If you have been reading this blog for a while you probably would have gathered that I love books.. I am also really intrigued by habits and why humans do the things we do.It therefore stands to reason that a book about habits will be right up my street.
‘Atomic habits’ was our February read in a book club that I co-ordinate.Adding this book to our list for the year was quite intentional/strategic as it’s been on to my ‘to read’ list for ages. I get a weekly email newsletter from the author and the book is an international best seller that has sold over a million copies. The rave reviews,second to none! So yes, there was a lot of anticipation on my part. As I had been disappointed in the past by some critically acclaimed titles,I was really hoping this wouldn’t fall flat especially as I had also made over 50 people read it with me.
But wow did it live up to the hype! It was such an awesome read. I actually think it has earned a place on my ‘ Top 10 books’ (look out for that blog post later this year ). I finished it in a week and then went back to read slowly and highlight various parts of it. I am so glad that I bought myself a hard copy and it now occupies a vantage position on my book shelf and will be a book that I am sure I will keep going back to.
The principles explored in this book make it such a great learning resource.Habits are the bedrock of almost everything we do and the idea of having laws(like the laws of gravity) of habit change makes it something that everyone can relate to.
One of the biggest insights I gleaned from reading this book was that it reaffirmed something that I had always suspected;
Discipline is overrated
I know that sounds odd as motivational speakers have made ‘discpline’ such a buzz word these days. However quite unlike some books in the personal development/self help genre ,this book laid out real,concrete and actionable steps on how most people can start or drop habits. It lays down building blocks that highlights the idea that being disciplined is not just for a select or ‘special’ few. A paragraph from the book that really captured this for me was;
If you are having trouble changing your habits,the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system.Bad habits repeat themselves again & again not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
Those last 2 lines- GOLD! I have found those statements to be so true both in my personal & professional life. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I don’t think ‘discipline’ comes naturally to me and I always chuckle when people say to me ‘you are so disciplined’ because I am able to do certain things. I really am not that disciplined.
One skill that I have been able to hone over the years is utilising the fact that I am a creature of routine (I think most of us are).Utilising this trait(which can be both a strength and weakness) is what allows me to do those things that I would ordinarily be unable to. I love setting goals,having a vision of what I want to achieve but because of my tendency to procrastinate the only way I can ever achieve anything is by making sure that there is a process/system that I incorporate into the things I do daily/regularly. I am sure some people at work have nicknamed me ‘Ms process’ but I really do believe the process is as important as the output.
‘Atomic Habits’ goes ahead to create a blue print for how anyone can set up a system to either create or stop good & bad habits.
The author divides them up into what he calls the 4 laws of behaviour change which are;
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
I like to implement ideas from books and and No 3 is the one that really speaks to my ‘easy way out’ self. Simplifying things really is one of the best ways to ensure that they get done.
As I said earlier( and to almost everyone I chatted to in Feb) I can’t recommend this book enough. It is quite a chunky book but also quite easy to read. It is the perfect guide for anyone who is looking to make adjustments in how they go about their daily activities. If you haven’t read it, I think you should! In fact I think everyone should!
‘Habits are the compound interest of self improvement. Getting 1 percent better everyday counts for a lot in the long run’
You really are what you do(or don’t do) daily!
If you have read the book I would really love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you haven’t, I would love to hear if this review has made you curious enough to want to.
As always thank you so much for reading. Have a lovely Tuesday and week ahead.
Photo credits- Amazon Kindle