What Are the Habits that We Most Want to Make or Break?

Daily planner on a table with a potted plant and pens
When I was working on Better Than Before, my book about how to master our habits, I spent a lot of time talking to people about the habits they wanted to make or break. Habits matter, because habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative. Or not. Whenever I talk to people about their happiness challenges, they often point to hurdles related to a habit they want to master. For Better Than Before, I identified the “Essential Seven,” the areas in which we most often seek to foster better habits. Over time, however, as I’ve reflected further, I think I’d recast those categories a bit, and expand them. No catchy name yet (have any suggestions?), but here’s the list of habit categories as I think about it now:
  1. Energy: exercise and sleep
  2. Relationships: connect and deepen
  3. Productivity: work and progress
  4. Creativity: learn, practice, play
  5. Recharging: relax and rest
  6. Order: clear and organize
  7. Mindful consumption: eating, drinking, spending, scrolling
  8. Mindful Investment: save, support, experience
  9. Purpose: reflect, identify, engage
Does this list ring true to you? Are there any habits that you try to foster, or aims that you’ve set for yourself, that don’t fall into one of these categories? Can you see a nuance that isn’t quite captured?

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