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The Life-Changing Magic of Questioning Assumptions: Habit Building

I always write about how implementing atomic habits into my life is the best way I have found to build habits, but, is this the most effective method to build the life I want to live?



This morning I began listening to Marie Kondo's audiobook, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She begins the book by presenting the idea that the best way to live an organized life is to tidy up your home and workspace in one fell swoop. Kondo says that the popular advice to tidy a little every day does not work.

"Tidy a little everyday, and you'll be tidying forever."

Her argument is that, to change your habits you have to change the way you think. This has to be a dramatic change so that it affects your emotions deeply enough to create an irresistible feeling of wanting to change the way you live your life.


I have to admit that my approach to getting more organized would have been to implement small habits. Listening to the beginning of this book revealed that I was assuming there was only one best way to build new habits. But what if there are several best ways to build habits? And what if the best way to do so, changes depending on the kind of habits that you are trying to build?


What Marie Kondo is saying about invoking an emotional response to create lasting change makes a lot of sense to me. I can forget great ideas that come to my mind, but I have never forgotten the most intense emotions I have experienced throughout my life. My emotions drive everything that I do. Small habits have worked well for me with exercise because easing into an exercise routine is a great way to minimize the feelings of discomfort, while amplifying the good feelings of accomplishment at the end of each workout. The fundamental idea behind the Atomic Habits approach and Kondo's "one fell swoop" approach is the same: manipulate your emotions to change what is enjoyable in your life, to then change your habits. The question to ask is not which method is better, but instead, which method is more effective in creating an emotional response, around the area of life that you want to change?


I want to say that I was wrong to assume that small habits were the one cure for everything, however, I cannot do that yet. I need to test this one fell swoop method for myself to see if it leads to lasting changes in my way of thinking and daily habits. Moving forward, I plan to finish the book, and to test Marie Kondo's method within the next two weeks.

About Cesar

Cesar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in business. After college, he moved to LA to work for a startup. He later... Read More

 

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