Habits hold the power to control your Life's trajectory once you learn how to wield them and apply them to your routines. Many of us are on autopilot at least a few times a day and get sucked into the old 'bad habits' cycles. This is why New Year's resolutions fail – people are controlled by their habits from a past self and are unsure of how to create a new habit for their future self.
If there was only one book that you were to read this year, Atomic Habits by James Seller has to be in the running. I read it a few months ago so I've had some time to let these new habits compound and its had a near immediate impact on my Life.
With all the emerging innovations, we get a little antsy for all the untapped potential waiting for us around the next corner and overlook the dormant potential within you. Habits can be used to nurture that potential. The main trick is figuring out how to apply them to your routines so that it automatically works you toward the person you strive to become without much conscious effort.
Every day our habits direct the little things in our lives whether we like it or not.
Recall Pavlov's dog conditioning experiment where every time he rang the bell, the dogs would start to salivate in response even if there wasn't any food. If he wanted to, Pavlov could retrain the dogs to follow a different command with that same bell. The dogs will eventually respond with the new command and they might still automatically drool too. The bell is a cue and the response is the habits that were built.
We all encounter our own personal cues every day and are conditioned by those cues to respond with the habits we've created. Bad habits work to control your actions while good habits work towards growth since your conditioned response can be productive.
The first step to create productive habits is understanding your own conditioning by reviewing and analyzing your week. What are some thing you do every day and what are the cues that launch routines. Once you recognize those cues, you can avoid them entirely or change your response to develop a new routine. After some time spent disciplining these new routines, you'll run them on autopilot.
You can use these habit-creating skills in any part of your Life, all it takes is a little creativity and planning. For me, the goal is the ability to make adjustments to those subconscious routines to build on the good habits created for my future self.
If you have the slightest interest in achieving a personal goal, I highly recommend Atomic Habits. It's an easy read with explanations and different strategies that could mesh well with various lifestyles. It's understandable why this book appears in so many people's “underrated” category as I cannot recommend it enough.
Ask yourself, who is it that you want to become?
Do something about it everyday so that those good habits compound and sooner or later that person you strive to be will potentiate.
Streamline yo timeline!