I recently finished one of my new favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear. I love personal development books - especially ones about habits or productivity! Sometimes I find authors of these types of books difficult to relate to, though, because some are too academic and others a bit pretentious. In my opinion, James Clear was just the right type of author to write this type of book - he was relatable yet knowledgeable and wrote in layman's terms with just enough science thrown in!
The book focused on how to start and continue good habits and how to stop and avoid bad habits. Atomic Habits is laid out in a very organized fashion with a summary and actionable items listed at the end of each chapter. His suggestions were backed up with examples and were small enough to realistically implement.
My biggest takeaways from the book were that people who are most successful about forming and maintaining good habits consider not the outcome of the habit (losing weight) so much as the system for achieving that outcome (daily exercise), and those who were most successful focused on the identity displayed (being a healthy person.) Just this one simple point helped me form some new habits almost immediately! I've been asking myself "What would a healthy person do?" when a choice is presented to me. I've taken the stairs more often, chosen the healthier food option, and exercised more since I read this part of the book!
Another important bit of wisdom I gleaned from Atomic Habits, was that habits can be super duper small, and actually the smaller the better and the easier to stick with. For example, my morning habit is putting on my workout clothes. That's it. I tell myself all I have to do is put on the workout clothes and then if I don't want to exercise, I don't have to. Well, you know what happens, right? I'm out of bed and have the workout clothes on, so I might as well exercise.
If you couple super duper small habits with what James Clear calls habit stacking, you are set up for habit success! Clear explains the idea, "No behavior happens in isolation. Each action becomes a cue that triggers the next behavior. The habit stacking formula is: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].” Habit stacking increases the likelihood that you'll stick with a habit by stacking your new behavior on top of an old one."
Habit Identity: Being a healthy person
The book suggests making good habits easy and convenient and making bad habits difficult and inconvenient is a kind of shortcut to living the kind of life you want to. If you want to get up and exercise everyday, storing your workout clothes in an easy to reach location makes it more likely you'll actually exercise, because it's convenient. If you want to eat more veggies, cleaning and cutting a variety of fresh vegetables at the betting of the week will make it easy for you to grab them for a snack. On the flip side, if sweets are your nemesis, ridding them from your pantry or at least putting them way up high in the back of a hard to reach cabinet will make it difficult and inconvenient to have as a snack. It's been kind of fun thinking about how to make good habits more convenient and bad habits more difficult!
There's so much more good stuff in this book, you've got to read it yourself! I'll be giving away one copy to a lucky reader. There are several ways to get entered to win (do all for more entries!)
If you'd like to just buy your own copy now, Amazon delivers!
Clear, James. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin Random House LLC, 2018.
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!