Have you ever said, “Today, I’m going to change this bad habit!” and ended up not changing it one bit?

We all want to improve ourselves: get healthier, be more productive, spend less time online…

But honestly, no matter how much effort we exert in changing, it can be quite challenging.

You may be wondering why it is so easy to repeat bad habits and so hard to form good ones? Well, the problem is not you. The problem is in our system – according to James Clear–author of this Summer’s Thin Thinking read “Atomic Habits”.

Join me for the 67th episode of the Thin Thinking Podcast as we read some important points in James Clear’s New York Times best-selling book, Atomic Habits. Let’s talk about its connection to our Shift Weight Mastery Process and making healthy changes for good.

LAST WEEK TO GET THE DISCOUNT! Need some Thin Thinking tools for your travel? Grab my specialized hypnosis and coaching download from the Shift Store: Traveling Towards Mastery Coaching & Hypnosis. USE COUPON CODE TRAVEL to get $5 off when you check out!

In This Episode, You'll Learn:

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Rita Black: Need a page turning summer read to tear through by the pool or the lake, or heck, even on your couch with a fan pointed at you? In this Thin Thinking episode, I review the book Atomic Habits and share how some of the amazing points James Clear makes in his New York times best selling book are aligned with Thin Thinking. So let's look at how shifting our identity and doing a little habit stacking can make a big difference in our weight and in our lives. So turn the page and come on in.

Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weight struggle is mental. That's right, the key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist, weight loss expert, best-selling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict, and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills, and insights to help you develop the mindset you need. Not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life. Sound good. Let’s get started.

Rita Black: Well, hello there. I am away this week and I hope I'm having a good time. I was a little tentative about going away. I'll be honest with you as exciting as it is to go away and, use a passport and be, in England. I am going to be with my husband's zany relatives and we'll just see, I might be buried deep in a room with my head buried in a pillow. I might be dancing the jig, who knows, but hopefully I am also employing my thin thinking. So I, hope you are too. And I will probably be reading the last few chapters of this fabulous book, Atomic Habits.

Rita Black: You may have read it. You may have heard about it, but hoping that, I do get through to the end of it. I do wanna share it with you though, because I do think it's a real find, a great gem and anybody who has read it or that I've referred to, who's read, it has thanked me profusely. So hopefully you will too. Um, so I'm gonna dive in and just, I'm just gonna read to you what it's about, and then I'm gonna read to you a couple of the chapters that I found really particularly fascinating and in line with not entire chapters, but excerpts that I found in line with thin thinking and what we value here as a community. And I certainly value you guys. Thank you so much for making thin thinking a place that is safe space for us all to come together and really dive into taking better care of ourselves, really looking at weight release from a more respectful, self respecting, self-loving, cognitively aligned mindset, powerful attitude. I hope that all came out right.

Rita Black: But speaking of travel, due to popular demand, a lot of people really, dug that, the travel coaching and down, hypnosis downloaded that I offered for $5 off. So I am offering it again to you this week. I, there's a link in the show notes and there's a coupon code. So you just click the link and it will take you to this shift store, which is a store that has a bunch of hypno, hypnosis downloads for weight management. But one of them is called Traveling Towards Mastery. So if you go to that one, click on it and go through the purchase process, you use the coupon code and it will take $5 off your order. So check it out. All right.

Rita Black: So now onto Atomic Habits, I'm grabbing the book here, cuz I'm gonna read to you, what it's all about. So, here's the flap. No matter your goals, atomic habits offers a proven framework for getting 1% better every day. I just love that just a little better every day, James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results. If you're having trouble with changing your habits, the, the problem isn't you, it isn't you, the problem is your system, bad habits. Repeat themselves. Not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

Rita Black: In Atomic Habits, you'll get a plan that can take you to new Heights. So I really agree with all of what he just said, the problem isn't you. But you know, I really believe it's how we use our mind and using your mind more effectively. And one of those things is absolutely creating systems. And we do talk about that in Thin Hhinking. But one of the bigger things that I address with clients, no matter what they come to me for. But you know, my main two loves, the people that I love to serve the most are people who smoke in people who are, you know, struggling with weight because those were my two biggies. And one of the things I address both in the Shift Weight Mastery Process, and with my students in my monthly program, and also with smoking clients, or people who are going through, my smoke free 123 online program is identity.

Rita Black: And so I love, love, love to the fact that, he, James Claire dedicates, the second chapter of his book to this very idea. And in fact, he mentioned smokers. So I'm just gonna read it, a little bit of it to you to just give you a taste of how awesome this book is. So why is it so easy to repeat bad habits and so hard to form good ones? Few things can have a more powerful impact on your life than improving your daily habits. And yet it is likely that this time next year you'll be doing the same thing rather than something better. Damn! Isn't it the truth? It often feels difficult to keep good habits going for more than a few days, even with sincere effort and the occasional burst of motivation habits like exercise meditation, journaling and cooking are reasonable for a day or two, and then become a hassle. However, once your habits are established, they seem to stick around forever, especially the unwanted ones, despite our best intentions, unhealthy habits like eating junk food, watching too much television procrastinating and smoking can feel impossible to break. Changing our habits is challenging. For two reasons, we try to change the wrong thing and we try to change our habits in the wrong way. In this chapter, I'll address the first point. In the chapters that follow, I'll answer the second. Our first mistake is we tried to change the wrong thing to understand that. I mean consider that there are three levels at which change can occur and you can imagine them like the layers of an onion.

Rita Black: The first layer is changing your outcomes. This level is concerned with changing your results. Losing weight, publishing a book, winning a championship. Most of the goals you set are associated with level, this level of change. The second layer is changing your process. This level is concerned with changing your habits and systems, implementing a new routine at the gym, decluttering your desk for better workflow, developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build are associated with this level. The third and the deepest layer is changing your identity. Ding, ding, ding, ding. This level is concerned with changing your beliefs, changing your beliefs, your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others. Most of the beliefs, assumptions and biases you hold are associated with this level. Outcomes are about what you get processes are about what you do and identity is about what you believe. And when it comes to building habits, that last, when it comes to building a system of one person improvements, the problem is not that one level is better or worse than another, all levels of change are useful in their own way. The problem is the direction of change. Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome based habits. The alternative is to build identity based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.

Rita Black: Imagine two people resisting a cigarette when offered a smoke. The first one says, no, thanks. I'm trying to quit. It sounds like a reasonable response, but this person still believes they are a smoker who's trying to be something else. They are hoping their behavior will change while carrying around the same beliefs. The second person declines by saying, no thanks. I'm not a smoker. It is a small difference, but this statement signals a shift in identity. I usually have them say, I am a non-smoker because that's actually stepping into a bigger idea of a belief or an identity around smoking. But nevertheless, James I'm on the same page with ya. So, but anyway, he goes on to say, you know, smoking was a part of their former life, but not their current one. They no longer identify as someone who smokes. Most people don't even consider identity change when they set out to improve, they just think I wanna be skinny, outcome. And if I stick to this diet, then I will be skinny, process. They set goals and determine the actions they should take to achieve those goals. Without considering the beliefs that drive their actions, they never shift the way they look at themselves and they don't realize that their old identity can sabotage their new plans for change. This is exactly why in the shift weight mastery process, for those of you who have gone through it, we start with identity.

Rita Black: So behind every system of actions are systems of beliefs. Systems of a democracy is founded on beliefs like freedom, majority rule and social equality, the system of a dictatorship, blah, blah, blah. So I am not gonna get into that further because he really did say that the important thing here is that shifting your identity first is the way to step into a new idea of seeing yourself. And then you change the process. Then your beliefs are aligned. You get it. It's so amazing. I, I can't tell you what a difference that makes and it's such a, in a way simple shift. It's also a way that you get your brain to be more creative, cuz you're focusing your brain on becoming rather than trying not to like trying not to smoke is a lot harder for the brain to get excited about than becoming a non-smoker. It's a complete shift. Okay.

Rita Black: Now, I'm gonna read to you from another chapter and this is about habit stacking, which is a really nifty little tool that I think you can, you know, grab something from right away, but you can see how awesome this book is. It really just gets into some really practical ways to make, like he said, implement these small changes.

Rita Black: The French philosopher, Dennis Diderot, lived nearly his entire life in poverty, but that all changed one day in 1765. Diderot's daughter was about to be married and he could not afford to pay for the wedding. Yeah, I, most of us these days, despite his lack of wealth, Diderot was well known for his role as the co-founder and writer of Encyclopédie, encyclopedidi. Well, you know, the encyclopedia, one of those most comprehensive encyclopedias of the time. When Catherine the great, the Empress of Russia heard of Diderot's financial travels, her heart went out to him. She was a book lover and greatly enjoyed his encyclopedia. She offered to buy Diderot's personal library for £1000 more than, which is more than $150,000 today. Suddenly Diderot had money to spare, with his new wealth, he not only paid for the wedding but also acquired a Scarlet robe for himself. Diderot's Scarlet robe was beautiful. So beautiful. In fact that he immediately noticed how out of place it seemed when surrounded by his more common possessions, he wrote that there was no more coordination, no more unity, no more beauty between his elegant robe and the rest of his stuff. Diderot soon felt the urge to upgrade his possessions. He replaced his rug with one from Damascus. He decorated his home with expensive sculptures. He bought a mirror to place above the mantle and a better kitchen table. He toss aside his old straw chair for a leather one. Like falling dominoes, one purchase led to the next Diderot's behavior is not uncommon. In fact, the tendency for one purchase to lead to another has one, sorry. The tendency for one purchase to lead to another one has a name, the Diderot effect.

Rita Black: The Diderot effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption that leads to additional purchases. You can spot this pattern everywhere. Well, gosh, gosh. Now we, now, when we, you know, go and spend too much money on Wayfair, we can call it. the Diderot effect. You buy a dress and you have to get new shoes and earrings to match. You buy a couch and suddenly, a question, the layout of your entire living room. You buy a toy for your child and soon find yourself purchasing all the access, accessories that go with it. It's a chain reaction of purchases, many human behaviors, follow the cycle. You often decide what to do next based on what you've just finished doing, going to the bathroom, leads to washing and drying your hands, which reminds you that you need to put the dirty towels in the laundry. So you add laundry detergent to the shopping list. And so on, no behavior happens in isolation. Each action becomes a cue that triggers the next behavior. Why is this important? Well, when it comes to building new habits, you can use the connectedness of behavior to your advantage.

Rita Black: One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit. You already do each day and then stack your new behavior. On top. This is called habit stacking. Habit stacking is a special form of an implementation intention rather than pairing your new habit with a particular time and location. You parrot with a current habit. This method, which is created by BJ Fogg, as part of his tiny habits program can be used to design an obvious cue for nearly any habit. For example, meditation. After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute. Exercise. After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes. This is something that I do. Maybe you do it as well. Gratitude. After I sit down to dinner, I will say one thing I'm grateful for that happened today. Marriage, after I get into bed at night, I will give my partner a kiss. Safety. After I put on my running shoes, I will text a friend or family member where I am running and how long it will take. The key is to tie your desired behavior into something you already do each day. Once you have mastered this basic structure, you can begin to create larger stacks by chaining small habits together. This allows you to take advantage of the natural momentum that comes from one behavior leading to the next, a positive version of the Diderot effect. Your morning routine, habit stack might look like after I pour my cup of coffee, I meditate for 60 seconds. After I meditate for 60 seconds, I will write my to-do list for the day. After I write my to-do list for the day, I will immediately begin my first task or consider this habit stack in the evening. After I finish eating dinner, I will put my plate directly into the dishwasher. After put my dishes away, I will immediately wipe down the counter. After I wipe down the counter, I will set out my coffee cup for tomorrow morning. You can insert new behaviors into the middle of your current routines. For example, you may already have a morning routine that looks like wake up, make my bed, take a shower. Let's say you want to develop the habit of reading more each night, you can expand your habit stack and try something like wake up, make my bed, place a book on my pillow, take a shower. Now, when you climb into bed each night, a book will be sitting there waiting for you to enjoy.

Rita Black: Overall, habit stacking allows you to create a set of simple rules that guide your future behavior. It's like you always have a game plan for which action should come next. Once you get comfortable with this approach, you can develop general habit stacks to guide you whenever the situation is appropriate.

Rita Black: So this is just a little sampling of this wonderful book, and I hope, hope, hope that if you haven't read it that you'll get an opportunity to read it this summer or any time. It's just, it is a page turner. And also if you are interested, you can add Traveling Towards Mastery. The link is in the show notes and again, $5 off a, a great coaching and hypnosis session for your summer travels.

Rita Black: All right, everybody, I just really hope that you are having a fantastic time this summer have an amazing week coming up and remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door, the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it.

Rita Black: Thanks for listening to the thin thinking podcast. Did that episode go by way too fast for you? If so, and do you want to dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to www.shiftweightmastery.com. That's www.shiftweightmastery.com, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release, tips, strategies, and more, and be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking: Unlock Your Mind For Permanent Weight Loss and to learn how to subscribe to the podcast so that you never miss an episode.