Atomic Habits

Change your world.

Be who you want to be.

Stop procrastinating and create the systems that will enable a new lifestyle.

These are the actionable lessons behind the hugely successful Atomic Habits by James Clear.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” james Clear

My Love of Habits

In my early 20’s a read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg which changed my life. As a young college graduate searching for how to “adult” this book broke down the processes to creating positive change. As a nerd I loved that it explained the WHY and the HOW. I learned how to create keystone habits that built the foundations of healthy eating, fitness, and a life of learning. I attribute much of my personal successes to having read this book at such a crucial point in my life.

Since then I have not read another book about habits. Having such a great experience I felt that there could not be a better book….. yet, here I am.

Atomic Habits is an incredibly enjoyable read. I flew through it. Conversational and light, but loaded with lessons. I found myself stopping to constantly write notes not only about how to change my own life but how these lessons could be applied in the classroom.

Driving Ideas:

Your habits (both good and bad) accumulate over time like compounding interest. Getting 1% better every day over the course of a year can accumulate into significant change.

SYSTEMS! Goals are great. Individual habits build, but creating systems is what makes change successful.

Be the person you wish you were. This sounds simple because it is. What does a successful person do? Then do it.

The Four Laws of habit change are…

  1. Make it obvious.

  2. Make it attractive.

  3. Make it easy.

  4. Make it satisfying.

The book breaks down these ideas into actionable steps with engaging stories. While reading my mind kept jumping to not only brining James Clear’s advise into my life, but creating a curriculum out of it for my middle schoolers.

“Habits are not a finish line to be crossed, they are a lifestyle to be lived.” James Clear

Atomic Habits for Advisory?

Middle school students are notorious for their lack of executive functioning skills and do not have the knowledge of systems create them. Most of my course is teaching executive functioning skills through the content of American History, but what if we took time out to explicitly taught the lessons from this book?

Would students respond to the structure and ideas in the book like so many adults have?

Exploring this issue will guide the rest of my year. If 8th graders could make small changes and build systems and habits while in middle school how successful could their transition into high school be?

Through the structure of my current class I feel hopeful about this endeavor. Middle school kids are to cool to be outwardly excited, but they do like the idea of “hacking their own brain”, which is what I call it when we discuss multiple intelligences or learning styles. It will be interesting to see what their reactions will be and if we can gauge any serious change by the end of the year. It will also force me into creating new habits and systems along the way.

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