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One of my favorite recent reads is Atomic Habits by James Clear. Not only was the research on habits so interesting to learn, but I love me a book that has practical, actionable steps.
The author talks about how small, consistent habits help us to not only accomplish our goals, but help us become the person we wish to become. The author describes his “gradual evolution through a long series of small wins and tiny breakthroughs” Love that. That’s what successfully building good habits looks like: small wins and tiny breakthroughs.
There were three main takeaways I got from the book for building good habits. I’ve practiced these methods for about four months now and it’s been a game changer. They’re simple, easy, and have really helped me build a new lifestyle.
Habit stacking is when you identify a habit you already do each day and then attach your new behavior to it. I started by listing out all the things I already do every single day, as the book suggested, and then attached new habits I wanted to start. For example, every morning when I pour water to take my meds (habit I already had) I started filling my family’s water bottles for the day (new habit). The concept is simple and easy, and now all of us drink more water.
Temptation bundling is when you link an action you want to do with an action you need to do. I used this method to start a new morning routine. My favorite part of the day is my morning coffee and daydreaming time. So I told myself I couldn’t enjoy my me time (action I want to do) until I completed a morning routine (action I need to do). Over time, the tedious getting-ready tasks I used to resist became an automatic thing I just had to do to get to the good stuff.
Habit tracking is a way to measure your progress with sticking to your habits. James Clear shares how research has shown that people who track their habits are more likely to be successful.
I use a couple different habit trackers in my planner.
The first one is a daily tracker. This is where I monitor personal and business related habits I’m trying to build. I keep it right next to my daily schedule so it’s always top of mind as I go through my day.
The second one is a monthly tracker. At the top of the page I track how much sleep I get, if I’m getting any exercise, if I’m eating healthy, if I’m keeping up with my routines. Then directly below that I track my moods to see if my habits affect my moods. (There’s something about a good line graph, amirite?)
Whichever methods you use to build new habits, I would say to keep it simple, track your progress and just start.
Do you track your habits? Does it help you stay on track?