Originally posted on Facebook HERE
Grey, rainy morning here. I just started a fantastic book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s so good I have to mention it right out of the gate today. It’s similar to another book I read in 2015 called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy in that it talks about doing small things over time to create huge results. I highly recommend both books. James Clear also has a fantastic blog as well, it’s worth getting on his mailing list or following his page just to see those posts, they’re always great. James Clear is the preeminent expert on habits. And habits, good or bad, really determine what our lives are like. We tend to have a hard time changing any habit we’ve held for a long period of time, even if we want to change and know the change will be good for us. Clear says there are three layers of behavioral change: changing your outcomes, changing your process, changing your identity. Outcomes are results, process is habits, identity is beliefs. So – outcome would be “lose 20 pounds”, process “eat healthier every day and workout three times a week”, identity “I am a healthy person”. We tend to work the system backwards, by setting “lose 20 pounds” as a goal, then try to change the habits we have to get there, and if we’re lucky we change our beliefs about who we are once we have proof and have attained our goal. But that makes it much harder to attain the goal, because if we set “lose 20 pounds” as a goal, but the voice inside of us says “no way we’ll do that”, then we won’t achieve our goal since it’s out of alignment with who we believe we are. It’s better to look at the goal we want to achieve, work backwards, and see what kind of person would achieve that goal (for instance, a healthy person, or an athlete), adopt that mindset for ourselves, then work outwards from there. If you see yourself as a healthy person, you’ll make different food choices and commit to a workout routine, because that’s what a healthy person does and you are a healthy person. And we so often get bogged down by not having instantaneous results, too. It takes a while to lose weight, to write a book, to learn an instrument. This is where the idea of small actions over time comes into play. Practice guitar 30 minutes a day and in a year you’ll be way better than you were when you started, because every day you do it you get better, even though it might not seem like it. Meditate five minutes a day. Doesn’t seem like a lot, might be hard to quiet your mind, but – after a year? Do you think it would have a positive affect? Probably. Small things we do in life compound just like small things with money. Have you ever heard the question posed, “Would you prefer to receive $1MIL or a penny a day doubled for 30 days?”… the penny a day turns out to be WAY more because of the compound effect. It all boils down to this, and it’s somewhat timely as my new book set to be released in the next month or so deals with this as well: our lives will reflect our beliefs about who we are and what we’re capable of. In order to make a lasting change, we need to change our beliefs, then act as though whatever we want (to be an athlete, an author, or a musician for example) is already our identity. Then incrementally change our habits, and the results we get will be more in line with whoever and whatever it is we want to be and do with our lives. If you identify yourself as a “reader”, please check out both books above, they go into great detail on this. If you don’t identify as a reader, maybe that’s a change you could consider making? Or not. You do what’s right for you, I’ll do the same, and in the end we’ll all be happier people if we know who we want to be, then act in accordance with those beliefs.