On Thursday, December 12, I will be sitting down for a 5 hour Predictive Analytics Exam. This is an exam given by the Society of Actuaries which is one of the last few steps before one becomes an Associate in the Society of Actuaries (ASA). This morning, I wrote in my journal that it was “crunch time.”
Upon reflection, I decided it is crunch time for a lot of other things as well. Those bad habits that you wanted to break and the good habits that you wanted to pick up in 2019? It isn’t too late.
Atomic Habits by James Clear, a book that I began listening to today, suggests that it is better to change your system and identify with that new system, then it is to have a defined goal in mind. For example, perhaps a 2019 resolution was to lose 20lbs. Let’s look at an obvious con of having a goal-like resolution like this.
It is now November. If you’re still at the same weight, what will be your most likely course of action?
- Let’s get started today in trying to lose that 20 lbs!
- Since 20 lbs will be impossible to lose in two months, make it a 2020 resolution. That’s when I’ll really get serious.
Instead of the goal-like resolution of losing 20 lbs, what if you had a system-type resolution? What if you resolved to be a healthy eater and a regular exerciser? On top of that, instead of framing it as “I’m trying to eat healther and exercise more” you framed it as “I am a healthy eater and a regular exerciser now.”
As such, what does a healthy eater and regular exerciser do? With this type of resolution, along with an understanding of how small (atomic) changes in habit lead to exponential growth in the long run, it might be easier to get started. Now, consider your options.
- Let’s begin to make some small changes in my eating and exercise habits right now. Maybe I’ll start with simple portion control on my eating and park farther away at work to get in some more steps.
- Since making a small change at all is hopeless this year, I’m going to wait until next.
It is crunch time. The bad habits are compounding and will continue to compound. Let’s make atomic changes in our habits today.