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Atomic Habits

This “rant” is really more of a book review, but given that we’ve just started a new year, it seems very appropriate!

I bought Atomic Habits before Christmas but just started reading it on January 1st. I’m only 60 pages into it, but I’ve got a feeling already that it could be one of the most important books I’ve ever read.

It seems like a bizarre bit of kismet that it was January 1st when I started reading it, the same day that we all tend to make our resolutions for the new year. You know; the resolutions that only seem to last a week or two or a month or two if we really, really flex our willpower!

I’m no different than anyone else, believe me. But I’ve learned that setting specific goals without proper systems to get there is a perfect recipe for failure.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals, but as the author (James Clear) says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

The book’s title is self-explanatory, but to be clear, the premise is that tiny changes practiced over time (with consistency) can yield remarkable results.

The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve but on who you wish to become. 

For example, imagine two people resisting a cigarette. When offered a smoke, the first person says, “No thanks. I’m trying to quit.” It sounds like a reasonable response, but this person still believes they are a smoker who is trying to be something else. They are hoping their behavior will change while carrying around the same beliefs.

The second person declines by saying, “No thanks. I’m not a smoker.” It’s a small difference, but the statement signals a shift in identity. Smoking was part of their former life, not their current one. They no longer identify as someone who smokes. 

Behavior that is incongruent with the self will not last. For example, you may want to be in better physical shape, but if you continue to prioritize comfort over accomplishment, you’ll continue to be drawn towards relaxing, rather than training. It’s hard to change your habits if you never change the underlying beliefs that led to your past behavior. You have a new goal and a new plan, but you haven’t changed who you are. 

Already, Atomic Habits has inspired me to make significant changes in my daily processes that determine the person I want to be. 

In 2023 I want to up my game, personally and professionally, and I believe Atomic Habits will help me to reach my goals. Yes, I still have goals, but now I’m learning to concentrate on making little changes to my processes rather than thinking about the goals themselves. This already seems much more satisfying and less overwhelming!

In business, in 2023, I’m hoping to make it abundantly obvious to every client that they made the right choice in choosing me as their agent. This will require me to change and improve my systems and processes, which I’m already working on implementing, but this new belief in itself will be an ongoing, never-ending process for me. Just watch me.

You know it’s impossible to do justice to a book like this in a few words. If you want to check it out yourself, here’s a link: Amazon – Atomic Habits

In closing, since this “rant” is about a book, I’ll close with this quote that I saw on Facebook recently:

A New Year is like a blank book. It has 12 chapters and 365 pages, and you are the author. My wish for you is that this year, you write the most beautiful story possible for yourself.

Happy New Year!