The Habits Scorecard: Use This Simple Exercise to Discover Which Habits You Should Change

How Do I Know if a Habit is Good or Bad?

Scoring your habits can be a bit more complex for another reason as well.

The labels “good habit” and “bad habit” are slightly inaccurate. There are no good habits or bad habits. There are only effective habits. That is, effective at solving problems. All habits serve you in some way—even the bad ones—which is why you repeat them.

When completing your Habits Scorecard, however, you can categorize your habits by how they will benefit you in the long run. Generally speaking, good habits will have net positive outcomes. Bad habits have net negative outcomes. Smoking a cigarette may reduce stress right now (that’s how it’s serving you), but it’s not a healthy long-term behavior.

If you’re still having trouble determining how to rate a particular habit, here is a question I like to use: “Does this behavior help me become the type of person I wish to be? Does this habit cast a vote for or against my desired identity?” Habits that reinforce your desired identity are usually good. Habits that conflict with your desired identity are typically bad.

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