Listened CM 131: James Clear on Making and Breaking Habits

Whether we want to adopt good habits or avoid bad ones, we need to think beyond willpower or setting bigger goals. Instead, James Clear, author of the book, Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones, argues that the secret is designing a system of small, repeatable habits. He challenges us to ask ourselves, “How can we make these small changes that we layer on top of each other – these little 1% improvements or tiny advantages – and in the process of integrating them all into a larger system, end up making some really remarkable progress?”

Through compelling stories and brain research, James teaches us how to design game-changing habits and sustainable systems. In addition, he shares ways we can leverage environmental factors and addictive tendencies to our advantage. Finally, he helps us see how a commitment to daily habits leads to the identity we seek: “Every action you take is like a vote for the person that you want to become. Doing one push up or writing one sentence or reading one page, it’s not going to transform you right away. But it does cast a vote for being that kind of person, for reinforcing that kind of identity.”

James Clear talks with Gayle Allen about his new book Atomic Habits. Some of the take-aways from the conversation were:

  • The most important aspect to behaviour change is identity
  • Four stages to a habit: Cue, craving, response, reward/outcome
  • A high level framework involves making habits obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying. If you are trying to break a habit, then invert this.
  • If you want a habit to be a part of your life, make it a part of your environment.
  • We need habits of action, rather than motion. This is about showing up.

I think that this book would have a lot of implications for education and change.

Listened CM 115: Steven Johnson on Making Decisions that Matter the Most from Curious Minds Podcast

What if you could make better decisions? Even with the biggest, life-altering choices, such as where to live, who to marry, or whether to start a company?

Steven Johnson, author of the book, Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions that Matter the Most, thinks we often face decisions like this with little to no training and that we could use more tools in our decision-making toolbox.

I am always captivated by Steven Johnson’s work. In his discussion with Gayle Allen he provides a number of tips and reflections the act of making a decision.
Listened CM 095: Olivia Cabane and Judah Pollack on Breakthrough Thinking from Curious Minds Podcast

Breakthroughs can take our work to new and exciting places, yet they rarely happen as often as we’d like. Are there ways to prompt these kinds of moments, so we can create them more often? Olivia Fox Cabane and Judah Pollack tell us how in their book, The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking.

There are four four types of breakthroughs: Eureka, Metaphor, Intuitive and Paradigm. Just as we build up resistance at a gym, Olivia Cabane and Judah Pollack talk about taking time to extend our neuroplasticity by breaking with our usual practices and embrace all the parts of the self. Three *super-tools* the authors talk about to support this include gratitude, altruism and meditation. In some ways this touches upon Doug Belshaw’s idea of [serendipity surface](http://discours.es/2016/increasing-your-serendipity-surface).