At the beginning of this year, I listened to the audiobook version of Atomic Habits by James Clear. You may have heard of it, or even read it yourself – it’s sold millions of copies.
As the name of the book suggests, Clear believes that habits should be developed gradually, in tiny (atomic-like) increments. Rather than trying to force dramatic changes overnight (all those new year’s resolutions and ‘I’m never drinking again’ promises), we should instead focus on developing systems that allow us to make small steps forward, allowing our new habits to compound over time.
It’s a fantastic book, easy to read (or listen to), and I highly recommend it if you’re looking to break free from negative habits, and develop more positive ones.
I recently picked up the softback version, and began reading it. It’s prompted me to list 6 positive habits that I hope to be doing daily (or almost daily) by the end of 2022.
I’m looking to follow up with my progress, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on habit forming.
I journalled almost daily for around 2 years up until a few months ago. When I was in the flow of journaling, I gave myself only 2 rules for it: It had to be no more than one page, and I had to focus as much as possible on that day, and that day only. The idea behind this was that it would help me focus on what I’d been doing that day, rather than drift into reflection on the past or imaging the future.
Following James Clear’s suggestions in Atomic Habits, I’m going to aim to write a single sentence tonight at 9pm, so that I can begin to redevelop the habit of daily journaling.
I downloaded the Headspace app a couple of weeks ago and managed a 4 or 5 day streak. I felt so much better after just a few days of it. I’m hoping to be able to meditate at least 5 times per week.
People meditate for different reasons, and I personally prefer doing it just before bed. Journaling and meditating with the Headspace app just before bed will be a good way to clear and cleanse my mind, leading (hopefully) to a more rested night’s sleep.
I find physical exercise to be one of the best things for your mind. It doesn’t even have to be strenuous exercise. A decently paced walk for an hour. Or a 10 minute jog can be enough. I’ve got a small gym downstairs in my apartment, and I’m disappointed that I haven’t used it yet. I really want to get into the habit of exercising at least once per day.
I do have a goal of getting into better shape physically, so hopefully it can develop into that. But I’ll be happy as long as I can be making an effort to do at least one form of exercise daily.
One of my work-related skills is computer coding. It’s something I first learned during Lockdown, and it’s one of the best skills I’ve ever developed. I enjoyed doing it so much, and it gives me an incredible amount of satisfaction. But I’m not in the habit of doing it often enough lately, and that’s something I’m hoping to change.
My goal is to code for at least 20 minutes each day, ideally trying to learn new concepts as often as possible.
Having a maximum of 1 coffee per day (none after 11am)
Since moving into the city centre, my weekly coffee consumption has gone through the roof. I mean, it’s still a million times better than drinking alcohol, but I’m drinking so much of it that it’s beginning to send me into anxiety mode often now. And I’m often skipping breakfast and downing a coffee instead, which is leading to the 10-11am block at work feeling torturous.
I’ve found some lovely places for coffee nearby. And I’ve developed a particular appetite for vanilla macchiatos. But they should be a treat, not something I drink multiple times per day. Not to mention the cost of multiple coffees. I’d like to limit the number of caffeinated coffees I drink to one per day, and only go out for a coffee two or three times per week.
I absolutely adore reading. Especially non-fiction. I don’t read enough fiction, actually. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy still remain in the stack of books in the corner, unfinished. But I do read a lot already. Of the habits I’ve listed, reading is the one I currently have the best habit formed with. But I really want to solidify it into something I’m doing almost daily, or at least maintain the current amount of reading I do.
I’m looking forward to sharing my progress with these habits, and I’d love to hear from you and what habits you’re currently trying to develop (or break free from).