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Improve your Lifestyle with Better Habits
8 minute read · Issue Number 49 · January 1st, 2021
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Happy New Year! 🥳
At the beginning of each year, it is very common for humans to set up the famous ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ to gain momentum towards the new year by building good habits or leaving/reducing the frequency of bad habits.
The most common resolutions you’ll find if you ask enough people will be to exercise more, lose weight, learn a new skill, read x number of books, spend less money, quit smoking, spend more time with family, etc.
All of these goals sound great because they intend to improve our lives one way or another. Nevertheless, research has found that approximately 80% of the so-known resolutions fail by mid-February every year.
How come most people still fail to keep up with their new habits?
There are a lot of theories about this out there. Some are related to the size of the goals; others relate to the psychology behind them.
My theory is that we approach and understand the fundamentals of habits wrongly.
Like learning how to play chess, fantasy football, or badminton, consciously learning about habits may allow us to use them to our advantage as a guide to improve our lives.
In today’s Sports-Tech Biz edition, we’ll learn about habits. What are they? Why they matter? What are some strategies we can use to build better habits and leave bad ones?
Let’s get to it!
“It is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress. You do not rise to the level of your goals — you fall to the level of your systems.”
- James Clear, Atomic Habits
If there’s only one thing you should take away from this article is this: forget about the goal and focus on the system.
A habit is a little action you do. A system is a collection of practices. Your system's quality will depend on how consistent you are, not on the size of the action.
Instead of aiming for the goal, create an achievable system:
Instead of aiming to lose 10 kg of weight, do 10 minutes of cardio every day.
Instead of aiming for a clean room, put things back right after using them.
Instead of aiming to write a book, write one sentence every morning.
Instead of aiming to read 30 books, read one page of a book every day.
Why they matter?
In his book, James Clear explains that instead of setting goals, it is way more useful to generate systems. These systems will make you the type of person you want to become. Additionally, it’s better to stick to a system because:
It’s easier to commit to tiny, manageable actions.
Momentum (you’ll probably end up reading more than one page per day)
If you’re patient, you’ll meet your goals eventually.
Your actions will compound, and you will improve your craft.
Starting is the easy part – being able to show up consistently is the real challenge.
Remember: you’ll eventually fall to the level of your systems.
Everything you do and every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become.
The question you need to be asking yourself is who do you want to become? The things that you do define your identity, and your identity will determine how you behave.
It’s a mindset shift. Instead of asking, ‘How can I get the job?’ try ‘how can I become the type of person that employers want?’. Find the things that you can do to become that person.
Your actions' outcomes will measure your level of commitment to the system.
How to Build Better Habits and Leave Bad Ones?
There are different strategies and tactics that you can take to prevent yourself from bad habits and push yourself to adopt positive ones.
The following are a few rules and ideas taken from James Clear’s book to build good habits & break bad ones:
Arrange & design your environment to your advantage (leave your phone outside your room at night, put a book next to your bed, etc.)
Stack your habits. “After doing x, do y” (After working out, shower. After waking up, make your bed. After eating, brush your teeth)
Pair actions you want to do with the actions you need to do (go for a walk and call a friend, workout and listen to music, etc.)
Reduce/increase the difficulty of doing something. (i.e., If you want to play fewer video games, unplug the console and put it in your closet after using it. If you want to eat healthier, buy more fruits and do not buy any candy/cake)
Count your streaks (how many times you do something). It keeps you accountable. (i.e., days in a row practicing yoga, days without smoking, etc.)
Motivate yourself. Do something you enjoy after making a challenging habit. (i.e., drink your favorite shake after waking up early, etc.)
The two-minute rule. If you can do it in less than two minutes, do it now
Reduce exposure. (i.e., if you want to drink less, attend fewer parties. If you want to stop shopping, do not go to the mall, blacklist Amazon from your browser, etc.)
Get an accountability partner. Tell people what you’re trying to achieve
Create a habit contract and respect it. (i.e., “if I smoke a cigarette, I’ll donate $50 to charity”)
The “New Year, New Me“ Takeaway
Today’s a new year. It’s an excellent opportunity to work on yourself.
Take this guide and improve the quality of your habits, your identity, and your behavior.
If you want to learn more about this topic, I seriously can’t recommend Atomic Habits enough. The book changed my life in ways I can’t even measure. You can also follow James on Twitter or subscribe to his newsletter (one of my favorites).
If, by now, you know what type of person you’d like to become this year, let me know by answering this email! It will keep you accountable, and I can give you ideas of actions you can take to improve your system of habits! 😁
🎙Using Technology to Improve Fan Engagement; This week’s Halftime Snacks episode features Chris Carli — a US sports technology expert. We talked about how technology will shape the new sports reality post-covid-19, the role of data in sports, the value of data privacy, and so much more. Come snack with us!
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