PM Book Review June 2020

How to make bad habits impossible!

This article was motivated by the book, ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear

Brij Sethi

Brij Sethi, Partner – Dost Expertise LLP. Brij helps you apply Head Heart Hands to work. Head – Build and Share Expertise. Heart – Care and Persist. Hands – Stay Healthy and Get things done with grace and ease.

Victor Hugo was a struggling writer back in 1800s, who many thought would make a name for himself only if he had the willpower and self-discipline to dedicate himself to his writing work.

Victor was wasting his life. Two years ago, on the promise of his bright talent, publishers had made him an advance. A novel was to be delivered within the year! Unfortunately, that novel was already one year too late, and Victor had not even started on the work.

Victor wanted nothing more than to get this headache out of the way, but every day was party time in his modern Parisian life. The girls, the liquor, the late hours – all added up to zero writing.

“Surely, fate would not intervene, so I only have to do something,” Victor now thought. Short of a suicide and putting an end to all this once and for all, he could think of nothing else.

Victor had to write and complete the novel he had started 2 years ago and do it very quickly. Otherwise, he would never get another advance and his reputation in the publishing world would forever be spoilt.

Victor collected all his clothes and made his assistant lock them away in a chest. He only remained with a shawl. Now he had no option left to socialise and by extension the only choice was to sit and write.

The ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ was thus written in these strange circumstances in 1830. Since then, it has been described as a key text in French literature and has been adapted for film over a dozen times as well as numerous television and stage adaptations.

#doable Action – To give up a bad habit, make it difficult by redesigning your environment. Your simple redesign can influence greater outcomes in the future.

  • Instead of putting a WhatsApp group on mute, exit it completely. Better yet, delete WhatsApp!
  • Use a program like ‘Net Nanny’ to limit and restrict your access to Porn sites.
  • Leave the wallet (and cards) home, when you go to the mall.
  • Buy liquor in quarters, instead of full bottles.

These tricks are useful because they allow you to actionize good intentions before you fall to temptation.

#doable Action – Review these one-time actions that forever lock in good habits, with a simple redesign. Also see how you can creatively extend.

  • Drink water from bigger glasses.
  • Use smaller plates to reduce your calorie intake. Ditto for small spoons.
  • Buy a good mattress. Buy black-out curtains.
  • Remove your TV from the bedroom
  • Unsubscribe from Emails. Use Email filters.
  • Delete games and social media apps from your phone
  • Get a dog (you will have to take it for a walk!)
  • Move to a better neighbourhood, even if the rent is more
  • Buy good shoes to avoid back pain
  • Buy a supportive chair or a standing desk
  • Cut DTH / Cable Service
  • Explore using smartphone Apps to see how they can help you regulate

This was motivated by the book, ‘Atomic Habits’.  A longer version of this review is available here – ( 2020/03/03/atomic-habits-james-clear-book-summary) You can read it in 20 minutes.