I must have misread the intentions of the professor. Up to now, I thought we were supposed to create journal entries on our choice of readings (I decided on them all). It appears that THIS is supposed to be the first real journal entry. The requirement is to identify and share specific new habits we think could benefit a doctoral student in the DScIT program. We can use Chapters 4-8 of the Atomic Habits book and other readings to help.
Having already posted my own reflections on the readings to date, I'll focus on the book and point out a couple of habits I think would apply to the program.
In Chapter 4, the author discusses how habits can be subconscious. This is both good and bad. The good is that we can benefit from good habits without expending mental effort. Examples in the book included how people were able to identify things such as a heart problem or incoming rockets by mere sight. In those cases, lives were saved. However, it can mean that things get missed when a habit goes bad. The Japanese train system was identified as an example of how they brought safety to the front / conscious level by forcing employees to point and speak out the steps of their activity to ensure everything was done right. As a pilot, I know this very well. We train to handle emergencies by habit, yet at the same time religiously use checklists and call out the steps to ensure we don't miss anything. For this assignment, a Habits Scorecard of daily studying routine may be a good idea to try.
- Read syllabus =
- Consume an energy drink +
- Read required material +
- Check emails -
- Check instant messages -
- Draft response outline =
- Complete assignment writing +
In Chapter 5, the author makes two points. First, habits are best done with a plan. As my father-in-law would say: "Plan your work. Then work your plan." I'm sure others have heard the famous "Failure to plan is planning for failure." Similar concepts. The second point is to identify things you already do in a day as matter of course. Then, attach your new habits to those activities. This helps to ensure you actually perform the task you wish to be a habit on a regular schedule. As a bonus, you can "stack" the habits by making the conclusion of one activity be the trigger for another.
- After eating dinner, read the syllabus
- After putting the kids to bed, read the material
- Before wife goes to sleep, read your writing to her for feedback
In Chapter 6, the author points out the importance of setting up your environment for success. By increasing the number of cues to perform an activity (habit), the more you will naturally want to do it. I really did like the cafeteria example in the book. To encourage more water intake, they placed water in more areas of the cafeteria. I don't know if placing my reading all over the home will help... but guess it can't hurt :-)
Chapter 7 is the counterpart to Chapter 6. Here, the topic is how to prevent triggering negative habits by removing the cues that as associated with them. So my bag of Oreos on the corner of my desk is a bad idea if I want to lose weight. And here I was using it as motivation to complete this assignment.
While Chapters 6 and 7 revolve around the first step in habits (see my prior journal entry on Chapter 3), Chapter 8 works on the second: attractiveness. First comment: I died laughing reading about how the greylag goose would try to roll anything round back into their nest - including a volleyball! Second comment: This section was full of what ails me in regards to food... I love food! It is because companies have done their best to trigger our built-in habits. So, the takeaway here is to combine something we need to do with something we want to do. This way we are piggybacking our dopamine response from the thing we wanted to do atop what we need to do. So perhaps combine writing assignments with listening to our favorite music (within reason)?
Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (34th ed.). Avery an Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.