I Tried Atomic Habits and Here’s What Happened

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Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

So, What Happened?

I came across Atomic Habits by James Clear and decided to add it to my list of non-fiction. Albeit it is not an overnight success, tiny changes to my habits paved the way for remarkable results.

The 4 Laws of Behaviour Change

In his book, Clear listed down four laws for a habitual change to which I will be illustrating the actions that I took in relative to each of them.

1. Make it Obvious

Pointing and Calling Technique

The best way to start a habit is to be aware of them because too often, we perform routines on auto-pilot mode. I used a habit scorecard and rated my daily habits based on their impacts. Upon completion, I realised I did not allocate a pie of my time to exercise, which called for a turning point.

Implementation Strategy

To start a new habit, Clear recommended the “I will [BEHAVIOUR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].” I wrote down on a sticky pad that (on every alternate day), I will work out for 30 minutes at 6:30 P.M. in my neighbourhood’s park. As Clear put it,

“When the moment of action occurs, there is no need to make a decision. Simply follow your predetermined plan.”

Redesign the Environment

We do not perform our desired habits by waiting for a dosage of motivation to be given to us. Instead, we make that motivation happen. Cues trigger habits, and our environment influences cues.

2. Make it Attractive

Temptation Bundling

Tying a reward to a habit drives the creation of dopamine and hence, our motivation to act. Clear took a step further and said that pairing a habit that you need to do with a habit that you want to do makes it more attractive. To incentivise the new habit, I modified my habit ritual to:

  • After exercising for 30 minutes [HABIT I NEED], I will check Twitter [HABIT I WANT].

Reprogram the Brain to Fix Bad Habits

Hard habits are difficult to stick by, but the situation flips when you change a word. As Clear mentioned, “You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.” Instead of viewing exercise as a task that drains energy, I went from telling myself, “I need to exercise” to “It’s time to get agile.” True enough, I did not feel like it was an obligation but an opportunity.

3. Make it Easy

The Two-Minute Rule

Perform a habit for two minutes, not more, and not less. This rewires our attention by emphasising the need to show up for a habit instead of focusing on the end goal too much.

4. Make it Satisfying

Use a Habits Tracker

By simply indicating an ‘X’ on my planner, I was able to see the number of days where my exercise streak was kept intact. Whenever I look at my calendar, I’ll be reminded to exercise again.

Conclusion

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Photo by James Clear on JamesClear.com

Written by

A dog lover with a passion for writing. | Email: charlenee98@gmail.com

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