Last week was habit anatomy and now this week a habit has a garden?!
Haha I feel ya – who knew there was so much to know about habits?
Luckily for us, it’s really simple when we break it down.
And this week it’s not that habits have a garden, but rather that a garden analogy helps understand how habits (which serve as plants in the analogy) fit into our life (which is the garden in our analogy).
Life’s A Garden, Dig It!
Never has that saying been truer!
If we imagine our life as a garden, and habits as the plants which fill it with life, we’re well on our way to making this analogy a real thing.
I think it was BJ Fogg who I heard most recently give this analogy, but I’ve heard it from several habit gurus so I’m sharing it with you because it makes total sense!
Now, in a garden, we know not all plants are treated the same.
Some need shade, some need full sun, some need more water and so on. That means they’ll occupy different spaces in our garden.
Same goes for habits in our life – some need more attention and energy than others. For example, working out versus showering each day. I’m guessing they require different amounts of motivation to get going.
So understand that habits will occupy various times and spaces in our life, and that’s ok!
Additionally, some plants will only grow during a certain season, and then they’ll be ripped up so another can flourish.
Similarly with our habits, they may stick around for a season, or for the duration – and both are ok!
Perhaps during winter you need a different routine to get moving than you do in summer where you’re itching to get outside each day.
And notice where it said after a plant has run its course, it’s often ripped out so another can flourish. We can do the same with habits – if we have habits that are no longer serving us, we can rip them out so others can flourish.
Lastly, if you’ve ever had a garden before, you’ve likely found that you want to move plants as your garden develops. So you may dig up bulbs to transplant, or you can plant seed in a different location next year.
With habits, the same principle applies – habits can move throughout our day and our life. An example from my own life is when I used to work out in the mornings before work. It was the only time I could fit it in, so I made a habit of getting up early to do it.
Now, I can’t imagine doing that! I feel so much better with afternoon workouts when my work day is complete and I can decompress with 30 minutes of moving my body. The same habit remains, but it’s found a new home in my garden of life.
Keeping with the garden analogy – habits are like plants in how we grow them.
We can do one of two things with our habits, just like with plants. We can grow them so they get bigger, or we can multiply them so they proliferate.
With habits, we can grow them – like going from a 5min walk to a 10min walk in the morning.
Or we can multiply them (divide in the case of actual plants) – think of a morning routine where you put on your coffee, then do a 5min stretch, then take vitamins, then chug a big glass of water. The habit of putting on your coffee multiplied into a string of habits over time.
With the garden analogy and understanding how habits fit into our life, it’s easier to give ourselves grace. Knowing we can move them, add them, remove them, etc puts less pressure on us to “get it right” the first time.
Just like a garden evolves over time, our habits will continue changing – we don’t have to stay married to our habits if we don’t want to. And just knowing that makes the thought of building habits more approachable and less overwhelming.
So now that I see your thumb turning green, happy habit gardening!