If you want to read a book that will change your life, this is it.
I can single handedly say that Atomic Habits by James Clear has changed my life. Everything it tells you is 100% things you already know, but the way Clear writes puts building better habits into actionable steps that you can build into your life the second you put the book down. I folded over the corner of so many pages and highlighted loads of quotes which I think is always shows the sign of a good book.
The book is built on the foundations of the idea that if you change a small habit every day this compounds over time and is far more meaningful than making sporadic big changes. E.g, it is better to change your habit from getting up at 8am instead of 9am every day than it is to wake up at 5am for a month. Getting up one hour earlier is easier, more maintainable and over your life that will add up to a lot more hours awake than one week of getting up at 5am.
These are a couple of my favourite ways of building new habits that Clear mentioned:
- Habit Stacking – build your new habit on to an old habit. You should try to build your new habit onto an old habit that you would carry out at the same frequency as the new habit.
The habit stacking formula is: ‘After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].’
E.g. I wanted to start being stricter with my skin care, therefore I needed to start cleansing my face twice a day. Therefore I habit stacked and built this habit onto after I brush my teeth every day. In the formula, this becomes: After I brush my teeth, I will cleanse my face.
- If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition not perfection – this is so self explanatory, take this blog for example. I’ve started writing blog posts and they’re ok, but they are far from perfect. Over time they will get better as long as I keep on sticking at it.
- Keep showing up – This one always reminds me of Joe Wicks, to reap the rewards of success you have to keep showing up. He showed up to his fitness boot-camps come rain or shine and when 0 people turned up. But he kept showing up and that is why he is where he is today.
- The breaking of the habit doesn’t matter, it’s how quickly you reclaim it that does – This is so important. E.g. when people are on a ‘diet’, if you slip up for one day, that’s not bad at all. Treat yourself. But if that slipping up on one day turns into a week which then turns into a month, that is bad. Clear says ‘missing once is an accident, missing twice is the start of a new habit’.
- The Goldilocks Method – this one resonated with me SO much. Clear said that people are most likely to stick to something when there is the right balance of difficulty and ease. When something is too easy, you give up because you get bored. When something is to hard, you give up because you think you’re not good enough. Finding the balance and pushing yourself JUST the right amount is crucial to remain motivated.
- Accountability partner – tell someone about the new habit you are trying to build E.g. stopping eating meat. Then it is out in the world and you can get people to hold you accountable and stop you when you fall back into the old habit. I think this is a great way to keep habits, however for me I personally don’t enjoy having accountability partner.
I hope this is helpful in some way. Have you ever used any of the above tips to build new habits without even realising? I find it so interesting that once you repeat a habit it multiple times something that you used to have to really think about to make it happen just suddenly becomes second nature and no longer seems like a task, but that definitely takes time and practice.
James Clear also has a blog and a newsletter which you can sign up to here.
Thanks for reading, Chloe x