Why is making good habits hard to make? When It comes to changing habits, big or small, It can be hard to stay consistent, or even start. We all have aspirations for our future, or an imaginary “perfect” person we one day would hope to become like having a successful career in your profession, having x amount of money, or having a perfect fit body. Whatever it may be, there’s a good chance someone has had the same thought. So how do we create better habits? Today I’ll be taking some references out of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. This book was recommended by a friend earlier this semester (Currently only halfway through the book at the time of typing this), which came at a timely manner considering my team chose to display my idea of the hashtag #MAkeitahabit which was inspired by the book.
: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior
a. : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary
b. : ADDICTION
c. : a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance
Change your environment
“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior” (Clear, p. 82) : Radically changing your environment will lead to radical changes in behavior. Trying to create a habit as simple as wanting to read more or write more can’t be done If you constantly surround yourself with unrelatable environments to the habit at hand. For example, something as simple as constantly hanging out with friends Isn’t smartest decision. Like going out to parties, hanging out with friends, and spending lots of money. Now I’m not saying don’t ever hang out with friends but it may cause you to lose focus when you’re constantly spending time with friends. Connecting with friends and being there to support them is good for us, it's in our human nature but like a lot of things, everything in moderation, including moderation. You are who you surround yourself with.
“Walk slowly, but never backwards” (Clear, p. 141). Trying to fill your plate up with more than you can handle can be detrimental to your personal or professional development. Take it slow, step by step. At times as college students or humans at that, we can get caught up In the habit of trying to do too much too soon, when the road to success could be as simple as taking it step by step, day by day. Consider a bus driver who needs to get from point A to Point B. A good bus driver doesn’t take the fastest route to get to point B, but instead makes many essential stops at many points along the way before getting to point B. In this analogy everyone has different “routes” but we all will experience many “stops” along the way.
Make it easy
“Make it easy” (Clear, p. 54)Setting a habit of reading 30 min a day is most likely pretty attainable to the average person. If you read 30 min a day for a whole week that would equate to 3 ½ hours. The average novel is 300~ pages, and you could finish an average novel in a little over 2 weeks. As someone who wants to read more, I’ve implemented this myself. I gave myself an easy task of trying to read at least 5 books this year. It's April and I'm halfway through my second book. Overcomplicating or pushing your boundaries too far could be too overwelming and could be more harmful than beneficial. Having bad habits like eating fast food in large quantities on a daily basis and then telling yourself you’re going to eat only 1800 calories a day could cause a relapse. This compared to something simple as adding fruits and vegetables to meals or simply having home cooked meals rather than fast food could go a long way. Making habits simple will also cause you to actually do the habit, because it's easy.
Review your habits
Not all habits are the same for everyone, and some may be highly tailored for a certain person. Remove bias and look from outside In and really evaluate the pros and cons of the habit you have created and adjust as you go. Just because you created a habit for yourself doesn’t mean it was structured correctly.
“You are one decision away from a completely different life” (Robbins, p. 22). To that I say, you are one habit away from a different life. Habits are crucial to success, and when chosen wisely, one can experience the fruits of their labor. Place yourself In the right environment, take baby steps, make the habits easy, and then adjust. One of my favorite actors said, “Without commitment you’ll never start, but more importantly without consistency you’ll never finish(Washington). If you’re interested, I highly recommend you read Atomic Habits by James Clear as he goes on a deep dive on creating habits. Hope to meet you guys at the end of the book.