I listened, well am still listening to Rich Roll’s podcast with James Clear about his new book Atomic Habits. It’s a super long podcast, 2+ hours, which I personally love that length of interview, but the downside is that I have to listen in pieces.
There were quite a few gems in it so far, my favorite is when he talks about habits being a vote for the kind of person you want to be.
Your habits are the way that you embody a particular identity. So every morning that you make your bed you embody the habits, you embody the identity of an organized person- someone who’s clean. Every time you go to the gym, you embody the identity of someone who is fit. Every time you sit down to write a sentence or a page, you embody the identity of someone who’s a writer. And so in that sense habits are like, every action you take is kind of like a vote for the type of person that you believe that you are and as you take these actions you build up evidence of a particular identity and pretty soon your beliefs have something to like root themselves in.
Yes, I’m aware that speech in conversation is not as clear and professional sounding as the written form, but I still think it has value however imperfect it is.
I like this because it re-frames the way I think about changing my lifestyle, and changing my habits. Instead of making a long and daunting list of all the habits I want to implement, (been there done that and it doesn’t really work.) list the identities you really want to embody.
James Clear said another thing that helped me understand this concept better. He breaks down the difference between “motion” and “action.”
Action can actually deliver a result but motion is related to that but never will [get you to that result.] You know like going to the gym and talking to a personal trainer about signing up. That’s fine, that’s related to getting in shape, but it doesn’t matter how many times you talk to a personal trainer- you’re never gonna get in shape. Whereas like doing 10 squats that actually can do something. Talking to the trainers is motion doing squats is action.
It’s funny when I actually think about how many things I’ve done towards my goals that I considered as “Actions” but really they were only “Motions” that were making me feel more productive on a “lazy-budget.”
Here are my identities that I’d like to embody:
- I want to be a writer.
- I want to be a healthy role model for those around me.
- I want to be a better cook.
So instead of getting fast-food tonight, I cooked a quick and healthy dinner AND published a post about it on my wellness blog here.
Nothing was perfect, the dinner, the pot, the pictures, the blog post. But it was better than nothing. It was akin to those 10 squats. It was a vote for the person I want to be. That tastes delicious to me!