Dear Fellow Reader,
Like many, I start the new year off with thoughts of changes. It is a fresh start and I think of things I can do to make my new year better. Yes, resolutions can be part of this but every year they talk on the news shows about how fast people give up on their resolutions. According to Inc Magazine, * approximately 80 percent of people have dropped their resolution by the second week of February but there is also some research that indicates the most drop out by January 19th .
Those do not seem like good odds. Also, I don’t know about you, but I am not good with goals. I can set them just fine, but I don’t keep them. I want to but there is something in my brain that just stops me every time.
I decided that instead of making goals or resolutions that I would try and make some new habits. Better habits seemed far more within my range. Also, I decided that I would find out a bit more about habits so that I could improve my chances of being successful. How much do I know about starting a new habit? I would just say that you determine your habit and then set aside a time to do it every day. Something like that…
BUT, being a reader, I decided that I could find out more. Which is where we are this week. If you are interested in starting or improving some habits, I have two book suggestions for you. One of the books that originally brought habits to my mind is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. I read this book many years ago and thought it was great. I probably should have gone back and re-read that book, but it seemed to me that while I loved the examples and stories in the book, I didn’t come away knowing how to get myself to make new habits. Fresh eyes might have changed that feeling but quite frankly, I didn’t think of it.
I did read about a new book titled, Atomic Habits by James Clear. The review was positive and I was interested to see what he had to say. There was a long line for the book at the library, so it took a while to get it. In the meantime, I found that one of my favorite self-help authors has a new book entitled Badass Habits. While I waited for Atomic Habits, I picked up Badass Habits.
Badass Habits by Jen Sincero is a follow up to her book You Are a Badass? What I would tell you about Ms Sincero’s books is that they are casual. As you might’ve understood from the title. But I have found them to be very interesting and they make sense to me.
“Most habits score woefully low in the immediate gratification department… most habits take a while to produce the desired results, which makes them more difficult to stick with because we humans love us some payoff.”
What I really like about the book is that Ms Sincero takes you through the process of setting a new habit and then takes you through – one day at a time – for the first 21 days of habit keeping. Yes, she gives you something to do every day for 21 days to enforce and perhaps refine your new habit. I like that re-enforcement. She also wants you to have a notebook with you when you read so that you can do some exercises to help re-enforce points as they apply to your habit.
Ms. Sincero is a big believer in using mantras or affirmations to help you achieve your goals. If you think this is silly, this book won’t work for you. But if you have never tried it, I suggest you might open up and try. You might find them helpful.
The second habit book I read was Atomic Habits by James Clear. I don’t think I had any idea what an atomic habit was when I started the book. It sounds like a big thing doesn’t it? No, it is the opposite.
“Habits are the atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement. At first, these tiny routines seem insignificant but soon they build on each other and fuel bigger wins that multiply to a degree that far outweighs the cost of their initial investment. They are both small and mighty. This is the meaning of the phrase atomic habits – a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do, but also the source of incredible power a component of the system of compound growth.”
Mr. Clear talks about the compounding effect of positive and negative habits. He states that if you can get 1 percent better every day, then you will improve by 37 percent after one year. And that if you keep a bad habit that it will get worse over time. To explain this, he gives interesting real-life examples of small changes that were made and how much improvement was gained. He explains the 4 Laws of Behavior Change which are cue, craving, response, and reward. He has a section to explain each of the laws and has a summary at the end of each section. The book is clear and gives very interesting examples from the real world.
Are you wondering if I would pick one book over the other? No, I wouldn’t. They each have excellent points. And they do agree with one another on the theories, although they say things in very different ways. I found myself reading Atomic Habits nodding and thinking the Ms. Sincero said that same thing. I liked the more detailed explanations and chapter summaries in Atomic Habits but I think there is great benefit to the 21 days of re-enforcement in Badass Habits.
Only time will tell but I am working on some new habits. You might want to consider these books if your resolutions are gone with the wind but you have some life changes you wish to make.
Thanks for reading!