I’ve just started reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and just in chapter one there’s some nuggets of gold that I feel compelled to share.
Changing your habits and mindset is the biggest part of weight loss for most people.
We know what to do, but bad habits get in the way and good ones are hard to form.
If that sounds like you, I’d definitely recommend this book.
Here’s a few tips and lessons from chapter 1:
The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits.
As Aristotle once said…
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not a habit, but an act’.
If we want an excellent life, we need to build some excellent habits that will take us there.
Keep practicing the same habits, and you’ll keep getting the same results.
By learning and implementing better habits, you can get to where you want to be, and keep the results for life.
Small habits make a big difference
We tend to believe that life-changing success requires massive large-scale action.
But usually, small improvements on a daily basis will do a much better job.
A 1% improvement every day compounds to an enormous amount of positive change when added up over weeks, months and years.
And what’s most important is that because it’s not earth-shattering, it’s sustainable.
Making small changes allows you to master new habits one step at a time. It helps you to feel in control while doing so, and builds your confidence that you can make this work for good.
It doesn’t matter how successful or unsuccessful you are right now.
What matters is whether your habits are putting you on the path to success.
If you’re taking positive steps forward and building consistency, you can feel very confident that great things are coming your way.
Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.
Be far more concerned with the daily actions you’re taking than with the results you currently see.
‘Once I reach X goal, THEN I’ll be happy’.
This is the goal trap. We keep putting off happiness until we reach a certain milestone and feel we deserve it.
We can become so fixated on achieving that goal that we stress ourselves out when it’s not coming quick enough, self-sabotage, slide backwards, and end up caught in a vicious cycle where we never get to feel happy with ourselves.
We create our own pressure to either achieve the goal or otherwise be a failure.
But… when you stop fixating on the outcome and focus on enjoying the process…
You can relax and be happy along the way. You don’t have to wait for permission to feel good.
Any time you’re following the plan and taking positive action, you are winning.
Focus on systems, not goals.
Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems and habits are what you need for success.
Any diet can create weight loss, but it needs to help you build sustainable habits if you want to keep the weight off for good.
To make change last, look at the systems, habits and routines you do every day.
What daily actions will you need to take to get to where you want to be?
Focus on building or improving those, and the results will come.
We all expect progress to happen faster than it actually does.
In the beginning and middle stages of any weight loss journey, we often feel like we should be seeing results a lot quicker than they show up.
‘I’ve been eating healthy and exercising for a whole month and I’ve only lost 4lbs! What’s the point?!’
(4lbs in a month is fantastic by the way – even no weight loss progress is great if you’ve been building healthier habits – results will come with patience, just don’t give up).
It’s frustrating to put in so much effort for little apparent return, but remember this:
First, it took longer than a few weeks to gain the weight in the first place, so it’s going to take more than a few weeks to lose it.
Second, people with rapid transformations that you see online are highly unlikely to still look that way a few months later. Real, lasting, sustainable change takes a lot more time than that.
Third, when you work hard and don’t yet see any reward, your work isn’t being wasted. It’s just being stored up. As long as you keep going, you reach a tipping point, and suddenly things start to happen.
The most important thing to remember – keep focusing on building healthy habits and enjoying the process, and don’t give up.
Progress is coming.