Is what the book Atomic Habits by James Clear is all about.
This book helps you develop habits that get you where you want to be by helping you be the kind of person that gets there. Simply put, if you’d like to have a six pack it will help you get in the habit of doing pushups every day.
You’ve probably tried that before and it was painful, right? Well, this book tells you how to take the pain away and get better every day without conscious effort. If that sounds good, read on.
How it works
This system is based on 4 laws for behaviour change. According to this theory, to forge a new habit you need to:
1. Make it obvious
2. Make it attractive
3. Make it easy
4. Make it satisfying
Example of Law #1
Let’s start with number 1, make it obvious. This stage takes you through an evaluation of what you already do to give you an idea about what you may want to change and how.
In order to form a new habit and stick to it we need to define exactly when and where it fits into our reality. Saying I’ll buy ingredients and cook lunch for the next day on Sunday at 3 pm makes you much more likely to do it. If you only decide that you’ll cook for the next day on a Sunday, you’ll likely find yourself with an empty fridge at 8 pm.
Finding a place for the new habit in your existing reality makes you more likely to actually follow through. In the study quoted in the book 91% of participants who employed this technique started to exercise regularly. The rate in the control group and the group which watched a motivational presentation was 35-38%.
What more can I do?
Ok, so you’ve placed it in time and space. How else can you make this easier? There are many more strategies you can employ.
It seems like people who stick to your desired habits must have willpower of steel. But actually it’s the other way round. They’ve created circumstances, which allow them to perform the habit with as little effort as possible.
I’ve talked about this before in this post Beware the default. Our environment has an enormous influence on us. But much of the time we can control that environment and the type of influence it has.
That’s another thing that Atomic Habits tells you exactly how to do!
This book is packed with tips and strategies to make your desired habits obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying. And how to turn these laws around to get rid of the undesirable ones!
If you’re ready to put achieving your goals on autopilot (ok, it’s not that easy, but it’s pretty close) read the whole book. ;)