James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, is a best seller and was recently #1 on the Wall Street Journal list of best business books. I highly recommend it!
The book title is a little play on words which means that a lot of very small daily habits can compound to make an explosive difference in our lives.
Here are a few of the helpful takeaways from the book.
*Create an environment that supports good habits. Arrange “cues” that remind you to engage in the habit. Examples – my water bottle is always near me and reminds me to drink. My vitamins are stored with my breakfast food so I remember to take them.
*Start small (think atomic). Instead of reading a chapter of a book every night, start with one or two pages. Instead of planning to go to the gym to work out for an hour, start with five – ten minutes. Just getting to the gym is a good start to build a habit.
*Make engaging in the habit attractive. One way to do this is to connect rewards to the completion of a habit. For example, “you get to check social media once you complete your daily morning meditation.” However, make sure you don’t pick a reward that undermines the habit – such as a big bowl of ice cream after your daily workout.
*Especially when starting a habit, make it as easy and satisfying to do as possible. Start out with small goals for your new habit so you can build momentum. Making it fun is really helpful – which is why having a workout buddy is so great for those who want to build their exercise habits.
*Track your progress. I have a simple Health Scoreboard where I record my daily weight and workouts. I like watching my progress and it provides satisfaction that I am doing things that are good for my health. Check out this web site from James Clear where you can learn more about his Habit Trackers and why they are helpful.
We can all point to good and bad habits we have had over the years. Long term, our well being and overall satisfaction in life will improve as we add more good habits and get rid of the bad ones. I encourage you to try out some of these ideas and, when you have a chance, read the book.
By the way, the intent of Insights With Impact is that when you habitually read the weekly blogs you will become a more effective leader. Now that’s a good habit!