As you might know already, I love reading and listening to books on personal development and I strongly believe that anyone regardless of their current life situation can benefit from them.
So today, I want to briefly introduce you to a book that made a huge impression on me:
Atomic Habits by James Clear.
As I’ve mentioned in my Instagram story as well as in one of my older blog posts, this book has been my favorite personal development book I‘ve come across in 2019.
The main idea behind this book is that overall success in life doesn’t come from what you do occasionally but from what you do consistently. Fact is, that many people overvalue big moves and underestimate small habits which are repeated consistently over weeks, months and years. In the following, I will tell you which principles mentioned in Atomic habits I’ve tested and successfully implemented so far.
Success is the product of daily habits – not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.James Clear
DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN
By using the don’t break the chain method I managed writing the first ten pages of my thesis within just a short time. My goal was to work on it at least 10 minutes per day from the 1st until the 20th of December, so I could go into my well-deserved Christmas break with a clear conscience. 10 minutes literally sounds like nothing, so there are no valid excuses to skip a day. The trick here is, that once you get started, you are almost always motivated to continue. On rare occasions, when you really want to stop after the time is up, you still reached your daily goal. Call me weird, but I think it’s so satisfying to tick off another box of my don’t-break-the-chain list (the same goes for to-do lists).
Since this strategy worked so well for me, I’m going to adapt it again once I’ve finished my exams. This time though, I‘m aiming for at least one hour per day instead of 10 minutes.
NEVER MISS TWICE
This one ties up on the don’t break the chain method. If you ever fail at accomplishing a task you initially wanted to do periodically, and you will eventually, make sure you get back to it as soon as possible. Missing once doesn’t hurt, but missing twice is the start of a new habit.
The principle of habit stacking is to build new habits by taking advantage of old ones. In other words, you schedule the new habit you want to implement either before or after a current habit. In my case, I used this strategy for implementing a short yoga and meditation session to my evening routine. The last thing I usually do before going to bed is to brush my teeth, so I’ve used this habit as a foundation for my habit stacking. So every night, after brushing my teeth, I immediately roll out my yoga mat and do yoga for five minutes. Right after I’m done with that, I will grab my meditation cushion and meditate for 5 minutes. Again, 2×5 minutes sounds like little effort, and that’s the point! Habits must be built before they can be optimized. I’ve been doing this since the 1st of January (although it wasn’t even a new year’s resolution) and I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed once yet.
There are multiple cues you can take advantage of, but I’ve realized that I’m successfully using location-based cues for years already, without even realizing it. Whenever I’m at the library, for instance, I’m much more focused on my workload than I would be if I tried to study in my bed. Therefore, it’s advisable to start a new habit in a new environment where you do nothing else than what needs to be done at this certain place. Another great example for this is working out at the gym.
All big things come from small beginnings.James Clear
If you want to find out more about the principles of Atomic Habits, and believe me, there are many more than the ones I just listed, you can find the book here. If you’d rather listen to the audio version, you can find it on Audible.