How does balance in my life create opportunity?
This was our driving question for our first PGP 10 (Careers) project of the year, this entire project was somewhat related to one of our later in the year Maker 9 projects. In Maker 9 we read this self improvement book all about mindset and habits called The 7 Habits of Highly Effective teens. This book stuck with me maybe it was how the author wrote the book so it’s easy to understand from a teenagers perspective or maybe it was because I don’t read that much and this book was wildly different then anything I’ve read before, whatever it was this was a great introduction into our work into habits and mindset with PLP. Now that we are in PGP 10 we read Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results, by James Clear.
Before diving into the book, we had a few tasks to complete. Our introduction into this project involved viewing a TED talk called The Happiness Advantage, presented by Shawn Achor, which explores the correlation between a positive attitude and improved job performance, among other benefits. I must admit that I didn’t particularly enjoy this talk and my opinion of it diminished with each viewing. Nonetheless, we ended up watching it four or five times, during which we were assigned a group exercise to discuss our notes and come up with a unified concept. While I can’t say that I learned something new each time, the video did leave a lasting impression on me.
This speaker throughly explains how there are 5 different things we can do to enter a positive mindset: Exercise, Journaling, Meditation, Gratitude, and Random Acts of Kindness. This perfectly ties into the next part of the project we would be doing, our next task was Positive Brain Training: Using these 5 practices to build habits of productive mindsets. We started to spend the start of each class practicing and focusing on one of these 5 things for example for exercise we would talk about the exercising we had done that week, how we felt after and how could we fit in a bit more exercise.
One more thing start of every single class was dedicating the classes learning. Someone would volunteer to dedicate our learning to someone they look up to or admire and we were supposed to see how they can teach us and change our learning. I regret not volunteering to dedicate our class at all as my mind always blanked whenever it was time to volunteer, but I now realize that public speaking and stepping up in front of the class is something I can work on.
After all that it was now time to finally read Atomic Habits. Right away the book was intriguing to me and the author was very good with giving detailed relatable examples to show his points this got me very involved in the book and I often found myself getting lost reading it which hasn’t happened in a minute. I set my self a goal of reading at least 15 minutes a day and checking off each chapter and law as I went through the book, this was honestly a very generous goal as I’m quite a fast reader and I knew I would complete the book before the deadline. I also made sure to highlight important parts of the book and record them in a Craft PKM (Personal Knowledge Manager).
This book was separated into 4 laws of Behavioural Change:
- Make it Obvious
- Make it Attractive
- Make it Easy
- Make it Satisfying
Each of these laws were incredibly important to make a habit doable, rewarding and easy to add to your day-to-day schedule. I’ll now go a lot more in-depth into my findings and summaries of each law.
1. Make it obvious
You can use visual cues, like leaving a water bottle on your desk as a reminder to drink more water. To start making your habits more obvious, youcan also make a detailed plan for the habit’s place and time, like deciding to go to the gym every morning during for an hour of exercise.
Adding new habits to routines you already follow, such as Keeping a book by your bedside to read before you go to sleep
Sharing your habit goals with others can help you feel more responsible. This is known as social accountability.
Social accountability involves sharing your habit goals with others to create a sense of accountability and motivation. By making a commitment to someone else, you increase the social pressure to follow through with your habit, making it more visible in your daily routine. This can provide support, encouragement, and feedback to help you stay on track and reach your habit goals.
2. Make it attractive
Making your habit more enjoyable and interesting will encourage you to practise it more frequently, which is the second law of behaviour change. It’s likr to adding your favourite seasoning to a food you don’t like to try to make it taste good. You’re more likely to stick with your habit if you associate it with positive emotions and memories. Finding fun routines or ways to emphasise how good it feels to practise your habit can help you make it more enjoyable.
Using temptation bundling to make your habit more appealing is one method. This involves combining a needed habit with an enjoyable habit. If you enjoy listening to music, for example, you can only listen to your favourite playlist while working out. By associating the needed habit with something you enjoy, you will begin to associate the habit with enjoyment. This can help you stick to your habit because the good feelings you get from doing it will motivate you.
3. Make it easy
Law 3 is all about making your habit easy to do. The goal is to reduce the amount of mental effort and willpower needed to do the habit so that it becomes a natural part of your routine. You can do this by breaking your habit down into smaller, simpler steps or by getting rid of any obstacles that might make it hard to perform. This way, you build momentum and gradually increase the difficulty of the habit over time.
Another way to make your habit easy is by making it enjoyable. If you like doing something, you’re more likely to keep doing it in the long run. So, try to make your habit fun by finding ways to enjoy it or by combining it with activities you already like doing. For example, if you want to exercise more, you can try doing it with friends or listening to music while you work out. By making your habit enjoyable, you’ll make it easier to stick with it over time.
4. Make it satisfying
Law 4 is all about making your habits fun and rewarding. The idea is to make your brain crave the habit by associating it with a positive feeling or outcome. You can do this by tracking your progress and celebrating small wins along the way. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier, you can give yourself some props for eating a home cooked meal instead of fast food.
Another way to make your habit satisfying is to find ways to reward yourself after completing it. This could be something like treating yourself to a movie or a night out with friends. By making your habits enjoyable, you create a positive feedback loop that reinforces the behaviour and makes it more likely that you’ll keep doing it. Overall, the fourth law is about finding ways to make your habits fun and rewarding, so that you’re motivated to stick with them over the long term.
How can I add this to my own life and how can I answer the Driving Question?
Using the methods taught in Atomic Habits, you can build habits to manage different aspects of your life. For example, personally, I want to improve and be the best I can be at basketball but instead of looking at the end goal look at the process, How can I improve at basketball? What do I need to do? After reading this book I instantly thought about how can I use these 4 laws to my advantage with my goal, let’s take the goal of getting an on-court workout every day. I can use the make it Obvious law by putting my basketball gear on my desk so I see it as soon I get up to remind me to get this workout done and over with. I can use the make it Attractive law by making my workouts more fun by working with a friend or teammate and getting some live play like 1on1s or 5on5s after. I can use the make it Easy law by reminding myself why I play basketball and why it’s so much fun to me, if I know what I’m playing for it gives me so much more enjoyment and motivation. And finally, I can use the make it Satisfying law by writing and journaling about my daily workouts and how I felt about them in a daily logbook, it satisfies me to see my streak of this habit go up and how far I’ve gone. You can build habits that can make you more efficient in your everyday tasks. This removes excess stress that can cause poor mental health and wasted time. These 2 benefits can lead to better job performance, relationships, and growth as a person. These are the opportunities that come with using habits to balance your life.
Thanks for reading ,