Habit Formation

The Book That’s Helping Me Stick to My New Year’s Resolution

By: Katie Robb

New year, new me. Right? And after the dumpster fire that was 2020, we’re all looking towards a brighter future. Unfortunately, over 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail within the first month. Those who have fallen off the bandwagon have cited a lack of support, resistance, and unwillingness to alter consciousness as reasons for throwing in the towel.  Sticking to resolutions requires a behavior change. Behavior is a product of our habits. Changing our habits to align with our goals is the ultimate secret to success.

So how the heck do we modify our behavior? Enter Atomic HabitsJames Clear, a leading expert on habit formation, compiled a comprehensive guide to create good habits and kick the bad ones to the curb.  Whether your New Year’s Resolution is to get in better shape, quit smoking, or start that business – Atomic Habits will help you build systems to meet your goal.  James outlines self-improvement tips and explains them in ways that are easy to apply. Here are some of my favorites.

 

You don’t rise to the level of your goals – You fall to the level of your systems

Winners and losers have the same goal. Olympian track stars who finish first and last in a race have the same goal – to win the race. So, what ultimately separates these two competitors?

Goals are great for direction, but they can’t stand alone. When making resolutions, we focus too much on the end result while ignoring the game plan for how we will get there.

Systems focus on the process, while goals focus on results. Your systems are a collection of daily habits. Solving problems on the results level only resolves them temporarily. Undesirable outcomes are a lagging measure of our habits.

 

Get 1% Better Everyday

The definition of ‘atomic habits’ can be summed up into this – small changes that, if repeated over time, compound into remarkable results.

Eating one salad won’t make you healthy, just as writing one paragraph won’t make you a New York Times best-seller. But our habits are a compound interest of self-improvement.

Getting 1% better is barely noticeable. But if you commit to becoming 1% better every day, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better at the end of the year. Small improvements don’t make much difference at the time but set you on a positive trajectory over the long-term.

 

Build Identity-Based Habits

My biggest takeaway from Atomic Habits is the theory of building identity-based habits. Your current behavior is a reflection of your current identity. When changing habits to align with goals, it’s imperative to alter your self-image to reflect who you want to become.

My New Year’s resolution is to grow my blog and become a better writer. I become a better writer by acting as though I already am one. When shaping my systems, I ask myself – what would a writer do?

Every action or habit is a vote cast for your desired identity. Completing an exercise is a vote for being an athlete, and writing a sentence is a vote for being a writer. Changing your identity doesn’t require a perfect score – a majority of votes win.

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