3 Actions I've made since Reading James Clear's "Atomic Habits"
I remember a friend showing me the book Atomic Habits in my house and telling me to read it around January 2020. Around 20 months later, I read it with The Mental Savage Club as part of our Habits month which was last August 2021. As the title suggests Atomic Habits are the small but explosive changes you can make to revolutionise your life. Here are 3 actions I've implemented since reading the book.
Action 1: Created an Identity / Habit List
Early in the book (pg.31) James Clear explained that the reason most people fail to stick to their new positive habits is because an identity crisis.
People often think about the goal, which is not bad, but thinking about being the person who achieves the goal is far more sustainable. A personal example for me is I want to eventually write a book one day (goal), but if I focus on being a writer (identity), I will eventually have enough writing experience to construct a book.
I created a table with a list of who I want to become (identity), essential behaviours (the habit), where I will do the habit (essential behaviour location) and the long term aim (goal).
Have I militantly stuck to this since creating it 3 weeks ago?! No, but it's great to have a framework so I can know when I'm falling short of it to do better.
Action 2: Re-wrote my morning & night routine
I've always sworn by having morning routines and night routines. I understand life happens and circumstances can be unexpected, however I find having them helps me to get the most out of my day even if I fall short.
Adding the majority of my daily identity based habits into a morning and night routine, is freeing as I don't have to think about when to do it.
Some may think having routine is restrictive.
As James Clear says "Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it" (p.46) as eventually the ambition is to get to a point where my identity based habits are on autopilot so I can use my will and creativity to do other meaningful things.
Action 3: Made a Public Announcement on LinkedIn
So James Clear spoke about how we can use the fear of public failure as a method of accountability. I call this OPA (other people's accountability).
The larger your OPA the higher the likelihood of keeping to a habit as the higher the likelihood of ridicule, interrogation or community encouragement.
I used OPA by announcing on my LinkedIn to my 1,200 connections that I commit to writing an article every week.
I double dosed my OPA as for the last two weeks I've shared with my mental toughness community that my personal smart-goal to write an article every week.
This action has led me to be writing this sentence at 8pm in a WeWork in Waterloo and I'm glad.
Reading Atomic Habits has definitely been explosive. I now have practical tools as well as scientific backed understanding of how I can best form habits for my own personality.
Building better habits is a journey and though I may fall, I refuse to stay down.