Atomic Habits – James Clear

I’m interested in reading Atomic Habits not only for my personal benefit but also to enhance my work as a physiotherapist. After 20 years in the field I can tell you being a physio is first and foremost about education and behavioural change – Your patient has an issue with their movement (A) and they desire to be rid of said issue (B), your expertise can help them go from A to B, it’s your job to teach them how and do so in the most straight forward path possible. Put another way, this means helping them quit habit A and adopt and sustain habit B.

My favourite aspect of this book is that James’ approach to habit is strongly rooted in psychology and neuroscience (two topics I’m vastly interested in) which not only tickled the nerd in me but also satisfies a health professional’s responsibility to practise evidence-based medicine.

Atomic Habits provides practical, step-by-step strategies to help you make new habits and break old ones. Oftentimes when people fail to make or break a habit they blame themselves harshly and give up. James shows you how to dissect your behaviour to pinpoint the weaknesses in your approach; identify where changes are needed, and how best to implement changes in small, measured dose that will strengthen your self belief towards your own success.

What stand James’ approach apart from most other habit experts is the foundation with which he believes habits are built upon. Instead of trying to do things differently, he proposes that you become the person whose values align with the desired action – your values ensure that the behaviour that reflects the values is inevitable. E.g. a person who values self care would naturally act in ways that supports self care, exercising is simply a manifestation of this belief rather than a dreaded chore.

On a personal level, this book helped me connect many widely-scattered dots and amalgamated observations and experiences with science and research, which was a most refreshing experience which will no doubt lead to more focused application once it has all been fully assimilated.

I’ve been an instant fan of James ever since I came across him in a podcast and after reading Atomic Habits, I’m fan-girling even harder! James sends a value-packed weekly newsletter filled with delicious food for thoughts, if you aren’t on his list already, do yourself a favour and head over to his website to sign up for it.

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