We all have habits; some good and some not. Habits are those almost unconscious behaviour patterns we have… so, how do we build better habits?
In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear identifies two types of habits; outcome-based and identity-based. Understanding the difference and reframing your mindset will help you adopt an atomic habits mindset and ensure your desired habits stick.
These are the habits that have a specific end point we’ll reach; where our focus is on the outcome. Outcome-based habits generally only last for the short-term; as soon as we’ve achieved that outcome, we’re likely to revert to our old ways. If we’re too focused on the outcome, we may give up when don’t see fast progress.
So, how do we ensure that our habits stick? We form identity-based habits.
These are the habits that become part of our identity. We determine which habits we want to adopt, then we change our identity to reflect those behaviours. In other words, what type of person do you need to become to make those habits part of your everyday life?
For example, if reading more is the outcome, you might have a goal to read 12 books during a 12 month period. This would be forming an outcome-based habit and when you’re done you’re likely to stop reading.
Instead, become the type of person who reads very regularly. Set a nightly phone reminder to read before bed and start small, 10 minutes even, and gradually increase. You’ll soon get through those 12 books and continue reading each night. Stacking the new habit to an existing one (i.e. going to bed) is a great way to build momentum.
James Clear defines the recipe for sustained success as a simple 2 step process:
- Decide the type of person you want to be.
- Prove it to yourself with small wins.
“The goal is not to achieve results at first, the goal is to become the type of person who can achieve those things.” – James Clear
You can find more information about Atomic Habits at jamesclear.com
Reach out if you need help adopting an atomic habits mindset!