IN THIS EPISODE:
- Why habits are important
- Habit Stacking
- Layers of behavior change
- James Clear and Tony Robbins
Hello hello hello. How are you guys today? It’s finally starting to warm up here in the Northeast so that is nice.
And last night we had such a nice dinner with friends – it was so funny b/c we were catching up and my one girlfriend was like – Michelle – you know there is still only 24 hours in a day… what else are you doing.. We were cracking up because I was like – well – I’m waiting for more people to sign up for one on one coaching at 4am… no takers yet..lol..
Seriously though you guys – here’s the thing – she is correct – there are 24 hours but what we do with those is so important. You get one precious life my friend – how do you want to spend each minute?
That is the work we do here – finding more time for you to be able to do what you want – whatever that is – maybe relax, but workout, maybe watch net flix. Whatever it is – I want you to start learning how to do it without the stress and guilt of thinking you should be doing something else.
That skill is magic.
Ok – today is episode 30 can you believe it?
You may recall each 10th episode I like to share a mentor – or teacher – who has influenced my thinking on a particular subject.
And today I want to talk about a book I recently read – and love to give my clients – Atomic Habits – by James Clear.
I was recently listening to something with Tony Robbins talking about the standards you set and the rituals you implement to get to a goal – vs just “wanting” to get to a goal.
I have found the more rituals – or habits I implement the more peaceful I am – seriously. At first I thought it seemed kinda constraining to commit to doing one thing for example over and over – but honestly – I have so much more freedom.
You guys here’s why – once you commit you know its done.
You just have it set and you don’t have to go back and forth with when you should do it or how or maybe not.
Now, the title may give you a hint about the content..lol.. yes – it’s about making tiny changes for remarkable results – with easy ways to build good habits and break bad ones.
What I thought I would do today is share some insights from the book and then either share examples he uses – or how I have implemented in my life.
So let’s dive in.
Let’s start with how he defines a habit. It’s a routine or behavior that is performed regularly – and in many cases automatically.
And let’s back up – do you know why habits are so important? Because the quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits.
Think about it – I’ve worked with people who over drink, people over eat, people who workout every day, people who stick to their calendar routinely – it all adds up to the results you currently have in your life.
And here’s the thing I think is super important in the book – making small changes. We sometimes think we need to make huge sweeping changes in order to make a difference.
Not true – and in fact, sometimes when we think they need to be huge sweeping changes our brain freaks out and we don’t make any.
So – let’s start small. Even just a 1% change every day will add up to big new results.
It’s like compound interest on your bank account – but in this case we are talking about the compound interest in your self improvement – in your mental health – in the life you want to live.
The title – Atomic Habits – means a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do – but also a source of incredible power – a component of the system of compound growth.
It is not just about making a habit – its about building a system of habits that will get you the result you want.
One concept I found super helpful was the idea of there being 3 layers of behavior change.
Often times we focus on changing the outcome – the results – like lose weight for example. This is where most goals are set – at the outcome level.
The second layer he discusses is with changing the habit and system. So maybe you have a new routine at the gym. This is a process level change.
The third – and deepest layer is changing your identity. This is where you change your beliefs – your view of the world.
One is not necessarily better than the other – but when we focus on the third we focus on who we want to become – not just what we want to accomplish.
Changing who we are gives us lasting change.
Ok – so this may sound like a silly example but it was so true for me.
For years I would stop at a local deli almost every morning and get an egg and cheese sandwich – with salt and pepper – on a toasted, buttered, delicious roll…lol.. I think I was addicted – it was for sure a habit.
Well – as it rolled closer to bathing suit time last year I wanted to clean that up.
I would make try to cut back on having them –
And if you’ve heard me say this once you’ve heard it multiple times – remember – the brain works on a motivational triad to seek pleasure, avoid pain and be efficient – so it was an efficient thing for me to stop – not to mention they always knew what I was ordering – and it was quite pleasurable to eat with the dopamine hit.
So it was no surprise that some days I avoided, but some days not so much.
And then one day – I decided – I am a person who does not eat egg sandwiches for breakfast.
And from that point – it was no longer a habit.
I no longer identify as the same person who feels the need to stop everyday.
I bet those workers miss me..lol..
So consider a habit you have been trying to change.
Do you want to become a person who only drinks on weekends?
Or maybe only has dessert on Sundays?
Or start honoring your calendar commitments no matter what.
Start identifying as that person. Not just that you want it – that you are it.
You have to start trusting yourself to first decide the type of person you want to be, and then start proving it to yourself with small wins.
When you win the majority of the time, you will begin changing your beliefs about yourself.
The next important concept he talks about is the best way to start a new habit.
He says people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform the new habit are more likely to follow through. He also discusses the importance of habit stacking.
See, sometimes people think it’s lack of motivation that doesn’t allow them to achieve the new goal – but really it is most often lack of clarity.
Think about the last time you were looking to set a new goal – were you thinking about when would be the right time to start it – like next Monday we will start again..lol.. I know – I’ve had that day before too.
The idea of habit stacking is not only is there a time and location – it also follows a current habit.
So – as an example – when I started meditating I would say I will mediate for 2 minutes at the end of my workout – which is always in the morning.
And – my workout is always after I have my first coffee – all previous habits I had so you just stack them up.
I would stick to it and then you guys – I would add a little more time each week and now I mediate 15-20 minutes every single day.
I would never have imagined that when I started – I was seriously the girl that was peaking on the timer to see when the 2 minutes would be up because I couldn’t stand just sitting there doing nothing.
But what I have learned is – the more I add to my meditation time – the more calmness I have to get other things done efficiently .
And so now – back to the identity shift – I am just somebody who meditates at least 15 mintues a day.
So pick a time and location for your new goal – and stack it on top of a currently habit you have.
And be sure to be clear about it – I didn’t just say I would meditate more – I knew exactly what the goal was, when, and where.
And stick to it.
Another concept in the book is the idea of making habits attractive.
Think about it – our brain loves the pleasure – the dopamine hit -that’s why habits of drugs, over drinking, over sugaring ..is that even a word? Lol.. You get the idea – these are highly dopamine driven.
So when you can reprogram your brain to enjoy the hard things you will be more likely to keep taking forward action.
Instead of saying you have to get up early to get to the gym – say you get to.
Here’s the thing friends – it may seem like semantics but the truth is – when you want to get new results both are actually true – you have to do new things – and you get to.
The difference lies in the mindset you want to take when considering the change.
Which way sounds more attractive?
Getting to for sure sounds better to me.
And here’s the other thing.
The reason we want new results is because of how we think we will feel – it’s why we do – or not do – anything in life.
So it’s not as much the habit you want as it is the outcome and how you will feel – the author likens the habit to an obstacle to getting what you want.
For example – getting to the gym is the habit, but what you really want is to feel fit, feel comfortable in your own skin.
That’s where you will feel gratified.
And the last concept I will talk about today is the idea of delayed vs. instant gratification.
This is a big one.
Our brain loves to prioritize the present moment – so when the extra glass of wine is presented, or the second cookie – or the I don’t feel like doing what is on my calendar right now – the instant gratification often wins.
And the thing is – if we are working on new outcomes with new habits we are doing that work for our future self.
So you really need to question the decision in the moment – does it serve you for your long term goals – or is it just for your immediate comfortable pleasure?
Listen – honestly – I usually don’t feel like doing my podcast at the time I have it scheduled for.
But I do it.
Because I have made a commitment on my calendar – and I want to share these tools with you in order to help the state of affairs in the world of mental health.
So just because I don’t feel like it is not an excuse.
I know in the long run I will have the gratification – when I hear from you
– when people reach out with questions,
when I make a difference in the world,
and when I see my nieces know anything is truly possible –
that is the gratification I feel like having so I stick to the habit of recording this podcast when I say I will.
So think about it this week.
Who do you want to become?
What is one habit you can begin implementing – or changing – in order to move closer to that person?
One small change over time can make such a huge difference.
It’s all so good!
I can not say enough about this book – and there is still so much more to learn from it.
Again – it’s called Atomic Habits by James Clear – so good.
OK – That is what I have for you today.
Thank you so much for listening – it is my honor and privilege to speak to you every week.
Let’s circle back next week – but for now – make it a great day – take care!