How to Create Atomic Habits
This week, I’m sharing all things about how to create atomic habits which were inspired by a recent book I read, Atomic Habits by James Clear. It is such a great book and highly recommends.
Here are key things to note when it comes to habits in general:
Small habits made a big difference. Search for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Instead of believing that to transform yourself into this completely different person, focus on what it is that you can do every single day. Whether it is by an inch or a mile, the most important part is that you're moving forward.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. That's why overnight successes are the exception, not the rule. It takes time to build a business but it is what you do every single day that is going to help you arrive at your destination. Most people don't have the patience of transformation because the daily pace is slow.
If you put off emailing potential clients, or skip a blog post, or eat a bad meal once, the impact is hardly noticeable. A single decision is easy to dismiss. But it is the repeating of the error, day after day. Procrastinating on writing that blog post, never reaching out to potential clients, consuming a bad meal, is what eventually leads to the problem.
A plane that takes off from LA, with the final destination, adjusts its heading by only 3.5 degrees south, it will end up in Washington DC, not NY, just by ONLY 3.5-degree difference.
Think about your daily habits and how they can guide your life. What if you made a slight change for improvement, how that would impact your destination in life in just 6 months, a year? For the better.
Your outcomes and where you're at in life, are a lagging measure of your habits.
What creates success?
It is your systems, not your goals. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Two people could have the very same goal but what is the difference between the person who achieves her goals and the one that doesn't? It is her systems. Her constraints, her daily habits, how she does things and doesn't do things. Money is an outcome but what is that you must do every day to grow your business? Where is your focus?
A goal only changes your life for the moment. What you really must change are the systems that cause the results you want.
If you're a salesperson and you have a revenue goal, your daily habit might be focused on making 30 calls a day because you know that by getting on the phone and creating the habit of calling, it will lead to your sales goal. The 30 calls a day is your system.
If you're an online business owner, focusing on your online funnel and how many leads your generating each day may be your focus. Because you know that for every 25 leads you to get 3 ends up buying your $1,000 product. So the question is, how do you build a system in place that gets you more qualified leads every day.
If to grow your brand and awareness through Instagram is a goal, then what is the daily habit/system you want to create? Maybe it is posting 2X a day, doing 1 IGTV every other day.
When you chose to focus on the system vs the outcome/the goal, you learn to fall in love with the process. You also become more focused on the process and progress you make along the way vs whether or not you're going to make your goal. When you focus on the input, the output takes care of itself. Your commitment to the process will determine your progress.
Creating systems requires you to be a certain person, a certain identity. I talked about identify shifts in a previous episode: How to Operate from Your Vision, Not to It.
How to Build Better Habits:
First, know that as habits are created, the level of activity in your brain decreases, because over time, your habits become automatic and you know longer have to think about doing them, you just become that person that does. Habits are mental shortcuts learned from experience. This is why I'm a massive fan of creating processes in a business, automating and outsourcing as much as possible, to reserve brain power for what is important.
How habits work:
Cue - The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior
Craving - They are the motivational force behind a habit
Response - The actual habit you perform
Reward - The end goal of every habit
Your habits are shaped by the systems in your life. Systems include the constraints you create, like what you say YES to and what you say NO to. What days of the week you do what type of work when you take calls. If someone asks to have a phone with you, you don't have to think about which day you want to do it on, you already know because you set that rule up ahead of time. Systems also include rules and what you eliminate.
So here are your marching orders:
I want you to start small, before thinking about habits you can create, first start with what can you eliminate, stop doing, what can you declutter?
Example, if you notice that you always have the best intentions to work on your business after work but somehow you get distracted and nothing gets done. Consider why you think that? Maybe instead of working you find yourself cleaning up your house, loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, telling yourself, once the place is clean, then I'll get to work. This scenario is extremely common when you work from home too. I know this because this was me. If my environment is a mess, I find it hard to focus. I was then spending precious energy cleaning before I'd get to work. So I placed a rule that every night before bed, my apartment is clean, including my office, dishes put away, counters wiped down, everything. I also placed a constraint that the only time I'd do laundry is either during the evenings or on the weekends, not doing the workday. Also, consider why your place is always a mess? Who is the person you're identifying with and what systems can you put in place so that your place is always clean?
But maybe your place is clean when you get home but it is being in the physical of the environment of your home that makes it unmotivating, so instead, afterword, you go straight to a coffee shop for 2 hours.
If you find yourself getting distracted by reality TV, cut the cord, cancel your subscription. Make it impossible or difficult for you to watch it. Handfull of years ago, I was reintroduced to cable. We had to have it in our apartment building. Every unit was required to pay for it. My productivity took a nosedive. Why? Because I started watching all the reality shows on Bravo....and what I noticed started happening is that I started to care less about the show itself and more about crossing off that I watched a show and completed it because I don't like things undone.
Next, what rules and constraints can you create in your life?
Some ideas/places you can start - decide which day you're going to do certain tasks like content creation, client work, lead gen. Decide which days you're going to take phone calls if any. About a year ago, I put a rule in my schedule that I no longer do coffee meetups, and only Zoom calls if necessary but the Zoom call can't be more than 20 minutes and I have to be able to see the value of the call.
Decide where you're going to work from and where.
Decide ahead of time what you're not going to do.
Lastly, always ask yourself the question, "What systems can I put in place that will help me achieve my goal?" You'll need to work backward from your goal but let's say it is to replace your corporate income and quit your job in 6 months. To do that, you must start making money. This requires you to land and keep clients. Also, it requires you to carve out time on your schedule and schedule block. What daily habits and systems will you need to help you achieve your goal?
If you enjoyed today’s blog post, I highly recommend checking out James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits!