If You Want To Change Your Habits: Read This Book

If You Want To Change Your Habits: Read This Book

One of the things I used to beat myself for, was my lack of productivity. I wanted to be productive and get my work done, but I never could. As a result, I would feel shame and guilt. I couldn't do anything else throughout my day because of this guilt that always lingered over me. 

Going day by day feeling ashamed of yourself is not healthy. As such, I would look for different resources that would give me a solution. The internet is saturated with so many so called "self-help" books, that it's difficult to determine what's genuine and what's not. 

However, after doing some research and reading reviews, I decided on one book titled: Atomic Habits, by James Clear. 

Atomic Habits

Prior to reading this, I had little to no knowledge about how to set up habits successfully, so that they would last in the long run, and that is what this book does. It explains and helps in establishing successful habits, so if this something you're already familiar with, then you probably won't get much out of it. 

Essentially, what this book puts forth is the idea that the reason why so many of us fail to stay consistent with any worthwhile habits, is not because of you, but rather because of your system. Clear believes that if we continuously make small(Atomic, hehe) adjustments to our system(environment, cues, and rewards) then over time, these changes will add up and take us where we wish to be. So what changes can be made?

Environment

Atomic Habits
If you're trying to cut back on beer, but you have your beer front & center inside your fridge, then you'll most likely take one when you get home from work and open the fridge for something that'll cool you off. Yet something as simple as moving the beer to a more obscure place and replacing those bottles in the fridge with water bottles will lead you to take the water instead. 
Why? Well because humans are lazy. We will always go with the option that will take the least amount of labor. Would you rather walk to your basement to get that beer or just take the water? Well if you've just come back from an 8-10 hour shift, you probably won't feel like walking all the way to your basement, and over time you'll adapt and just instinctively choose the water over the beer. 
Businesses use this same tactic, by putting their most profitable product at eye level, where it'll be easier to reach. On the other hand, the less profitable products will be placed at the bottom of shelves or other harder to reach spots. 

Cues

You've probably heard of the famous experiment where a dog was trained to salivate at the sound of a bell ringing(Pavlov's Dog). Well this is similar to that, but in this case, you're the scientist and the dog at the same time. 

Cues are what you subconsciously pick up on, which then triggers your habit. For example, if you want to read every night, you can train yourself to pick up a book after brushing your teeth. Overtime you'll automatically start to associate brushing your teeth with reading(it's what I did), and now I just read before bed because I feel guilty if I don't(I guess some guilt is not bad when directed at a good habit? What are your thoughts?). 

Anticipation

The same system in your brain that is activated when you get rewarded, is also active when you are anticipating something. In-fact, one could argue that we desire the anticipation more than the reward. As a child, it's the anticipation for Christmas to come so that you can open your gifts that really gets you excited, because once you get your gift, that high quickly goes away. 

It is the anticipation for that vacation you are going to take that can be more enjoyable than the actual vacation. As such, we can apply this same idea to our everyday life. To do this, you'll have to link the desired habit with what you really want to do. If you want to watch Netflix but you need to get work done, it's the anticipation of being able to watch that show that will push you to work so that you can get your reward. Hopefully, over time, doing productive work will just become a part of your day without you having to be coerced into doing it. 

Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

I've only briefly talked about a few concepts from this book, so that this article wouldn't be too long, because there is so much more you can learn. This book really helped me, and I hope, if you choose to read it, that it also helps you on your journey of growth.

2022 is right around the corner, which means that we have a new start at going after our goals. We're usually motivated when a new year arrives, but motivation can only take you so far. The habits you establish are what's going to take you to your desired destination. I have a goal in mind that I'd like to keep you all updated on throughout 2022, and I hope you join me too, so that we can all grow together.  


Leave a comment