I’m going to be doing a monthly book review or a review of a podcast with the theme on self-improvement, diet, or fitness. I’m always reading or listening to these things in my free time, so I might as well share the good ones!
This month’s book, Atomic Habits, is definitely one of the good ones. The author, James Clear is geekily obsessed with the psychology behind how we build good habits and break bad ones, but he writes in a way that isn’t too technical and very down to earth. He breaks things down into the practical, so you can use these tools to make it easier to work on your own habits.
And health, fitness, and nutrition are ALL about habits!
I’ve been using his tips to make good habits, like prepping my morning smoothies and omelete veggies in advance as well as to break bad habits, like reaching for chocolate when I’m stressed. The idea behind his process is to break behaviors that you want to build into small, easily do-able pieces and then build on these tiny building blocks, hence the name “atomic habits.” He also points out that it’s the small things we do consistently in our lives that make the most impact, not big things we do occasionally.
One of the tips he gives that I’ve found really helpful is focusing on a ritual around a small turning point. For his example, a dance choreographer just focuses on getting dressed for her workout and hailing a cab to the gym. In my case, I focus on getting up out of bed at 5am and getting my workout clothes on. In both cases, working out once you’re there and dressed is pretty easy. For the dance choreographer, once she’s at the gym, she might as well do “something,” but it’s easier to get herself there if she’s just committing to going there, rather than committing to going there and working out 2 hours. For me, once I’m up and dressed, the rest of my routine falls into place because I’m already up and dressed. He also uses the example of a man who wanted to begin working out and simply committed to going to the gym and working out for 5 minutes…that’s it. For a week, he went, worked out for 5 minutes and went home. Evetually, he figured, if he was already there, why not work out a bit more to make it worth the trip? Next thing, he’d built that habit of working out.
There are a lot of examples in the book like this of small things you can to do make good habits stick easier or be more pleasant and ways to make it harder to indulge in bad habits. He gives his own example of cutting back on his social media usage by having his assistant change his passwords at the beginning of the week and only give him the new passwords right before the weekend! He also goes into how to work with rewards and punishments for yourself to help reinforce the habits you’re trying to make or break.
It’s easy to see why this book became a bestseller.
Want to work with me to create your OWN healthy habits? Looking for a workout routine or nutrition plan? Contact me and let’s get working together!