Habits: Small, Yet Powerful

Published: May 5, 2020

As discussed in our “Book of the Week”, Atomic Habits, small habits can have a surprisingly powerful impact on your life.  In the book, the author, James Clear, asks the reader to imagine a plane taking off from Los Angeles with a planned destination of New York City.  If the pilot decided at takeoff to adjust the plane’s direction by just 3.5 degrees south, the plane’s nose would move about 6 or 7 feet.  The passengers would not notice the change in course as the movement would be so slight.  But the journey across the country would be massively impacted, and the plane would ultimately land 225 miles south in Washington, DC instead of NYC!

We do not notice tiny changes because their immediate impact is negligible.  If we ate a family-size bowl of spaghetti for dinner tonight it would not make you overweight tomorrow, just as if you went for a 30-minute jog in the morning you would not be in shape by the evening!  However, if we repeat small behaviors day after day our choices compound into significant results.  Eat a massive bowl of spaghetti every night and you can probably guess how you’ll look and feel in just a few months.  Run 30 minutes every morning for a year and you may find yourself in the best shape of your life.  

If you are like most today, your world has been significantly adjusted over the past 7 or 8 weeks.  In making these adjustments, you likely found yourself working in new environments with different routines and operating styles.  As a result, you’ve organically or intentionally created (or are in the process of creating) new habits.  Now, some of these habits are fantastic and have likely provided you great benefits.  And some of these new habits may be detrimental to your mindset and/or performance.  This is natural when crisis strikes and “normal” is uprooted.   

Have you found yourself getting out of bed a bit later than you used to?

Has your diet changed?

Is “date night” with your significant other now obsolete?

Did you stop doing something that made you happy/energized/confident?

Do you feel unorganized, out of control, or overwhelmed?

All of these changes likely occurred because you either broke a good habit that existed a couple of months ago or you created a not-so-good habit given today’s circumstances.

Whatever the case, bring awareness to the situation, draw up a plan to correct or adjust the situation, and then execute!  Habits can either serve you incredibly well during this time or they can make a challenging time even more difficult.  You get to choose! 

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