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Messages - Rafiz Uddin

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    There are several studies and articles quoting either a 90 percent or 92 percent failure rate. I’ll go with the 81 percent failure rate, which comes from a research study by psychology professor John Norcross. He tracked the success rate of New Year’s resolutions over a two-year span.

    I think BJ Fogg's Tiny Habits program is great. I believe it is also free, so you can't beat the price.

    Quote from Tony Schwartz featured in the book, Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career

PROBLEM 5: Assuming Small Changes Don’t Add Up.

SOLUTION: Get one percent better each day.

If you listen to nearly anyone talk about their goals, you’ll hear them describe the minimum that they want to achieve.

    “I want to save at least $5,000 this year.”
    “I want to read at least 30 books this year.”
    “I want to lose at least 20 pounds before summer.”

The underlying assumption is that your achievements need to be big to make a difference. Because of this, we always talk ourselves into chasing a big habit. “If I want to lose at least 20 pounds, I need to start busting my butt and working out for 90 minutes a day!”

If you look at your current habits, however, you’ll see a different picture. Nearly every habit you have today, good or bad, is the result of many small choices made over time. It is the repeated pattern of small behaviors that leads to significant results. Each day we make the choice to become one percent better or one percent worse, but so often the choices are small enough that we miss them.

If you’re serious about building a new habit, then start with something small. Start with something you can stick with for good. Then, once you’ve repeated it enough times, you can worry about increasing the intensity.

Build the behavior first. Worry about the results later.

If you want more practical ideas for breaking bad habits and creating good habits, check out my book Atomic Habits, which will show you how small changes in habits can lead to remarkable results.

PROBLEM 4: Not Changing Your Environment

SOLUTION: Build an environment that promotes good habits.

I have never seen a person consistently stick to positive habits in a negative environment. You can frame this statement in many different ways:

    It is nearly impossible to eat healthy all of the time if you are constantly surrounded by unhealthy food.
    It is nearly impossible to remain positive all of the time if you are constantly surrounded by negative people.
    It is nearly impossible to focus on a single task if you are constantly bombarded with text messages, notifications, emails, questions, and other digital distractions.
    It is nearly impossible to not drink if you are constantly surrounded by alcohol.
    And so on.

We rarely admit it (or even realize it), but our behaviors are often a simple response to the environment we find ourselves in.

In fact, you can assume that the lifestyle you have today (all of your habits) is largely a product of the environment you live in each day. The single biggest change that will make a new habit easier is performing it in an environment that is designed to make that habit succeed. For example, let’s say that your New Year’s resolution is to reduce stress in your life and live in a more focused manner.

Here is the current situation:

Every morning, the alarm on your phone goes off. You pick up the phone, turn off the alarm, and immediately start checking email and social media. Before you have even made it out of bed, you are already thinking about a half dozen new emails. Maybe you’ve already responded to a few. You also browsed the latest updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so those messages and headlines are swimming around in your mind too. You haven’t even dressed yet, but your mind is already distracted and stressed.

If this scene sounds familiar and you want to change your habit, then the easiest way to do it is to change your environment. Don’t keep your phone in your room. The phone is the thing that causes all of the problems, so change the environment. Buy a regular alarm clock (shockingly old school, I know) and charge your phone in another room (or, at least, across the room away from your bed).

You can change the digital environment too. Turn off all push notifications on your phone. You can even remove your email and social media apps from the home screen and hide them somewhere else on the phone. I deleted all of my apps from my phone for a month just to see how it would go. I missed them very little.

If your environment doesn’t change, you probably won’t either.

Further reading: This Simple Equation Reveals How Habits Shape Your Health, Happiness, and Wealth

PROBLEM 3: Seeking a Result, Not a Ritual

SOLUTION: Focus on the behavior, not the outcome.

Nearly every conversation about goals and resolutions is focused on some type of result. What do you want to achieve? How much weight do you want to lose? How much money do you want to save? How many books do you want to read? How much less do you want to drink?

Naturally, we are outcome focused because we want our new behaviors to deliver new results.

Here’s the problem: New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is not an outcome, it is a process. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better rituals, not chasing better results.

Rituals are what turn behaviors into habits. In the words of Tony Schwartz, “A ritual is a highly precise behavior you do at a specific time so that it becomes automatic over time and no longer requires much conscious intention or energy.”

If you want a new habit, you have to fall in love with a new ritual.

Further reading: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

PROBLEM 2: Starting With a Habit That is Too Big

SOLUTION: As Leo Babauta says, “Make it so easy you can’t say no.”

If you were to map out the motivation needed to perform a habit, you would find that for many behaviors it looks like this:

habit motivation

In other words, the most difficult part of a new habit is starting the behavior. It takes a lot of motivation to head to the gym for a workout after an exhausting day at work, but once you actually begin the workout it doesn’t take much willpower to finish it. For this reason, one of the best things you can do for building a new behavior is to start with a remarkably small habit.

New habits should be non-threatening. Start with a behavior that is so small it seems easy and reasonable to do it each day.

    Want to do 50 pushups per day? Start with something easy like 5 or 10.
    Wish you would read more books? Start by reading two pages every night.
    Want to finally start meditating? Meditate for one minute each morning. After a month, you can move up to two minutes.

Further reading: How to Build a New Habit. This is Your Strategy Guide.

PROBLEM 1: Trying to Change Everything at Once

SOLUTION: Pick one thing and do it well.

The general consensus among behavior change researchers is that you should focus on changing a very small number of habits at the same time.

The highest number you’ll find is changing three habits at once and that suggestion comes from BJ Fogg at Stanford University. Let's be clear: Dr. Fogg is talking about incredibly tiny habits.

How tiny? Suggested habits include flossing one tooth, doing one pushup per day, or saying “It’s going to be a great day” when you get out of bed in the morning. So, even if you keep your new habits that small, you should work on no more than three habits at a time.

Personally, I prefer to focus on building one new behavior into my life at a time. Once that habit becomes routine, then I move on to the next one. For example, I spent six months focusing on going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Once that felt like a routine, then I moved on to my next habit, which was writing a new article every Monday and Thursday. This time, I spent eight months focusing on the new habit until it became part of my lifestyle. Next, I moved on to flossing every day. And so on. You get the idea.

BONUS SOLUTION: Pick a keystone habit.

Still struggling? When in doubt, pick something that could potentially be a keystone habit.

A keystone habit is a behavior or routine that naturally pulls the rest of your life in line. For example, weightlifting is my keystone habit. If I get to the gym, then it creates a ripple effect in other areas of my life. Not only do I get the benefits of working out, I enjoy a wide range of secondary benefits. I focus better after the workout. I tend to eat better when I’m working out consistently. I sleep better at night and wake up with more energy in the morning.

Notice that I didn’t try to build better habits for my focus, my nutrition, my sleep, or my energy. I just did my keystone habit and those other areas were improved as well. This is why keystone habits are powerful. They cascade into other areas of your life. You’ll have to figure out what your keystone habit is for you, but some popular examples include exercise, meditation, or budgeting your monthly finances.

Further reading: Keystone Habits: The Simple Way to Improve All Aspects of Your Life

Depending on where you get your numbers, somewhere between 81 percent and 92 percent of New Year's Resolutions fail.

Translation: At least 8 times out of 10, you are more likely to fall back into your old habits and patterns than you are to stick with a new behavior.

Behavior change is hard. No doubt about it.

Why is that? What are the biggest reasons new habits fail to stick? And what can we do to make positive changes easier?

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but after two years of researching and writing about the science of behavior change, let me share the most practical insights I’ve learned so far.

English / Re: The Chemistry of Building Better Habits by James Clear
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:19:24 PM »
The Chemistry of Building Better Habits

The fundamental principles of chemistry reveal some helpful strategies that we can use to build better habits.

    Every habit has an activation energy that is required to get started. The smaller the habit, the less energy you need to start.
    Catalysts lower the activation energy required to start a new habit. Optimizing your environment is the best way to do this in the real world. In the right environment, every habit is easier.
    Even simple habits often have intermediate steps. Eliminate the intermediate steps with the highest activation energy and your habits will be easier to accomplish.

And that’s the chemistry of building better habits.

If you want more practical ideas for breaking bad habits and creating good habits, check out my book Atomic Habits, which will show you how small changes in habits can lead to remarkable results.

English / Re: The Chemistry of Building Better Habits by James Clear
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:18:41 PM »
The Intermediate States of Human Behavior

Chemical reactions often have a reaction intermediate, which is like an in-between step that occurs before you can get to the final product. So, rather than going straight from A to B, you go from A to X to B. An intermediate step needs to occur before we go from starting to finishing.

There are all sorts of intermediate steps with habits as well.

Say you want to build the habit of working out. Well, this could involve intermediate steps like paying a gym membership, packing your gym bag in the morning, driving to the gym after work, exercising in front of other people, and so on.

Here’s the important part:

Each intermediate step has its own activation energy. When you’re struggling to stick with a new habit it can be important to examine each link in the chain and figure out which one is your sticking point. Put another way, which step has the activation energy that prevents the habit from happening?

Some intermediate steps might be easy for you. To continue our fitness example from above, you might not care about paying for a gym membership or packing your gym bag in the morning. However, you may find that driving to the gym after work is frustrating because you end up hitting more rush hour traffic. Or you may discover that you don’t enjoy working out in public with strangers.

Developing solutions that remove the intermediate steps and lower the overall activation energy required to perform your habit can increase your consistency in the long-run. For example, perhaps going to the gym in the morning would allow you to avoid rush hour traffic. Or maybe starting a home workout routine would be best since you could skip the traffic and avoid exercising in public. Without these two barriers, the two intermediate steps that were causing friction with your habit, it will be much easier to follow through.

This is lesson three: Examine your habits closely and see if you can eliminate the intermediate steps with the highest activation energy (i.e. the biggest sticking points).

English / Re: The Chemistry of Building Better Habits
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:16:47 PM »
Finding a Catalyst for Your Habits

Everyone is on the lookout for tactics and hacks that can make success easier. Chemists are no different. When it comes to dealing with chemical reactions, the one trick chemists have up their sleeves is to use what is known as a catalyst.

A catalyst is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction. Basically, a catalyst lowers the activation energy and makes it easier for a reaction to occur. The catalyst is not consumed by the reaction itself. It’s just there to make the reaction happen faster.

Here’s a visual example:

Habit catalyst (The Chemistry of Building Better Habits)

When it comes to building better habits, you also have a catalyst that you can use:

Your environment.

The most powerful catalyst for building better habits is environment design (what some researchers call choice architecture). The idea is simple: the environments where we live and work influence our behaviors, so how can we structure those environments to make good habits more likely and bad habits more difficult?

Here is an example of how your environment can act as a catalyst for your habits:

Imagine you are trying to build the habit of writing for 15 minutes each evening after work. A noisy environment with loud roommates, rambunctious children, or constant television noise in the background will require a high activation energy to stick with your habit. With so many distractions, it’s likely that you’ll fall off track with your writing habit at some point. Meanwhile, if you stepped into a quiet writing environment—like a desk at the local library—your surroundings suddenly become a catalyst for your behavior and make it easier for the habit to proceed.

Your environment can catalyze your habits in big and small ways. If you set your running shoes and workout clothes out the night before, you just lowered the activation energy required to go running the next morning. If you hire a meal service to deliver low-calorie meals to your door each week, you significantly lowered the activation energy required to lose weight. If you unplug your television and hide it in the closet, you just lowered the activation energy required to watch less television.

This is lesson two: The right environment is like a catalyst for your habits and it lowers the activation energy required to start a good habit.

English / Re: The Chemistry of Building Better Habits
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:14:04 PM »
The Disconnect Between Goals and Habits

Here’s a common problem that I’ve experienced when trying to build new habits:

It can be really easy to get motivated and hyped up about a big goal that you want to achieve. This big goal leads you to think that you need to revitalize and change your life with a new set of ambitious habits. In short, you get stuck dreaming about life-changing outcomes rather than making lifestyle improvements.

The problem is that big goals often require big activation energies. In the beginning, you might be able to find the energy to get started each day because you're motivated and excited about your new goal, but pretty soon (often within a few weeks) that motivation starts to fade and suddenly you’re lacking the energy you need to activate your habit each day.

This is lesson one: Smaller habits require smaller activation energies and that makes them more sustainable. The bigger the activation energy is for your habit, the more difficult it will be to remain consistent over the long-run. When you require a lot of energy to get started there are bound to be days when starting never happens.

English / Re: The Chemistry of Building Better Habits
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:13:36 PM »
The Activation Energy of Building Better Habits

Similar to how every chemical reaction has an activation energy, we can think of every habit or behavior as having an activation energy as well.

This is just a metaphor of course, but no matter what habit you are trying to build there is a certain amount of effort required to start the habit. In chemistry, the more difficult it is for a chemical reaction to occur, the bigger the activation energy. For habits, it’s the same story. The more difficult or complex a behavior, the higher the activation energy required to start it.

For example, sticking to the habit of doing 1 pushup per day requires very little energy to get started. Meanwhile, doing 100 pushups per day is a habit with a much higher activation energy. It's going to take more motivation, energy, and grit to start complex habits day after day.

English / The Chemistry of Building Better Habits by James Clear
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:13:21 PM »
There is a concept in chemistry known as activation energy.

Here’s how it works:

Activation energy is the minimum amount of energy that must be available for a chemical reaction to occur. Let's say you are holding a match and that you gently touch it to the striking strip on the side of the match box. Nothing will happen because the energy needed to activate a chemical reaction and spark a fire is not present.

However, if you strike the match against the strip with some force, then you create the friction and heat required to light the match on fire. The energy you added by striking the match was enough to reach the activation energy threshold and start the reaction.

Chemistry textbooks often explain activation energy with a chart like this:
It’s sort of like rolling a boulder up a hill. You have to add some extra energy to the equation to push the boulder to the top. Once you’ve reached the peak, however, the boulder will roll the rest of the way by itself. Similarly, chemical reactions require additional energy to get started and then proceed the rest of the way.

Alright, so activation energy is involved in chemical reactions all around us, but how is this useful and practical for our everyday lives and building better habits?

English / Re: Creativity Is a Process, Not an Event
« on: February 27, 2020, 02:12:18 PM »
Final Thoughts on Creative Thinking

Creativity is a process, not an event. It's not just a eureka moment. You have to work through mental barriers and internal blocks. You have to commit to practicing your craft deliberately. And you have to stick with the process for years, perhaps even decades like Newton did, in order to see your creative genius blossom.

The ideas in this article offer a variety approaches on how to be more creative. If you’re looking for additional practical strategies on how to improve your creativity habits, then read my free guide called Mastering Creativity.

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