Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results
“Atomic Habits: How An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” book review
Habits, a term that sounds boring and tedious. But have you ever thought that these small tiny actions actually manipulate and shape up your daily life? As a firm believer in habits, I agree that habits can make our life easier.
This book gave you a lot of insights on how to build habits that last. Each chapter is short and also includes a summary at the end of it, so it is very easy to read and digest.
There are some concepts in this book I found interesting and relatable.
Never miss twice. It is inevitable we slip off due to urgent events. Also, as performance is not linear, there are ups and downs. Missing once does not mean failure and should not just give up everything because we fail once.
When I am snacking, my mind gave me a signal that I am missing the goal. I end up snacking a lot more because of this “I already ate, why not more” thought. This is exactly an all-or-nothing mindset, either I did not snack or keep snacking until my stomach can’t bear the food anymore.
I am still exploring methods to deal with it as I don’t really like the feeling of my stomach after snacking a lot. I am trying a method in the book called ‘habit stacking’ — “when I finish eating, I will put the bowls in the sink directly”, so I won’t have the chance to grab food again. Lets see if this works or not!
Missing once is accident, missing twice is the start of new habit
The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. When habits become routine, they become less interesting and satisfying. Like weight training, the only way to improve is progressive overload, which can be done by increasing reps, weights etc. It is not about changing exercises every now and then, but about mastering basic movements (eg squats, RDL, lunges) for muscle growth. Many people cannot bear the boredom and change their workout routines or even quit (and then a “get back on track day” lol), but you won’t succeed as mastery comes with repeating (habits) and deliberately practicing.
Here, I want to mention another element in weight training that makes me stick to the habit — the feeling of making progress. I made many small progress in training, for example, increasing barbell squat weight from 30kg to 35kg, improving form in RDL, managed to do Bulgarian squats… Don’t you ever mind these are just small improvements, Clear (The author) mentioned that to increase likelihood to do this activity again, you have to make the reward satisfying. The reward of weight training is the moment of making progress and this keeps me going.
Choose the habits that suit you. Habits are easier when they align with your natural abilities. This is very true. If you are not a morning person, there is no way to wake up at 6:00 am and feel sluggish the whole day. We all know finding a lifestyle that suits us and building habits around it, but how many of us really do it? Without following the trend?
I bet not much, take a look at the “that girl lifestyle” on Tiktok, many girls try to imitate the “perfect routine” which may not suit them, and end up getting even worse results. But they still follow it as they believe this is ‘right’.
There is no such right or wrong thing when building habits or lifestyles. Either it suits you or not. If you didn’t feel good exercising in the morning, switch it to afternoon! You don’t have to follow what others are doing, everyone has their own life, what suits others may not work for you. Don’t let online information blind you and decide your life.
Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it is the most important thing. Measurements are just a number, habit tracking is just a way to record. If they don’t help you in building habits (like me), then don’t use them.
Tracking calories does not help me at all in improving my health. I became crazy with the number and food-focused. I had a very bad relationship with food because of thinking about the calories all day. I stopped this immediately habit of weighting food and tracking calories, shift my focus on getting enough nutrients and eating more whole foods. My relationship with food improve once I remove this habit.
I would like to finish the review with a quote from the book.
Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound to remarkable result if you are willing to stick with them for years
If you want to build or get rid of a habit but don’t know where to start, I promise this book can give you some insights and ideas. Whether to make the habit attractive, easy, obvious, or make the reward satisfying, there are tons of methods inside and you will surely find some that fit you.