The principle of getting to know oneself shall be considered a must alongside self-development process. This is a necessary starting point and most of the time underestimated by individuals. However, our own limits while following this process are the only actual borders an individual may encounter during his/her own life. Negative impact of the society is all over our daily life since the beginning of this journey.
All these factors together constitute complex obstacles placed on the way. Inner motivation can be a solution to overcome these limits but not enough when it is about starting over and make up new foundational habits.
Scientific researches state that creation of new habit takes at least between 18 and 254 days for human beings. This is a period of time pretty much variable and at any time the individual may risk abandoning what created so far.
A classic example comes from the writers.
An individual who discovers a talent for writing, may choose to begin where pushed by an incredible motivation. He/she is going to sit on the chair observing the white paper starting a story, perhaps. However, approaching the end of the story requires the writer to sit on that chair every day for a defined period of time (2/3 hours a day) developing a strong habit over the time.
How do I recognize a habit?
A habit is recognizable. This is the action we do on a daily basis over a pre-defined period of time.
If every day I wake up listening to classic music, this is a habit. It is an action accomplished with spontaneity, something the brain processes automatically that requires processing after sending signals to the body.
Why habits are fundamentals for our purpose?
Previously, we mentioned how important it is getting to know our talent and at the same time it is necessary being aware of it so that it will become our Ikigai.
However, having a talent and being aware of that it is not enough (even though already complex achievement). This exercise must be supported by a strong dedication and perseverance. These values will be followed by a long and constant preparation which transform the process into a habit.
- Start a morning ritual
Research has proven that morning is our best time for productivity, so tackle major tasks early on. ‘Getting up early makes economic sense,’ says Mogi. ‘The brain is in a refreshed state, ready to absorb new information.’ More of a night owl? Mogi suggests making a habit of doing something you love as soon as you get up, be it tucking into coffee and a croissant or reading. ‘Dopamine will be released in your brain, reinforcing the action (getting up) prior to the receipt of your reward (coffee and a croissant).’
- Banish the word ‘fine’
Translated as ‘commitment’, kodawari is key to ikigai. ‘Kodawari is taking care of small details,’ explains Mogi. ‘The Japanese way is to overachieve without expectation of reward.’ In other words, it’s the little things that have the greatest impact. ‘Having high standards will not only make you happier, but other people’s admiration will follow, too.’
- Live in the moment
it’s the little things that have the greatest impact, says Mogi. ‘A child has no definite idea of the past or future. Their happiness resides in the present. It would be wonderful to maintain this throughout life.’ Instead of tackling your day on autopilot, stop to notice what you’re working on and appreciate what you enjoy about it. ‘Flow is a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else matters; switch work from being something to be endured and enjoy the process.’
- Find your happy hobby
It can be hard to find joy in our jobs but, if quitting isn’t an option, look beyond work. ‘Ikigai doesn’t have to be associated with professional life,’ says Mogi. ‘Satisfaction comes from creating something from start to finish.’ So, even if it’s mastering a yoga move, a new project can help channel your ikigai.