• Sarah Lyall-Neal PsyD

This Post Could Be Habit Forming

Lately, I have been spending time reading some business and self-improvement type books. By reading, I do mean listening. I have a forever long commute to work four days a week and I decided to start using that time a bit more productively. In my quest to find books that might help me make some positive changes in my life, I came across the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.



Today's post is going to be a bit of a book review. I am going to do a helicoptor fly over of some of the concepts Clear covered in the book that made the most sense to me.


1% Change


Clear starts the book by describing what an atom is. It is the smallest unit of matter, not even visible to the human eye. He uses the atom as an example of the size of change that needs to occur to make noticeable progress toward your goals.


He stated you should start establishing a habit by doing the task for just 2 minutes per day.

For instance, if you want to read more, you would start by reading 2 minutes or approximately 1 page a day. You will want to keep the initial commitment minimal. The idea is that over time, you will start to want to increase the time spent because you are already blocking out time anyway.


This would be an excellent way to start reading your Bible. I am two thirds of the way through my first cover to cover read through of the Bible and I have read the majority of it in 15 to 30 minute intervals. In my humble opinion, the Bible is not a book to binge read. Reading the Bible in short intervals gives you an oppertunity to sit with what you are reading and digest the content.


It's not about the goal, its about how you get there (the system)


Clear argues that anyone can have a goal. He furthers says that both winners and losers have the same goal, but what separates them is the route they take to reach their goals. Let's go back to Bible reading (not that there are winners and losers in Bible reading). Let's say we have two people who want to decrease their anxiety by becoming better acquainted with Jesus by reading their Bible over the course of a year.


Jane Plan: Jane lays her Bible on her kitchen table prior to going to bed. In the morning, she goes to her kitchen, brews a cup of coffee, and sits at her kitchen table to drink it. Her Bible is right there ready to be read.


Janette No-Plan: Janette finishes reading her bible and leaves it laying wherever she finished (on the bedside table, in the living room, etc). During the day she comes across it from time to time but never at a time when she is ready to read. She makes a mental note to read later and most days forgets.


Can you see the difference? Both Jane and Janette will likely read their Bible at least some, but Jane is much more likely to read consistently because she sets up her environment to be conducive to reading at a certain time each day.


I just realized this is a two part post, we are just getting started on habits and how changing your habbits can help in reducing your anxiety and changing your life for the better. Thursday we will look at the science behind habits and how to effectively create positive habits.


Homework for today:


In what area of your life do you need to make a 1% change? How can you set up your environment to support the change?


Examples:

  • Have a little less creamer in your coffee to save calories

  • Park a little further away from the door at work or while running errands to get more steps

  • Go to bed 5 minutes earlier

  • Get out of bed 5 minutes earlier

  • Take 5 minutes to research something you would like to learn about

The list could be endless!


  • This link is an affiliate link, if you purchase a copy of Atomic Habits from this link, I will get a small commision at no extra charge to you.


Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children -Ephesians 5:1


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