Each Month I will Blogging about Books, so you can Self-help with a therapist's lead. Our first book is a quest to break those bad habits and find the evidence based ways to achieve your aspirations.
January's book is Atomic Habits by James Clear. An excellent read for changing habits if I may say so myself. So let's get started.
So why am I doing this? I appreciate how hectic life can be, and some people are either just too busy to read a book, or maybe reading is not their thing.
So, I thought to myself, there are so many books out there with some life-changing information. How do I get that information into digestible bites for people?
The first thing that I feel is important to say right off the bat is that changing anything is difficult, whether it is a behavior, habit or even how we feel about ourselves. Throughout the book, it emphasizes that making small changes can really make a big difference. Think about how when you want to change something, the focus is on it being earth-shattering with people saying “you have changed so much”, but in reality, change should be slow and gradual.
Well, I have some good news. The rule throughout the book is that we should strive to be better by just 1% per day. Think about it, if you are better by 1% per day, according to the book, by the end of the year you are thirty-seven times better than when you first started. So what does that even look like? Well if you have an afternoon snack of potato chips or a chocolate bar and want to focus on being healthy, then maybe consider eating carrots and hummus instead. See you are already 1% better than you were yesterday!
So, why is making any changes difficult? When we think about losing weight, for example, we are concentrating on the short-term goal of weight loss and not the long-term goal of changing our identity to be healthy. The book gives a great example of someone giving up smoking and being offered a cigarette. More than likely that person would say “no thank you, I have just given up smoking”, instead of saying “no thank you, I am not a smoker”. See the difference in the wording. One is that their identity is that they are not a smoker and the other is just focusing on their short-term goal of giving up smoking.
A way to help you change your identity, according to the book, is to ask yourself these questions: decide the type of person you want to be and prove it to yourself with small wins. You want to be a writer, then write a page every day, would that not make you a writer? You want to be healthy, every time you sleep well, eat healthy, exercise or drink water you are being a healthy person. Each time you engage in the habit it teaches you to trust that you can do it and slowly over time you will start to believe in yourself.
According to James Clear the process of building or breaking a habit is divided into four simple steps; cue, craving, response and reward. Within this process, there is a framework of four laws for creating good habits. First of all, make the cues obvious, secondly, make the cravings attractive, thirdly make the response easy and lastly make the reward satisfying. For those of you wanting to break a bad habit, you want to make the cue invisible, the cravings unattractive, the response difficult and the reward unsatisfying.
A habit is something that is repeated enough times that it becomes second nature; something we no longer even think about. Any habit can be broken down into four simple steps; we have the cue, the cravings, our response and the reward. Next, the ways that we can build better habits are to make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy and lastly make it satisfying.
Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok to get a deeper dive into each of the 4 Laws over the next 4 weeks of January. @Clarityhealthfl
***Please remember this is my interpretation of the book, and not everything will be included from the book in my blogs or videos.****