Monday, June 14, 2021

Discussion 2

We have not had our 1st discussion yet.  That will occur after our cohort does its escape room exercise next week.  The 2nd assigned discussion is to reflect on the first 3 chapters of the book Atomic Habits.

When I learned that we needed to read a book on habits for this course, I cringed.  I'm not against self-help books, but I do find they tend to do two things: First, they expound on the material to a nauseating level...  I presume for the added pages it creates - to either make the book look more impressive or to give more opportunity to cite their other works for you to buy.  Second, they aren't well-vetted and often conflict with other experts and/or practices. Then again, it wouldn't be worth buying the book if they just repeated what everyone else already wrote.  But it causes more FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in my eye.

Alright, so I began reading and found myself enticed to pay attention to the good example story of how the British cycling team went from poor-performing to powerhouses.  They did it by not trying to become the best "right now", but rather just by making microscopic improvements and letting those improvements compound into huge successes.  It did go on to deal with the known "plateau" that most of us experience when trying to make changes.  Not sure the ice turning to water example was an accurate one, but if it works for some - okay.  I do agree with the Plateau of Latent Potential graph.  I find it important enough to copy here.

The second chapter speaks to changes themselves.  Most look for specific outcomes (lose weight for example is one of mine), but a more important change is to your actual identity.  If you change who you are, then you in turn have changed your habits (process change), and in turn, can end up with the outcomes you desired.  I guess for me, if I want to be a doctor (non-medical of course - LOL), then I need to "BE" a doctor.  It isn't just an accomplishment signified by a piece of parchment.

The third chapter seems to be the "secret sauce" so far.  I know I need to create good habits and break bad ones.  I guess I just figured willpower is the best and longest-lasting option.  However, the author takes habits and breaks them into four steps.  Withing each of those four steps you can encourage or discourage a habit.  The author calls them the Four Laws of Behavior Change.  I'll repeat them here for quick reference for myself in the future:

How to Create a Good Habit

  1. Make it obvious
  2. Make it attractive
  3. Make it easy
  4. Make it satisfying

How to Break a Bad Habit

  1. Make it invisible
  2. Make it unattractive
  3. Make it difficult
  4. Make it unsatisfying
By repeatedly applying these principles, the goal is to make choices into unconscious habits.  I'll have to give them a whirl.

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.

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