Atomic Habits by James Clear – Book Of The Month #12

Atomic Habits by James Clear – Book Of The Month #12

What role have your current habits taken in defining who you are today? How much do you know about how your habits affect your quality of life? The team met to discuss our latest Book of the Month, our key takeaways, and why we all found so much value from the insights shared within the pages of Atomic Habits by James Clear.

In Atomic Habits, we learn about the incremental to exponential growth that can be achieved, simply by getting better by 1% daily.  Improving every day by 1% for a year means being 37x better by the end of it, even though it might not seem like that is the case when you are starting. 

We also learn how our habits shape most of our life, their importance, and how to craft and refine the way we approach habits that allow us to sustain them over a longer period of time. 

Here are 4 key pillars from James Clear’s megahit Atomic Habits:

Make It Obvious

All your current habits start with a cue, so changing your habits begins with the realization that awareness is your first step in making some meaningful changes.

In the book, Clear recommends that you list out your core habits, distinguish them between good, bad, and neutral habits, make a specific plan, and design your environment for success (since your environment sends you your habit cues).

A specific plan might mean writing out your daily schedule down to the finest details to help you train your mind to adopt this new routine. For example, this could mean writing “At 6:30 AM I will sit in silence after I enter my office and meditate for 10 minutes.”

If every morning you make coffee, add the practice of journaling as your coffee is brewing. This is also known as habit-stacking and can help you build momentum more easily.

Make It Attractive

No one wants to create better habits if it is exhaustingly tedious. Complete rigidity when approaching new habits and setting overly lofty expectations out of the gate is a recipe for disaster. That means slowly phasing out your negative habits and slowly phasing in your positive habits. 

Link an action you want to do with an action you need to do. Maybe this means listening to music as you answer emails, sitting outside on the deck in the sunshine when working on proposal decks, or writing in your local cozy library. 

If you have the bad habit of turning on the TV at the first available opportunity that you have some downtime, but you really have the desire to write, draw, or play the guitar, you can disarm that automatic habit cue of sitting on the couch. This means incorporating your new desired habit into your old habit that has been neurologically ingrained into your subconscious routine. 

This would mean sitting down to watch TV, but also having a pen and paper, or your guitar near so you can start training yourself to reach for those as you watch TV.

Rituals are key here and can help amp you up for your habit by making it more exciting!

Make It Easy

Human beings are programmed to carry out tasks using the least amount of energy possible. We are primitive beings and back in the caveman era, every ounce of energy had to be conserved to be able to survive in inclement weather, with predators all around us, and many times without the nourishment of food.

Telling yourself you are going to spend an hour working out, an hour reading, an hour meditating, and an hour gardening is a monumental ask and should be condensed down into bite-sized increments to help you acclimate to your new habits. 

A few pages of reading before bed, a few strums on the guitar for 10 minutes during your lunch break, and a few pushups before dinner can help you develop these habits without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out right out of the gate.

Make It Satisfying

Human beings are highly motivated by rewards and “what is rewarded is repeated and what is punished is avoided”. Tracking is a key step in making it satisfying. Keeping streaks is also something that inevitably helps with being consistent. Write down how many days in a row you have worked out on a visible whiteboard or in your journal and see how hard it is to break the chain once you’ve worked out every day for 2 weeks in a row. 

It’s much harder to break a chain when it’s visible and you can see your progress already.

Show Up

The team thoroughly enjoyed Atomic Habits and would recommend it to those looking to develop better, more sustainable habits. It’s an easy-to-read and straightforward book that doesn’t mince words; it lays out all the strategies you can do today to keep you on track. All YOU have to do is show up and read the book!  

For more on our takeaways, watch the video below:

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