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Atomic Habits Part 2

Hey guys! Welcome to part 2 of __? with the book Atomic Habits. I am slowly working my way through this book but nonetheless I am enjoying the tidbits I have picked up along the way. (Quick side note on me not reading this book quickly- I am really digging this fiction series about a game warden in Wyoming and I haven’t been able to put those books down long enough to finish this one.) There are a couple ideas I’ve come across that have been helpful for me.

In the last post, I talked about stacking habits on top of each other as one method to try when implementing a new habit. Here I want to talk about two things, Make It Easy and the Two-Minute Rule.

One of the reason it is difficult for us to build new habits is that we don’t make it easy enough to win. We have all heard a something like this, “it takes X number of days to build a habit”. In my mind that always made some sense although its rare you find two people who agree on how many days it takes. In Atomic Habits the author gives a new perspective that it’s not number of days that correlates with a new habit rather number of repetitions is what makes a habit stick. This is helpful because my mindset goes from, “That habit will be created if I can stick it out for a month”, to “How can I make sure I get a repetition every day with this habit”. This is freeing for me and allows me to only focus on the habit I want to form rather than when it will actually become part of what I do naturally.

So instead of adding something for a month and hoping it sticks I am getting reps every day with the habit I’m trying to form. Well, what if you’re trying to form a really difficult habit? Or something you have never done before? This is where the Two-Minute Rule becomes essential in turning this idea into a habit. The Two-Minute Rule says to start as small as possible and build up from there. The reason for this is we too easily commit to a very hard, often unreasonable practice, then get easily discouraged when we don’t live up. If instead we took that practice and broke it down to something we can start practicing in two minutes we have a better chance of winning consistently and building a long-lasting habit.

If we want to be a long-distance runner we shouldn’t start with trying to run 3-5 miles a day, 6 days a week. That sounds good but it’s hard to go from 0 to 100 like that. Instead, the first two weeks your Two-Minute Rule says to put on your running shoes and walk to the end of your street and back. At the end of those two weeks, you have 14 very easy reps at becoming a long-distance runner. Next, make a very easy addition to your daily walk, maybe you walk ten thousand steps throughout the day (a little harder than walking for ten minutes). Soon you will have a solid habit of lacing up your running shoes and walking every day, then adding a short run doesn’t seem so daunting. Play this method out until you are running the distances you want with the frequency you enjoy.

As you think through what habits you would like to add to your routine begin answering two questions. How will I work repetitions in every day? And, how will I break this habit down into very easy steps?

Comment below your thoughts on forming good habits, breaking bad ones, or what habit you would like to add to your routine.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.


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