I’ve  been reading a book called Atomic Habits (currently No. 1 in the Amazon charts) and I have to say it’s one of the best self help books I’ve ever read! 

I’m only a third of the way through and already there are two BIG take-aways that are making me sit up and take notice.

  1. 1% effort every day
  2. Just show up.

In a nutshell, 1% effort every day makes me believe that if I don’t do something it’s not a big deal because it’s only 1% and I can carry on the next day and not too much damage has been done.   Whereas in the past I felt like a failure.

Does that sound familiar… do you struggle with that too?

‘Just show up’ is something I tell my son regularly in a round about way.  In fact I hadn’t realised that this was what I was telling him until reading Atomic Habits.

He’s been going to Karate classes for five years now.  But he regularly tells me he doesn’t want to go and I’m a bad mum for making him go!

He’s a brown belt and to stop now would be such a shame especially when he REALLY REALLY enjoys it.  I know this because I can see him laughing and smiling and having so much fun in classes. 

The thing he REALLY hates is getting ready to go, not the taking part.

He’s only 10 years old so he can’t see this connection.  Since I’ve started highlighting this point, he doesn’t mind going now.  Occasionally he’ll moan, but he is only 10 after all!

This helps me in such a big way.  Sometimes I don’t want to do things and I repeat the words I tell my son, reminding myself it’s just the getting ready that puts me off and when I get there you enjoy it.  So I’m showing up more now too.

One of the things that I know artists of all levels find difficult is time for art and just showing up to put in that 1%.

The single biggest thing you can do to show up and put in that 1% is making yourself a permanent art space in your home no matter how small, no matter where it is find a space so you have a permanent workstation this allows you to do your 1% and show up.

The idea is that you literally can just sit in that art space for five seconds and do nothing, if that’s what you want to do.

If you don’t have the inclination to do anything and you just sit there for five seconds that starts to build a habit for you.

The chances are when you sit down for those five seconds you probably are going to stay a little bit longer and do something. 

It doesn’t matter what it is and it doesn’t matter how long you stay there and it doesn’t matter how demotivated you felt when you sat there, the chances are you are going to pick something up and start doing something and it’s okay if you do and it’s okay if you don’t. 

You can even experiment with this and see what happens.  If you’re really feel like this isn’t going to work for you, you can experiment and tell me what the outcome is.  Did you sit there?  Did you do some art?  Did you get up straight away after five seconds?

In the book, Atomic Habits, there’s a wonderful example of someone who did this at the gym.  They showed up every day for weeks.  They did half an exercise and went home again.  This built the habit and once built, they were more inclined to stay longer.

If you are struggling with building habits and keeping them Atomic Habits could help you, like it’s helping me stay on track with my exercising and well just everything really, because I know it’s only 1%.

What I’ve told you here is only the tip of the iceberg.

Buy Atomic Habits here and I’ll get a small percentage for recommending the book.  But I think it’s so good, I’d be recommending it anyway without receiving anything.