Atomic Habits by James Clear

This book had been sitting in my Amazon cart for months and when it was listed as the book of the month in a book club that I'm in, I instantly clicked the buy button to purchase it. I came across this book from other fellow blogger posts on Instagram and I new it must be a great read because I started seeing it everywhere online. So before I jump into my review, let's answer the pondering question I'm sure that you have because initially I had it to.

What are atomic habits?

According to the author, atomic habits are, "a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do, but also the source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth."

When we think about starting new habits, we get so overwhelmed by the idea of starting anything new, we start researching people who've done that habit before and we never get around to actually doing the small things that gets the ball rolling, to forming the new habit. On the other hand, we give ourselves the unrealistic expectations to stop our old habits cold turkey and immediately start the new habits. Of course some bad habits can be eliminated from your daily routine cold turkey or as I like to say, by making a quick decision to immediately stop doing bad habits. I have a previous blog post here that talks more about ways to help you create new habits.

“Progress requires unlearning.” - James Clear

No matter how we grew up or what our environment consisted of back then, we've been taught some habits that we simply need to unlearn in today's society. The quickest "habit" that I can think of is unlearning that you're not going to hell if you don't keep the habit of going to church every Sunday. Sure, some of our parents or grandparents instilled that in us because it was either to get us out the bed and on time for church or it was really what they believed in at that time, from what was passed on to them. Well, we all know by now in our adulthood, that such habit as not going to church will cause you to go down to the pits of hell, has no truth to it and that if you still believe it today, you're going to have to go through the process to unlearn it. In this book, the author expounds on various analogies similar to mine above to help you understand the process of creating atomic habits.

How to Reprogram Your Brain to Enjoy Hard Habits

(Courtesy of book on pages 130-131)

Sometimes, all you need is a slight mindset shift. For instance, we often talk about everything we have to do in a given day. You have to wake up early for work. You have to make another sales call for your business. You have to cook dinner for your family.

Now, imagine changing just one word: You don't "have" to. You "get" to.

You get to wake up early for work. You get to make another sales call for your business. You get to cook dinner for your family. By simply changing one word, you shift the way you view each event. You transition from seeing these behaviors as burdens and turn them into opportunities.

Saving money has NEVER been an easy habit for me to do. Knowing that, this year, I decided to change my mindset in the smallest ways regarding how I viewed money. In addition to shifting my mindset, I also had to unlearn a lot of my beliefs about money as mentioned above. I started affirming that "I am a great saver" instead of saying "I want to save money someday." To reprogram any bad habits, I suggest you start with simply changing your mindset and the words that you currently speak.

"The best way to break a bad habit is to make it impractical to do. Increase the friction until you don't have the option to act." - James Clear

Keeping with my new found money saving atomic habits, I created a friction in order to access my money by using online savings accounts for my long-term saving goals. Having to wait 2-3 days to receive the money I temporarily need in the moment, causes me to rethink why I want the money in the first place. Now, I can save money in my online savings accounts and in my traditional bank savings account, without any option to act on removing the money due to any temporary satisfaction. It's simply because I created friction first and then my atomic habit was formed over time.

This book has truly opened up my eyes and was a great and easy read. The author didn't use words that made me have to use Google to define them. If you're a visual learner like me, he also provided charts and graphs in the book, to further explain things. During this time, which will forever go down in history, is the perfect opportunity for you to work on creating your atomic habits.

Let me know your thoughts after you've read the book and what atomic habits you're currently working on or will be soon starting in the comments.

© 2018 by Kheiston Tilford. Kheiston Tilford Consulting and Services