result, are finding all sorts of ways to spend your time outside (regardless of the winter weather!). And you will find yourself enjoying it.

James Clear argues that a crucial key to the success of long-term habit formation involves asking yourself one simple question: “Who do I wish to become?” Once you have that picture in your head, then you can choose to focus on the habits that person would have. 

As you transform your habits, you become that new version of yourself, people around you will start perceiving you in that way too, further reinforcing your new self image and essentially creating a positive feedback loop

So, before you think about starting a new habit like going to the gym, saving money or taking up yoga classes, take some time to think about the person you wish to become. Once you have a clear mental picture of that person, you can start setting up strategies to transform your current habits and establish new ones.

You might also be interested in...

Estate Planning Misconceptions

In this 5-minute webinar, we explore an important but often misunderstood area of financial planning.

Learn More
Estate Planning Webinar