Why is it so hard for us to make healthy lifestyle changes – even when we have the knowledge to do better?
Most of us have a list of things we would like to change. Maybe you’d like to lose thirty pounds, or be able to do fifty pushups, or run a marathon. But each of these comes with a long list of associated behaviors – many of which aren’t intrinsically rewarding – that are required to achieve and maintain these goals. It’s no wonder the statistics on weight loss are so underwhelming.
On this episode of humanOS Radio, I talk with James Clear. James is an author and entrepreneur who is focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Time magazine, and other major media outlets.
In his latest book, “Atomic Habits,” James draws upon a wide array of evidence from psychology, biology, and cognitive neuroscience to construct a guide for building and reinforcing good habits and abolishing bad habits.
So what do I mean by habits? James defines habits as behaviors that are repeated enough times to be nearly automatic, and not demanding your cognitive effort or willpower. Like brushing your teeth, or heading to the gym at 5:00pm every day, or eating a smoothie every day for breakfast. These automatic processes, which are mostly mundane things that we take for granted, are actually foundational to all of our goals.
The problem, of course, is that we generally don’t see the immediate payoff for any of these behaviors. You don’t drop twenty pounds just switching from regular to diet soda one time. It is only after you’ve committed to these behaviors for a while – after your efforts have compounded – that we start to see the difference. That is why we need to develop a system to assess our current habits and build better ones. This is where “Atomic Habits” comes into play. Check out the interview to learn more!