Hello Merritt friends! Last month I shared five key takeaways from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. Before I share five more takeaways, I’d like to tell you from personal experience that the concepts in this book really work. There’s no “magic” to them – they are largely common sense, and we still have to commit to the work. But sometimes we need someone to say something in different words, or to provide a different framework. Many words and concepts from this book have echoed in my mind over the past few months, and I’ve noticed massive shifts in my thoughts and habits – to the point that this way of thinking has become much more automatic for me. And while that’s not necessarily magic, it is pretty magical.
While many reading this blog are pursuing goals related to health and physical fitness, the principles apply every bit as much to the other areas of wellness – emotional, relational, spiritual, vocational, and intellectual. Where do you need to “up level?” What are the daily habits that will help you become the person you desire to be?
So with those thoughts in mind, here are five more takeaways from the book. I hope that if you have been on the fence or struggling to find motivation to stick to a healthy habit, some of these words will inspire you to take that first step towards going “all in.” The rewards are waiting for you on the other side, and all along the way as well.
- “The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows.”
Successful people rebound quickly. If you miss once, just tell yourself you will never miss twice. Simply show up, pick up where you left off, and begin a new streak. And don’t focus on how inspired you feel. Inspiration comes and goes. Make the decision that you will show up and give it your best that day, period.
- “When we choose the wrong measurement, we get the wrong behavior.”
Don’t focus on how much you weigh, how much you can bench, or what size dress you wear. Those are just pieces of feedback, not the whole picture. Focus on becoming the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts, the type of person who eats for long-term health, the type of person who honors and loves their body. Measure yourself by the person you are becoming, and the right behaviors will follow. Also, never undervalue intangibles. The way you feel, the example you are setting – these matter way more than a number on any scale.
- “…successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.”
Clear says that the greatest threat to success is not failure, but boredom. This is why people jump from one fad or program to the next. To be successful, you need to expect, push through, and even embrace boredom. Recognize that your daily rituals will not always be exciting or pleasant. “But stepping up when it's annoying or painful or draining to do so, that's what makes the difference…”
- “It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop.”
“Reward is on the other side of sacrifice.”
“The runner’s high only comes after the hard run.”
You don’t notice that you are stronger, faster, fitter in a noticeable way from the start. But over time, the work you put in compounds, and you start to notice that you have more energy…your clothes feel better…you have definition in your arms…you feel more confident. Just don’t stop. The reward will come.
- “Your actions reveal how badly you want something. If you keep saying something is a priority but you never act on it, then you don’t really want it. It’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself.”
Ask yourself if your goals really feel authentic and genuine. If not, maybe you need to adjust your goal to something that’s more suited to who you are. Also ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal. Have you thought through the impact this will have on your present life, your relationships, your future self? When you create a burning desire fueled by a compelling why, actions follow. Try not to wait until a health scare is your compelling why. Dig down deep and figure out what’s blocking you from taking action today.
In the words of Clear himself, “A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination. Making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be. Success is the product of daily habits - not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.” I couldn’t say it better myself.
Alison is one of Merritt Clubs’ Health and Life Coaches. If you would like to schedule a session with Alison or are interested in additional information about our Nutrition & Wellness services, please reach out to Sherri Lively at firstname.lastname@example.org.