One of the best books I’ve read over the last few years is James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
It really struck a chord too – it sold over 1 million copies and was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 12 straight months.
I think one of the more subtle reasons it really struck a chord is our desire for things to feel easy.
In fact – the book’s subtitle is An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.
Because hard things are, well, hard.
If we could automate our behavior to be what we know it should be, or what we want it to be, that would be great.
And Atomic Habits truly does lay out some great strategies for making good decisions easier and automated in a sense.
But I’m here to lobby for commitments.
A couple of weeks ago, my friend David Nebinski interviewed me for his podcast (thanks, David).
One of his first questions was about my writing and creative habits.
But I don’t have writing habits. I have writing commitments.
I don’t have podcasting habits either, or a habit of showing up for my clients.
I just have commitments.
And commitment is hard – because commitment requires willpower.
It requires you to take responsibility for your actions and for your failures.
Sometimes commitment necessitates conflict.
My commitment to publishing great work can force tough conversations with people I collaborate with.
Commitment to your partner may mean addressing elephant in the room, or making compromises.
But we make commitments because they are important to us.
Commitment is a promise to yourself and others – a promise to follow through, do the hard work, and take responsibility even when the behavior isn’t automated.
We need more commitment.
Habits can take you a long way – but commitment will take you further.
PS: Still haven’t listened to my interview with James Clear? You should consider it.