Atomic Habits, a wonderful book by James Clear, has helped me immensely this last little while as I undergo a little personal overhaul.
By following some simple suggestions from him, I’ve made my life a better place by establishing better habits, immediately. Even as I sit here, my legs are all comfortably achy having just returned from walking up and down the little ski hill near my office. That’s five days in a row.
1. I set incredibly easy and attainable goals.
For starters, I’ve gone back to writing blogs, which I have missed. My video work will continue but in a different capacity, so stay tuned for all of this. Initially, I wanted to return to writing a blog five days a week as I had for many years.
Instead, I committed to Tuesdays and Thursdays. Posting two blogs a week is so easy I don’t really have to motivate myself to do it. It’s a very easy goal to accomplish, and once it becomes a habit, I’ll introduce another day of blogging or something else that is worthy of your attention.
So instead of struggling to post three times, and then dealing with the subsequent fall out of imposter syndrome, I’m posting twice and it’s fun. That which is rewarding and fun is repeated.
2. 1% improvement
Although I didn’t learn this from James Clear, it does make up a big part of his process. One percent improvements compound quickly, as do 1% declines. Rather than trying to be incredible from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Establishing better habits is a process. Make it easy, and along the way your willpower and motivation will increase.
We all make mistakes, commit errors and lose our way. It is part of being human. Very successful people and top performers make the same mistakes. The difference is they recover and get back on track as quickly as possible.
Missing your habit once won’t derail you, so go easy on yourself when you miss a workout or eat a carb or fail to get your ten emails sent. Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself.
You should plan for failure. Identify ahead of time the most likely obstacles that will distract you and challenge you, and have a plan at the ready for when you do stumble. You don’t need to be perfect. Focus on the identity of being someone who never misses a habit twice.
Stick to your pace. New habits should feel easy, especially at the beginning. If not, you’re trying too hard.