I recently subscribed to jamesclear.com and enjoy his articles about creating new habits. He explains how you can grow healthier or better habits. But equally how the same processes can endorse the initiation or continuation of bad habits. It makes me think that If I already have the process why not make better choices for the same amount of work that the bad choices take? I am guessing the reason why I do not, is that bad choices are usually more delicious, have the naughty appeal and can be way more fun!!
James’ recent post was about the Domino Effect and how we do initiate one small change which starts another of similar ilk, which starts another and so on as the new habits gather together. A process that is like a domino row falling. Who didn’t enjoy setting up a row, delicately placing the blocks and then pinging the first one and watching them tumble in succession?
The tumbling process can be quite detailed with all sorts of tricks to enhance the visual display. On a side note there was recently a Cadbury chocolate advert that had blocks of chocolate lined up on a street, that fell domino style. Everything looks better with chocolate! But I digress.
James provided the outline of three rules to successfully engaging the Domino Effect. Simply put they are motivation, momentum and progression. Find what you are motivated to begin, finish that and quickly move to the next change that appeals and always remember that progress is more important than results. If you stall, break the current change into smaller achievable actions.
I liken these rules to the challenge of the immovable boulder. You are motivated to get it out of your path, you know you need momentum to continue your initial motivation. To achieve progress you smash pieces off and roll them out of the way. Eventually you clear your path. We build that boulder with the detritus of our bad habits building on each other and growing.
As a boulder example from my own life: it began with not going to work, losing that regular routine increased my time alone and on the couch, while there I ate for comfort, then I gained weight, I felt ugly so stopped exercising which compounded the weight issue… You can see the Boulder gaining weight and blocking my progress. The final win is achieved in the slow but steady dismantling of those boulder building habits.
Thinking about this process brought to my mind the interconnectedness theory of R. Buckminster Fuller. Naming himself Guinea Pig B he believed that individual small changes could eventually change the world. You had to be able to see the whole to effect that change. Going back to my boulder, according to Fuller I would need to understand all the facets contributing to its growth in order to reverse the process.
If I only knew part when I began, I might miss a key element that might jeopardize my achieving my goal. For example, I might work out, get a job and get off the couch but if my eating remains crap then I may only ever be partially successful. I then run the risk of giving in and returning to the old habits. Then I drag my boulder around behind me making every thing harder or it could block my ability to see advancement ending my progress.
To conclude, I highly recommend jamesclear.com because he writes very insightful articles that trigger exploration of the habit, behaviours and triggers that are a part of who we are. Who knows reading his articles might result in you rolling your own boulder out of your way or initiate a perfect domino streak of new healthier habits that become building blocks naturally resistant to being mowed down.
Let me know what you think of my musings!