(This is a guest post by Grayson Pope. More about Grayson at the end of the post.)
Building better habits is all about starting them to begin with. No habit, big or small, can be formed without simply starting it each and every day.
That’s not as hard as it sounds, if you make it as easy as possible to start your new habit. Break down the barriers one by one, and eventually you’re left with no excuses—no reasons not to start.
But what habits should you start?
Should you pick up writing if you have no aptitude whatsoever for doing so? Should you start a social group if you’re intensely introverted?
No, of course not.
Each of us is wired a different way.
And contrary to what we’ve all been told, we can’t actually be anything we want to be. There are certain things you will never be able to improve much upon.
I, for instance, will never be able to be an Olympic swimmer (thank goodness!), no matter how hard I train. I simply don’t have the strengths needed to succeed in the water.
Because of this, we all have different habits we need to form (and plenty we need to lose).
Tom Rath, author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, puts it this way,
“You cannot be anything you want to be—but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”
Sounds good, right?
But how do you get started?
How do you get to know your strengths so you can build habits around them?
Luckily, there’s a way to figure it out so you can begin to build better habits in the areas you’re most likely to find happiness. It’s called the StrengthsFinder 2.0.
The assessment, originally developed by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton and later refined by Tom Rath, helps you focus on your strongest qualities and helps you use your strengths to achieve success.
I took the assessment myself, and I’m seeing a whole new approach to my life and habit-building. It allowed me to see a subtle but powerful difference:
It’s not about what you’re doing—it’s about what parts of it you focus on.
If one of your strengths is connectedness, you should take time to look at how everything fits together. Look to unexpected places for inspiration.
If one of your strengths is strategic, you should be spending time strategizing and thinking of new ways to do the same things.
Take my job as a quality manager for a beverage company, for instance. I like it, and I’m good at it in many ways. But in others, I’m operating way outside my strength zones. These are the areas that drain me.
But if I instead approach my job with a focus on my strengths, like strategic planning and finding ways to show empathy to my team members, I find myself fulfilled and peaceful in ways I never imagined.
For some reason, I feel like I have to do everything. Maybe you do too. But that’s simply not true.
We need to do a few things really well.
We need to stop worrying about all the things we can’t do, and start focusing on what we can do, getting a little bit better at it each day. There’s a lot less weight on you when you stop trying to hold up the world.
If you start each day knowing your strengths and the habits you should be forming, you’ll find yourself in a much happier and fulfilled state.
Do you want to learn your strengths and start building better habits?
Here are 3 steps to get you going:
1. Listen to this episode of Michael Hyatt’s This is Your Life podcast. It walks you through key topics of why understanding your strengths is important and what to do when you figure them out.
2. Take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment (You can take the test and receive a full report of your top 5 strengths in PDF format for just $9.99. It’s worth every penny).
3. Review the report and think of what habits you could build around these to bring you greater happiness in your life. Share the results with your spouse or close friends and see how they react. They might give you important insight into what your strengths mean for your life.
Do you know your strengths? How do you think knowing your strengths can help you build better habits? Please Share in Comments
About author: Grayson Pope is a Christ-follower, husband, and father. He helps people look past the immediate and focus on the eternal. You can follow Grayson on his blog and Twitter.