69 | Building the Good and Breaking the Bad with Atomic Habits

Building good habits

Continuing the Conversation about Routines

The past couple of episodes have been about routines. Those for the morning, those for the workday and those in the evening. So in this episode I wanted to share some insights from the book Atomic Habits by Jame Clear.

Image from Amazon

I’ve already shared a few times about my inability to be consistent with my journaling habits. Until of course I started using the OAK Journal in January. I talked about that in Episodes 60 and 61.

In this book James shares how to make your rituals (or habits) stick. As well as getting rid of the bad ones that do not serve you anymore.

He does this by walking you through the 4 Laws of Behavior Change.

The First Law: Make it Obvious

The first thing you need to learn is what are the cues for the habit. Whether that is setting up a new one or breaking a bad one. An easy way to set this up is filling in the statement: I will _(habit)__ at __(time)___ in __(location)__. For example, I would state my routine like this: I will meditate when my alarm goes off at 6:45am in my bed. I’ve stated the habit, the time and where it will happen.

The inverse of this law is to make it invisible. Think of many of these inverses as ways to avoid bad habits. Meaning stay away from cues that cause you to keep doing your bad habits.

The Second Law: Make it Attractive

You want to create habits that are attractive to you. One way you can do this is to set up rewards that will motivate you to do the positive routine. It’s the dopamine reward that drives us to do habits. We are more drawn to the anticipation of the reward vs the actual reward itself. So think about what rewards could motivate you and see what affect they have.

The inversion of this law is to make it unattractive. Sometimes that may mean changing the mindset around a routine. An example in the book is don’t phrase something like “I have to do…”, but rather “I get to do…”. So instead of “I have to workout” say “I am fortunate that I get to workout”.

The Third Law: Make it Easy

By nature, mankind is lazy. This means to say we will gravitate to the routine that will be the easiest to do. If you are starting a new routine, then take into consideration how easy or hard it is. The harder it is, the more likely you will quit doing it. Therefore, to set yourself up for success, make the routine easy.

An example of this is the Two Minute Rule. No matter what the new habit is you want to form, when you are starting you only do it for two minutes. If you want to start running, then you only run for two minutes each day. Then after a while you bump it up to 4 minutes, then 8 minutes, then 16 and on and on. Start small to form the habit and work your way up to running a 26.22 mile marathon.

The inversion of this law is to make it difficult. To break those bad habits, you need to make it harder to do them. If watching Netflix instead of working out is your vice, then have a roommate, partner or spouse change the Netflix password each morning. Once you finish your workout, they give you the new password.

The Fourth Law: Make it Satisfying

Even though our brains are hardwired for immediate rewards, most societies operated in a delayed reward way. You put in hours at work, but must wait a few weeks to get a paycheck.

In order to have perceived immediate rewards, you could use a habit tracker. Each time you do a routine, you move an item from one jar to another. You have this visual representation of your progress. At the end of the month, you get something based on the number of items in the completed jar (of course you need to set this up beforehand what the payout is).

The inversion of this law is to make it unsatisfying. And a great way to fight this battle is to have an accountability partner. I’ve talked about these partners a couple of times on this podcast. Check out episodes 61 & 18.

Just get the book

Atomic Habits
From Amazon

If you get the book, you also get many more examples, some advanced tactics and he shares online resources specifically for the book in the various chapters. So just get the book.

Allyship Segment of the Week

This week I read a very inspirational article called What I Discovered Traveling The World Solo As A Black Woman by Sheri Hunter. It was published by National Geographic, and it shares her experiences of traveling the world after her husband suddenly passed away. She got the courage to go on this adventure from her friends, the Dare Divas. Well, her adventure was the inspiration for her to write the book, Daring to Live.

Daring to Live

And this book has now been picked up by Paramount Pictures and will be produced by Devon Franklin. I’ve ordered the book, and it’s on the way. I love that I can support Sheri and her Divas in this manner. Check out the article she wrote and consider getting the book too.

Until next time…


PS – I just wanted to make sure you know the book links are NOT affiliate links. I’m just sharing the info ?

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