Every action and decision that you make has an impact.
In five, ten, twenty or so years from now, who will you be? What will you be doing? Where will you reside? All of these questions can be answered by looking at what you do in the now. Being only a few weeks into 2021, it is a good time to create good habits and work slowly towards the change you want.
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a phenomenal book that stresses the importance of building good habits while completely removing the bad ones. Clear’s ideas are derived from biology, psychology and neuroscience. It all starts with creating a good system and maintaining discipline. Throw the idea that you need motivation to start because while you are waiting for that to arrive, someone doing the exact same thing as you, who didn’t wait, is now ahead of you.
Clear presents his readers with how to build better habits using four laws, and inverting each law to show how bad habits can be destroyed. To create a good habit, you have to make it obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying. In order to break a bad habit, you have to make it invisible, unattractive, difficult and unsatisfying.
To illustrate the laws, think of the fable of the hare and the tortoise.
There was a big race, everyone knew who had the advantage and thought the outcome was assured. However, we all know how the story ends — and if you think it’s the hare, you are gravely mistaken. Everyone that doubted and laughed at the tortoise before, including the hare, was dumbfounded.
So how did it happen?
It’s simple. The tortoise knew their goal and did not stop to miss a single step until they reached the finish line.
A similar plot line can be found in Clear’s book as he explains how small habits make a difference. In mathematical terms, he explains that “if you can get one per cent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.”
“If you get one per cent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero,” he followed.
Like the hare, we all have moments where we become obsessed with instant gratification, results and winning. When something good happens, we feel good about ourselves and perhaps even broadcast the news to the closest available ear. When something disappointing happens, we are defeated and sweep it under the rug, hoping that nobody else will notice our slip-up.
On the other hand, the tortoise took on the challenge, stayed on the path and never stopped until they arrived at their destination.
In the course of life, we will have to face trials. Sometimes we make mistakes. We may even make more than we should. In all of the chaos, we fail to realize that if we take a step back and address what is causing those mistakes before moving forward.
In Clear’s TedTalk, he said “The actions you take provide evidence for who you are.”
So who do you want to be?
The world will not abide by your desires and needs. Transform yourself and your perspective. Remember that nothing will change if you do not change.
In the midst of a pandemic, do not forget that we are still students, workers, friends, parents and partners. Despite the daily mayhem, continue doing and working on what is important to you. Do not allow the ambiguity and unpredictability of tomorrow to be an excuse that deters you from your vision. You are in control of your future.
Even if “normal” seems to be eons away, you must remember that what matters to you should always be at the forefront of your mind in order to take decisive action, progress and create tangible results.
Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor
Photo: Kristine Jones A. Del Socorro | Culture Editor