Atomic Habits by James Clear quickly became one of the Menlo Group team’s favorite books. As we read together, we applied the author’s principles to develop new habits and break old ones. Some habits we’ve been working on include:
The book is full of ideas on developing habits, but we’ll only share a few that stood out to us.
Too often we struggle to develop habits because we set lofty goals. For this reason, the author encourages us to start simple. To develop a habit of exercise, we should begin by going to the gym for only five minutes at a time. Another way to remember to exercise would be to associate it with a current habit (e.g. every time we change out of work clothes, we should immediately put on exercise attire). Tracking each exercise may also help us stay motivated to continue the habit.
Our environment can help or hinder our ability to develop habits. The book outlines the importance of designating areas for certain habits. To draw more, we should have a specific area of the house to act as our studio. We can also prepare our environment by setting out our sketchpad each night before we go to bed.
If we strive to eat healthy, we’ll want to place apples instead of cookies on the counter. We may also want to shop at a different grocery store or sign up for a meal kit delivery service. We should also surround ourselves with people who have healthy eating habits.
The author encourages readers to focus not on what they want to achieve but rather who they want to become. We are more likely to continue habits that align with our self-image and discontinue those that don’t. If we want to write daily, we should think of ourselves as writers. If we want to quit smoking, we should quit thinking of ourselves as smokers.
Our habits shape who we are and the lives we lead. We look forward to continuing to apply James Clear’s advice to develop atomic habits.