A habit is any action performed repeatedly on a regular basis. Any activity when done repeatedly and consistently would always have an effect; Tiny changes can produce remarkable results, and this could either be negative or positive.
Atomic Habits is a best seller written by James Clear that serves as an easy and practical guide to break bad habits and cultivate new ones.
If you want to learn about building new habits, knowing why habits matter and stopping wrong ones, this is definitely a very helpful book. My favourite thing about it isn’t just the psychology of habits explained, and how practical the tips are, but how interesting and enjoyable the book is.
Here are a few habits hacks to learn from the book;
1. Focus on who you want to become.
When you focus on identity, i.e who you want to become, it’s easier to take steps to reach that goal.
Start by asking what will a healthy person do, what should a good writer/singer do? Every action is a vote for the kind of person you want to become, let that be the focus.
2. Cues are important.
A small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do. When a cue that sparks a habit are subtle or hidden, it’s easy to ignore; Therefore if you want to make a habit a big part of your life, make the cue a big part of your environment.A small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do. Click To Tweet
I once saw a phone screen wallpaper design that read ‘I’m reading the book of Acts, and I found that intriguing. It goes to show how intentional the person was, and that’s a perfect example of making a cue obvious enough to serve as a reminder.
3. Reduce exposure to triggers.
To eliminate a bad habit, reduce the exposure to the cue that causes it. For example, if you want to cut down on your entertainment consumption, that’s not the time to subscribe to all the movie platforms available, or read all the recommendations people have about trending movies.To eliminate a bad habit, reduce the exposure to the cue that causes it. It's easier to avoid temptation than to resist it. Click To Tweet
It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.
4. Have an implementation intention.
Sticking to a goal is saying what you want to do, and when you want to do it. It’s not saying ‘I need to eat healthy’, or ‘I need to stop sleeping late’, it is saying I will start sleeping by xyz time, or I will start washing plates immediately I finish cooking, or I will read a chapter of a book by this time, in this place.
People who make a specific plan for where and when they’ll perform a new habit are more likely to follow through.People who make a specific plan for where and when they'll perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Click To Tweet
5. Practice habit stacking.
This is similar to having an implementation plan, but instead of pairing the habit with a time and place, you pair it with an existing activity.
A friend of mine was being intentional with her weight loss plan and wanted to do better with exercises, as a result of that, she decided that every time she uses the toilet, she’ll do 10 squats. It worked for her! It was a strategy.
The key is to tie your desired behaviour to something you already do each day.
6. Leverage technology.
Automation can help your good habits inevitable and your bad habits impossible. A typical example of this is using settings or apps that limit screen time or social media consumption. There are apps that can block you from using your phone for a particular period of time, one of which is the focus setting on iPhone and Samsung.Automation can help your good habits inevitable and your bad habits impossible. A typical example of this is using settings or apps that limit screen time or social media consumption. Click To Tweet
This setting helps you track your patterns and discipline yourself. You can give yourself a maximum time to use apps, and once that time has elapsed in a day, you can’t open the app anymore for that day(n.b You can if you set the password yourself, so it’s better to get someone to set it for you, that way you won’t be able to change the setting when the time elapses, even if you wanted to). There are also other apps that can be used.
You can leverage technology in helping your good habits, and making bad habits difficult to follow through.
7. Practice habit tracking.
Tracking habits is helpful for various reasons. It could be ticking a ‘register’ for every time you read the page of a book or marking the calendar dates for every day you do something you committed to doing daily. This would not only serve as a reminder but as motivation as well because each measurement provides evidence that you’re making progress.
Think about what habits you’d like to stop or cultivate, and how you can implement the above tips to do so. Let us know which of these you found helpful in the comment section.