This year, I desperately did not want to let go of the previous year, trying to finish everything as planned. At the same time, I did not rush to write out the New Year’s resolution in one evening, but gradually reflect on all of this in the new year. Honestly? – Fine)
The first book of this year is James Clear – Atomic Habits. In equal rows, it fell on the previous ideas: like in everything equally in the formation of new habits, we must start from the person we want to be and the things we want to acquire. Therefore, planning should start with this: who I want to be, what I want to achieve, what are my values. And, says Clear, our individuality emerges from our habits. As well as from what is given to us by nature: “Work hard on the things that come easy,” – says Clear, – genes do not determine your destiny, though they determine the scope of your capabilities.
The word “identity” comes from the Latin essentitas (essential, basis) and identidem (repeated), as in Aristotle – “we are what we repeatedly do.” Exactly this quote has been the background of my LinkedIn profile for ten years. But Clear decided to chew it up for me a little more.
The benefits of habit
Having turned everything into habits as much as possible, we automate our lives, freeing up energy and thinking space for more important things, because desired habits are a way to force our brain to do things that it would otherwise refuse to do, because its main function – survival – forces it to save first of all energy, rather than wasting it on endless decision-making. That is, habits do not burden and do not make our lives gray, on the contrary, they give us freedom:
Without good financial habits, you will always be struggling for the next dollar. Without good health habits, you will always seem to be short on energy. Without good learning habits, you will always feel like you’re behind the curve. If you’re always being forced to make decisions about simple tasks—when should I work out, where do I go to write, when do I pay the bills—then you have less time for freedom. It’s only by making the fundamentals of life easier that you can create the mental space needed for free thinking and creativity.James Clear – Atomic Habits
Among other advantages:
- constancy, and therefore mental stability. habits can be one of the mental supports and, accordingly, reduce stress and improve health;
- increased productivity, especially if you choose those habits wisely;
- building skills and expertise;
- achieving goals;
- improving concentration;
- improved sense of control, self-control, well-being and motivation;
- and, accordingly, being a better member of society.
How it works
As with everything in the world, either we control it, or it controls us, or it’s simply beyond our control. We can’t do anything about the last one, so we cross it off the list.
As you know, 40% of everything we do happens automatically. If these habits appeared unconsciously and we never paid attention to them, we will have hope that we are lucky and some of them are good. But it’s better late than never to track your habits, make a list of them and decide which ones the king allows to stay, which ones are neutral, and which ones have to go.
Clear is not talking about good and bad habits, instead, what is effective in the long run and what is not. Because a habit, like, let’s say, a cigarette, is a coping mechanism, which will bring instant relief and, therefore, pleasure, but in the long term it can spoil life for good. In the same way, the brain is more inclined to learn those habits that do not require much effort, for example, checking the phone as soon as it rings, is easy and convenient, especially if it is always at hand, you checked it – you got your dopamine, – everything but long-term prospects is satisfied. In any case, if you look at the root, each of the habits satisfies some basic need – perhaps it’s worth looking more closely at which one exactly it is and how to satisfy it to the bests interest of your long-term vision.
The cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue. Together, these four steps form a neurological feedback loop—cue, craving, response, reward; cue, craving, response, reward—that ultimately allows you to create automatic habits. This cycle is known as the habit loop.James Clear – Atomic Habits
This is a constant process that takes place in the brain every second, and it can be manipulated to your advantage. How?
- make it obvious, attractive, easy, and enjoyable for the habits you want to acquire, or make it invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unpleasant for the habits you want to break, and therefore
- edit the environment (for example, remove stimuli from the eyes to overeat on sweets, but instead add stimuli of more desirable behavior, for example, nuts); people can be edited a little too (because we have a tendency to imitate others), so let’s surround ourselves with those whom we want to imitate, in particular, nothing motivates us like belonging to a community, and luckily communities can be chosen or even created.
- limit yourself to circumstances (time and place), this is how, for example, a therapeutic session works: you missed it, you pay money, you’re late – your problems. that’s about how, by the way, both laws and fines work too.
- habit accumulation technique (if you already have an established good habit, you can attach a very small new habit to it, for example, you brushed my teeth – take a few deep breaths. to make this whole thing stick much better, Clear advises combining the necessary habits with pleasant ones, if you stick a pleasant one straight after the necessary one, dopamine (success) is guaranteed.
- do it as regularly as possible, and don’t go astray when you “missed it” (here I like the idea of, for example, sitting down at the laptop every day with the aim of working, studying or something, regardless of whether it is a working day or a weekend. on a day when you feel that need to rest (and such days sometimes come quite unexpectedly, exactly when we do not have the opportunity to have that day off), you can simply turn on the TV series, or finally put the laptop away altogether).
- not chasing big results, but striving to improve things by just 1%. good enough for incredible changes.
I liked the book, it’s easy to read and gives practical advice. And it ends with words that once again remind me of how much I love the name of this site (prynadiyi means having hope):
There is no experience to justify expectations. At first all you have is hope.James Clear – Atomic Habits