Our choices and actions are keys to whether we will achieve establishing a habit or system that will aide us in achieving the big goal we’re going after. This quote comes from Atomic Habits by James Clear.
“Habits are like atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvements.”
The choices we make multiply into major results. Even our smallest choices we make for better or worse have the power to carry us through or take us completely off track. A key to understanding the benefits and impact of our small choices we make can be a huge difference in success or failure.
I take my own desire to write daily. I’ve designed a stacked system of habits that are small, but done over and over again repetitively have a high yield in me successfully posting a new blog up on IBtP.
I pick a theme I want to write about for the entire week. You can guess what this week has been focused on (i.e. the season of resolutions and goals for 2019) if you’ve been reading them. I use a note taking/journal app, logging ideas through out the day as they strike me. Ones very specific to the theme of the week. Usually, by the end of the day, my blog is already written for me. All I have to do is connect the dots of the findings and research I’ve come across to make a whole. Presto!
Instead, we try to take the entire change we need to make on at one time. We don’t take the time to think about how hard it will be to go from a bad habit to a great habit in order to hit our goal. We over use our focus on results and don’t look to trajectory as a measurement of establishing success. We don’t use our trajectory as a means to measure our success in establishing a system/habit we want to see in ourselves to win the goal. Frustration sets in because we fail trying to hit this very high bar of change we’ve defined we want to be at. Then we quit.
Simples changes to our environment or creating cues that will trigger us to make better habit choices is another great way to create the catalyst needed to hit your goals. One of the best ways I got more gym time in was to wear my next days work out clothes to bed instead of pajamas. I also left my gym shoes in the middle of the room for me to see or trip on. Those two simple changes to my environment created cues and triggered me to get moving to the gym. After repetition the habit became automatic over time. Cues weren’t needed any more for me to keep going to the gym. I just started going. As soon as I went the other direction and didn’t create those stacked habits, the gym also got less attention.
James Clear calls this concept the two-minute rule in his book Atomic Habits. Here’s the idea:
“The two-minute rule is a way to build easy achievable habits, and those can lead you on to greater things. Once you’ve pulled on your running shoes, you’ll probably head out for a run. Once you’ve read two pages, you’ll likely continue. The rule recognizes that simply getting started is the first and most important step toward doing something.”
A tiny change in your behaviors or systems you’ve setup will not yield a transformation in your life/work. But, turn those tiny changes into repetitive behaviors/systems performing them everyday, stacking them on top of one another, you will. Don’t be fooled by the idea that it will take a HUGE CHANGE or breakthrough to truly change into what you want to be. Instead, small habits combined together as a chain have the atomic power to get you where you want.
Good luck with the rest of this week and your work towards a better you in 2019!