Take back your life

Wow, what a bold statement to make right? What do you mean ‘take back your life?

Nobody stole my life. I’m perfectly fine you may be thinking. Yes, and so was I. Until I

started reading a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear.

I know blog posts and motivational speeches about creating good habits have been

done too many times, but I want to encourage you to keep on reading, for this time it’s

different. The moment you realize that you are your habits and that your habits are

who you are, you may come to see how much you chose to steal from yourself,

subconsciously or consciously. But it was you. And only YOU can change it.

So let's get this straight. I’m not taking any credit for this golden information, I’m just

simplifying it and trying to help you unpack this, see the value, and how you can take

back your life, as I’m trying to do myself - at this very moment. I’m also not saying I have

it all figured out, but at least now - I’m trying.

I just want to add that I know a lot of stuff happens to us without our consent. We can’t

help other people's choices and actions that affect us, however, we can choose how we

want to deal with it.

Okay, back to the habits topic. Most of us don’t know everything we do is habits. But,

one day you woke up and you realize you are doing all these things and you can’t

remember when it became a thing. When did you start biting your nails and when did

you start buying a donut after work EVERY DAY?

James Clear said: “If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses and see how your daily choices will compound ten or twenty years down the line. Time will multiply whatever you feed it.”

And I think this is exactly what prompted me to start changing my habits. The fact that I

did not want time to multiply what I was doing, what I was eating, and how I was thinking

about some things. The moment you're busy with something that will be even

better when it's multiplied - You win!

So, James Clear introduced the Four Step Model of Habits and basically builds

everything he says around it. The four steps are Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward.

James explains with this model that we crave the reward - not the thing. Meaning that

you crave that satisfied feeling after eating a donut, not the actual donut. Therefore your

habit is eating the donut every day after work, but it's the feeling the donut gives you

that makes you go back every day, not the donut itself, but the reward, the feeling.

Thinking about all the bad habits in my life, was overwhelming.

Where do I start and how will it be sustainable this time? Luckily, James explained with his two-step process:

1. Decide the type of person you want to be

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins

This is what will get you started. Deciding who you want to be and then from there

make sure that every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to


Example: I want to be a healthy person, so I have to do stuff that will prove that. I can’t

never do exercises and make bad eating decisions and say I’m a healthy person.

Whatever you do has to line up with that statement, that person you want to be.

Start small and make it easy for yourself. Make small changes, celebrate every win, and remember - If nothing changes, nothing is going to change.

I’m taking back my life. Are you?

Jani Marais

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