Sreelakshmi Prasad

Chief Editor

Lessons from Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

7 Aug 2020

 5-mins  Read


Habits are like the atoms of our life, said James Clear in his popular book called Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.

How? You may wonder!

Well, according to Clear, atomic habits basically refer to tiny little habits that seem small and insignificant, just like atoms. And just like atoms, each habit is a fundamental unit that contributes to our behavior and personality. Habits are, therefore, the key to self-improvement!

The book throws light on some exciting lessons that will help one improve their life for the better. We have put together a few of the crucial takeaways from the book just for you!

It all comes down to 1%

We always tend to push ourselves to make big changes and improvements. But what matters is the 1%. Start small when you are trying to make a change. Make 1% change to your health, or time management, or relationships. And try and keep at it for the next 365 days. This will prove far more effective than trying to make one big change in a day or two.

For example, if you are trying to lead an active lifestyle, don’t force yourself to do a 45-minute workout suddenly! Instead, begin by walking to work instead of riding. Or you could take the stairs over the elevator wherever you go. Keep making these little changes every day. Over time you can introduce a 5-10 minute exercise routine whenever convenient. These small 1% changes will add up over time and make you a healthy and active person.

Similarly, imagine you are saving up to buy yourself a new gadget. You can start saving a small amount. It could be Rs. 100, or Rs. 500, or even Rs 50! But over a period of time, it will become a Rs. 5000 or Rs. 10,000! So start small!

The 1% changes you make every day will, thus, ultimately lead to a sea of change.

Don’t focus on the outcomes

We are often disappointed and angry when we don’t get the results that we want! But the truth is, we have been focusing on the wrong factor all along. Outcomes or results are something we have no control over. So no matter what you do, and how hard you try, you cannot determine the result or outcome.

Instead, you need to focus on the process or the system! This means that you must focus on yourself, which you have full control over! Focus on the hard work, communication, preparation, etc.

To make changes, however, don’t jump into making a series of changes! This can be overwhelming. Assume a shift in your identity instead. For instance, if you are a big spender, and are trying to save some money or spend less, believe that you are a spendthrift. Now you must act like a spendthrift, which means you may have to think twice before you spend every penny. You will choose to spend on necessary things, instead of spending just for the heck of it. When you make such a shift in your identity, it may be easier to make change.

Consistency is key

James Clear says, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them.”

This means that if you are making changes and are trying to make improvements in your life, you have to be consistent. Keep making the 1% changes we talked about, but you have to keep following through every day. You cannot make the change for a day and automatically expect yourself to be a better person the next day! It takes persistence and determination.

For example, say you are attempting to save money. By just setting aside money once, will not do much. You will have to consistently add to it every month actually to have some savings. OR say you are trying to lose some weight. You can’t avoid sugar or sweets for one or two days and suddenly expect to see an impact on your health or weight! You will thus HAVE to be consistent.

Another important thing to remember is that when you remain consistent, you will see significant improvements in not just yourself but also your life! When you make little improvements every day, you will have a neat little system in place where you make more time for the good ‘habits’ and avoid the bad ones. You will be able to prioritize and find time for anything and everything. The chances of you being overwhelmed and thrown off track will become much lower. This, in turn will improve your overall quality of life.

Always remember – habits are like atoms of life. Using the tips from above, you can indulge in the habits that make life better for you and you are bound to lead a happy and fulfilling life!

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