Cultivating atomic habits

Which of your existing habits are life-affirming and which habits get in the way of you achieving your current goals?

Atomic Habits, by James Clear, is an awesome book that explains how to develop small healthy habits, to help you flourish over the long term, and how to overcome unhelpful habits.

James supports his claims with evidence that even tiny changes can make a huge difference and cites an example of the British cycling team. At one point, their performance was so underwhelming that a bike manufacturer refused to sell their products to the team, because they did not want to be associated with such poor performance!

But after a new coach made 1% improvements in many direct and indirect areas that affected the team’s performance (from improving bikes, changing clothing to better regulate body temperature and maximise muscle performance, correct hand washing procedures to reduce chances of getting sick, mattress and pillow ergonomics, and even down to painting van interiors white, so dust could be seen and easily removed, which meant dusty bike parts could not impede performance).

Now that is attention to detail.

As a result of many minor changes, the British Cycling team, who had hitherto attained only one gold medal in over 110 years, amassed 178 world championships, 66 paralympic or olympic gold medals and 5 Tours de France yellow jerseys in just 10 years.

Wowzers!

How is that for positive change?!

Although, when I shared this information with a friend, she was curious to know to what extent doping was also the reason for the team’s successes. Ouch!

Nonetheless, James argues just making even a 1% improvement regularly can help move you towards your goals. Although, he mentions that sometimes these minor improvements can, initially, be unnoticable or unrewarding. As a result, many people end up quitting before they start seeing results.

So, hang on in there!

Persevere!

Keep making positive changes in the direction of your goals and you will, eventually, start to observe the changes you desired.

While change occurs on three levels:

  1. outcome,

2. process and

3. identity

James asserts it is only at the identity level that change becomes sustainable.

So, what does that mean?

It means that for lasting change, you need to act “as if” you are already the person you want to become!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For example, if you want to be fit and healthy, whenever you make a choice, identify with the person you want to become:

What would a fit and healthy person do in this instance?” and persistently take steps in the direction of your goals.

Photo by Roy Reyna on Pexels.com

As a result of focusing on changing your identity, to act “as if” you are the person you want to be, goals become more easily attainable and, more importantly, sustainable.

Thus “fake it till you make it!” if you have to.

Pretend to be something until it becomes habitual.

The habit loop occurs when a cue creates a craving that requires a response. This response is rewarded, which may satiate the craving, but then becomes associated with the cue… and so on and so forth! (p.50 Atomic Habits).

So how do we create a healthy new habit?

Therefore to un-do a bad habit, you need to do the reverse of creating a good habit. i.e., make a bad habit inconspicuous, unattractive, difficult and unsatisfying. Check out https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits/resources for more information.
I highly recommend this book. Reading useful stuff is always a good habit to start!

What teeny tiny steps can you take right now to create a healthy new habit that helps you live more lusciously?

Onwards and healthy habitwards xXx

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