November 1st – James Clear

Twenty years ago, I discovered the potential empowerment of self-help programs.  For me, finding an aged copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”, was life-changing.  It started me on a  quest to discover the wisdom and inspiration shared by the amazing and insightful individuals who work in this field.

What never fails to amaze me in discovering  a new brilliant concept,  is the total simplicity and truth at  the heart of it.    The ideas that these gurus relate are so obvious!  They shouldn’t be amazing and yet they ARE.

For the past eight and a half months, I have been sharing the progress of my health and wellness journey that I began in  mid February.  Most of what I have shared has been relative to my physical progress and the benefits that I have enjoyed.  This month, I decided to share some of the mental and emotional progress that I have made over the past couple of decades, and which has been accelerated and enhanced by the improvements to my physical health and well-being in the past few months.

My biggest challenge today was choosing the subject of my first blog on this topic.  There are so many and I love them all.  After much consideration, I decided to go with James Clear and his book “Atomic Habits”.

I am sure many people who read this are familiar with his work.  He is well known for his work with professional athletes and  entrepreneurs – helping them to develop good habits that will lead them to success in their field.

The inspiration for his program originated  from a devastating accident that he suffered on a baseball field when he was in highschool.   In working his way through his lengthy, difficult, and ultimately successful recovery, Clear discovered the remarkable results of building healthy habits. 

The concept in ‘Atomic Habits’ that grabbed my attention was Clears idea that habits are compound interest.   He noted that, if you make it a habit to improve 1% every day, you can improve +35% over the course of the year.   Likewise, if you engage in a poor habit and decline 1% every day, you can decline to virtually zero over the course of a year.     This works for virtually anything in life that you may want to improve on,  or anything that is gradually wearing away at the quality of your life.

Practicing one single good habit every day takes very little effort or determination, but over the course of days or months, it makes a huge difference.  Likewise practicing one single poor habit a day, may not have immediate noticeable results and the results may be easy to ignore from one day to the next, but over the course of days or months – the results will be all too obvious! Stacking good habits on good, or bad habits on bad – makes things incrementally better or worse.     

In his book, and through his program, Clear helps others to focus on their habits and  teaches techniques for developing good habits and breaking bad ones. 

From a young age, I was taught the importance of having goals.  From focusing on my habits – I have learned that my potential is beyond  any goal that I might set for myself – any goal, for improvement to my physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual wellbeing. 

Our habits, big or small, good or bad,  make a  major difference in how our lives play out.  We owe it to ourselves to deal with them – and fortunately I found James Clear to help me deal with mine. 

Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞

Habits

We all have habits that we have developed over the years. Much of what we do is so routine that we do it with little thought or even much effort. This can work for us, or against us.

For those of us embarking on our retirement, it would be reasonable to take a look at our everyday habits and decide which ones to keep, which ones to lose and which ones to create.

We have developed some good habits over the years, many of which would still serve us. Most of us have a morning routine that we follow – get up, make our bed, freshen up – just the basics that help us to prepare for the day ahead and to motivate us to feel ‘ready’. It worked in our working life, it will work in our retirement. There are other habits, that were good, but were tied to our work routine. These we will no doubt have to change to fit our new lifestyle. If we have a physically demanding occupation, that may have covered much of our exercise requirements. Now we will have to create a new workout routine to ensure our health and fitness. If we have a more mentally challenging career, we may have to add more mental stimulation to our daily routine, to keep our minds sharp as our home life rituals may have been more focused on the physical.

We all have habits that have never, and will never, serve us. This is an excellent time to make note of these and rid ourselves of them. These could include indulging in take-out or processed food on a regular basis, watching too much television, smoking – anything that is likewise just unhealthy and a waste of time and/or money.

Finally, this is a great time to focus on building new habits that will serve us during this phase of our lives. These might include starting a new exercise program, reading, cooking, socializing – just creating routines that are mentally. physically and emotionally stimulating and satisfying. Retirement can be some of the best years of our lives, but as always, it is up to us to make that happen.

It can be difficult making or breaking habits. I recently read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. This book was a complete game changer for me. It is an easy read full of helpful tips and advice that make sense. Personally, I believe anyone preparing to retire should read it. It was certainly worth my time and money.