Create habits by design vs default blog - Featured Image

To paraphrase James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, every choice we make is a vote for who we will become. You are always creating the future version of you, the question is, will “future you” be formed by design or default. Will you intentionally create your “future you” or will your environment passively mold you? 

We are already halfway through 2023. Before we know it, the year will be done. Start voting for the “you” that you want to become.  

Three ways to “design” your “favourite” future you! 

Take inventory. 

Pinpoint the habits you want to reproduce or eliminate.  

With awareness brings choice. You cannot manage what you do not measure. Most of us overestimate our healthy choices and drastically underestimate our unhealthy ones — the foods we mindlessly eat, the workouts we skip, the degree to which we rely on coffee, or the time we fritter away. The problem is, you cannot create new healthier habits until you are aware of your current habits. You cannot decide to stop mindlessly eating a full dinner while cooking or swiping 500 calories of almonds off a co-worker’s desk until you know you are a “nibbler” or a “swiper.” You cannot intentionally choose to spend your time in more productive ways until you know how you currently spend your time. 

Each night, list three choices you made that day that you want to reproduce. Did you drink water, exercise, or tell someone that you loved them? Note the wins then figure out ways to ensure you reproduce those choices. Set an alarm to ensure you drink water or get an exercise buddy to ensure you do not skip workouts.  

Next, note three choices you made that you would like to eliminate. Did you stay up late, consume too much sugar, or skip your workout? Figure out why you made these less-than-ideal choices and what new habit might be a replacement. Your new habit should address the problem your old habit was attempting to solve. For example, maybe you stayed up too late to get some much needed “you” time. If so, try to carve out a few minutes during the day for yourself so at the end of the night you are more likely to go to bed. Did you consume too much sugar because you needed energy? If so, do some food prep so your meals are more satisfying, and you don’t need to rely on sugar.  

The keys are awareness and intention. 

Be patient. You cannot order new healthier habits on Amazon Prime. 

Evolving takes … evolution. Evolution is inherently a process. No matter how hard you wish otherwise, the process will take patience and practice. 

The next time you want to self-sabotage and tap out of your new habit, make yourself pause and remind yourself that you are like an ice cube — you need to give yourself time to “see yourself melt.” Even when the room temperature is 25° C, an ice cube is frozen solid. The cube continues to look frozen until the room heats to 32° C, and then suddenly, noticeable melting occurs. That final degree shift was the cube hitting its plateau of latent potential — that is, the final degree made the melting visible, but that 1° would not have made the difference without the previous increase in temperature. You must persist with any new habit long enough to cross the plateau of latent potential — the moment when the ice cube noticeably melts. 

When you fall off your horse … LEARN! 

We all fall. Course-correct quickly. Get back on the horse a more informed rider. Work to figure out why you fell. 

Make sure your goal or habit change was not too ambitious. If it was, tweak and make it realistic. 

Make sure the goal or habit is important to you. Your habits should connect to something you care about vs something you think you “should” care about. 

Use this data to create a more realistic and individualized action plan.  

Concluding thoughts 

To paraphrase James Clear, if your current habits will produce a “future you” that you desire, all you need is time and patience. If your current habits will produce a version of you that you are not proud of, you need to change your habits.  

Only you know who you want to be. Only you know what habits you need to intentionally create.  

So, get creating! Start “voting” for the future “you” you have always dreamed of. Keep going. Persevere. Working is winning. 


Kathleen Trotter, MSc, is a fitness expert, life and nutrition coach, media personality, motivational speaker, trainer, writer, and author of Finding Your Fit and Your Fittest Future Self. Kathleen’s mission is to inspire people to adopt a healthier lifestyle (in an intelligent way). Connect via or FitbyKathleenT on all social channels.