I am reading Atomic habits by James Clear – a book and instruction manual about how tiny changes can have a huge effect on our everyday lives especially if we’d like to achieve success.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” ~ James Clear
The book is built around the four stages of the habit building process that you should follow. The author refers to it as the Four Laws of Behaviour Change:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
Some helpful takeaways from the book:
Make a list of your habits, and sort them by how much they will help you out in the long-run. This is a great way to identify the habits that bring you real, lasting value over time, and which ones are distractions from your larger goals.
If you want something to be a big part of your life, make it a big part of your environment. This is a simple idea, but is very powerful in practice. Want to eat better? Make sure there’s a plethora of healthy food in your kitchen, so you crowd out any unhealthy options that are available. Want to learn the guitar? Keep your guitar in the living room, so you can just pick it up and play. By introducing—and removing—objects from your environment which aid and detract from your habits, you build stronger habits. “Environment is the invisible hand that shapes behavior.”
Question all habits that provide you with immediate enjoyment. As a general rule, the more immediate pleasure you get from an action, the more strongly you should question whether it aligns with your long-term goals.
Practice the 2-minute rule. The 2-minute rule is this: when you start a new habit, make sure it takes less than two minutes to do. If your goal is running a marathon, try just tying up your shoes for a couple of minutes. If your habit is to work out at the gym, show up at the gym, and work out for just two minutes. This way, you have a framework that you can actually build upon in developing your habits later on, instead of trying to wish habits into existence.
Pay attention to your “home court” versus “away court” habits. Maintaining our habits around life disruptions, such as travel it is recommended to develop two types of habits: “home court” habits, which we do when our environment is predictable, and “away court” habits, which we invest in after developing solid habits at home.
Focus on your identity, not your goals. The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. View habits as “votes” for your identity: by focusing on which behaviours help you become the person you aim to be, instead of which behaviours simply bring you closer to your goals, you connect with your habits on a deeper level. Instead of trying to lose weight, begin to think of yourself as someone who deeply cares about maximizing their health and longevity.
“A handful of problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.” – James Clear
It is a lot about procrastination. We tend to give up because the expectations are too high. Go small! At first, create habits that require only two minutes to get them done. See more on James Clear Website
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Also read: The Importance of Goal Setting, A Life of Purpose and Just Get Stuff Done!