Travis (Upton) and I (Matt) both are reading Jim Clear’s book, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. We’re finding it tremendously helpful in our own journey to live a great life – a life of purpose, of joy, of using time wisely. We recommend it highly to all of you because habits are such powerful actions in our lives. Bad habits take us away from our purpose, from our joy; good habits enable us to live with purpose and joy.
In this brief article, we share four of the book’s ideas that are very valuable in building new good habits:
Utilizing Your Physical Surroundings – At work or at home you can arrange your physical surroundings to reinforce and even spur good habits. For example, if you want to drink more water – place bottles of water at various places in your home or office where you are throughout the day. Want to write more personal notes to your clients/customers: put a stack of note cards on the corner of your desk – with envelopes stamped and ready to use.
Choose Carefully Who You Spend Time With – Jim shares the story of a family that decided that their children would be world class chess players. They accomplished it by having their children spend time every week with other young chess players – over time, their children’s skills grew remarkably. Translation – if you want to be a better runner, join a running club. If you want to be a better salesman, find a group of sales professionals that are dedicated to improving their sales skills. Spend time with those who you want to be like…
Reframe your thinking – Instead of looking at certain good habits as sacrifices, reframe the way you think about them. Jim shares the story of a man who uses a wheelchair. When asked if it was difficult to be confined, he responded, “I’m not confined to my wheelchair; I’m liberated by it. If it wasn’t for my wheelchair, I would be bed-bound and never able to leave my house. He had shifted his perspective entirely on what the wheelchair meant to him. Translation: instead of thinking, “I need to go run tomorrow morning,” say to yourself, “I have an opportunity to build endurance and get healthier tomorrow morning.”
Stack Your Habits – If you drink coffee every morning, perhaps lay your vitamins out beside your coffee maker before you go to bed. You’ll remember to take them that way. Or, if you want to spend more time praying, spend 10-15 minutes praying each morning before allowing yourself to read the morning paper.
Habits – Good ones enable us to live lives of greatness. Cultivate good habits and watch your life take off!