Atomic Habits: Build Good Habits, Let Go The Bad Ones

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It is very important to have good habits because they form the systems that we eventually apply to achieving different goals.

James Clear, an expert in the study of habits, wrote this book that focuses on tracing most of life’s difficulties to a fault in our habits. He uses simple terms to explain that the small changes you will make to modify your habits can earn you remarkable results that will help you become successful and also stay that way.

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The quality of your life depends on the quality of your habits

From this book, you will learn that the things you repeat are the main determinants of your life’s direction and quality. You don’t need to make an earth-shattering discovery before achieving your goals, it is all about the small things you do everyday.

Make new habits a part of your life

When you dedicate yourself, you will discover that it is easy to make new habits a part of your life. Since so many things can distract you in this journey, you will need to apply triggers around your daily activities.

These triggers could be tiny notes, phone reminders, and strategic positioning of items around your house. For example, to cultivate the habit of always taking your supplements, you can start keeping them next to your car keys. Phone reminders can also be triggers, but if you don’t want alarms to disturb those around you, sticky notes can also do the job.

Use the association of existing behaviors

As you try to build new habits, you will struggle with consistency because you have old habits as well, but this contrast can be used to your advantage. By associating your new habits with existing behaviors, you can make them complement each other and this is how you will win. When your good old habits are made to flow with the new ones, you will become unstoppable.

Planning ahead is implementation intention

When you plan your day and week ahead, it will be easier for you to focus on modifying your life through your habits. Be specific about your goals and make sure your habits are in sync with them. Before you do something, ask yourself if it will help you get closer or take you steps farther away from the goals you want to achieve.

“Pointing and calling”

James Clear recommends a strategy known as “pointing and calling”, it is a system designed to help you avoid making mistakes. For example, if you are always spending above your budget when you go shopping, the temptation could be coming from the other goods you see at the shop. To curtail this, you can start shopping online and have the products delivered to your house.

Clear’s book on atomic habits points to his famous habits scorecard tactic that is used to track habits. Tapnet has a similar system in an editable template that you can customize to meet your specific goals.

Why is it so hard to change habits?

“Habits reduce cognitive load and free up mental capacity, so you can allocate your attention to other tasks.” –James Clear.

It is mainly about how the brain works. When a habit is developed, the brain sees it as a shortcut to our future actions; that is why you do certain things automatically after you have been doing them the same way for a very long time . . . you no longer think about the action before taking it.

Since the brain has put you on that automatic mode to, for example, chew gum after every meal, it will take a lot of focus to start drinking water instead. You have to make your brain go through more mental activity to replace the old habit with the new one.

Continue working even if you don’t see results immediately

It is hard to replace a bad habit with a new one, and we can understand why from the previous heading. So when you find yourself struggling to keep up, don’t feel bad and call yourself a failure, you have not failed.

There is something called the plateau of latent potential, which according to Clear, is the lag time between doing a new task/habit and the time it takes to see results. For you to succeed, you need to move beyond this plateau of latent potential because your mind and body will need some time to adjust to the changes you are making to your lifestyle.

Make time your ally

Instead of seeing the acquisition of new habits as a battle against time, make time your ally because no matter what you do, time will still pass. Make time your friend, and those small actions that take roughly a minute to complete will eventually give you the needed results.

Myth: massive success requires massive action.

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