Category Archives: Life Changes

Atomic Habits: What I Learned from James Clear’s Book

We all know habits are important – whether for our personal fitness or our finances. Yet nearly all of us acknowledge the fact that we don’t have the best habits for our personal development.

This book, which I read and reflected on the last two weeks, revealed just how important habits are. I took away many points – some of which I already knew and some of which were completely foreign.

In summary, I learned that habits are crucial for success. They form by a cue and often are formed in large part by our environment. Controlling your environment is a huge part of success. Making your habits Obvious, Attractive, Easy and Satisfying is what the book was really about.

One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that many of the most successful people got to where they are because of environment and habits. Good habits can come from accountability partners, from creating a good environment or simply working to create the obvious, attractive, easy and satisfying habits the author talks about.

I would highly recommend the book for anyone interested in habits or personal development.

A Picture Made Clearer

My first job ever was when I was 17. I got hired in as a host at Cracker Barrel. I would guide people to their seats while keeping track of which seats were clean and open. This job taught me a lot about what I didn’t like doing – interacting in that type of busy social setting – but it didn’t necessarily tell me what things I enjoyed doing.

I started understanding more about myself. That’s a very important step. You need to start painting a picture of you endgame – what you like, dislike and ultimately want you want your work to look like. Even if your endgame changes with time, the very fact that you’re aiming for something makes the drive behind your actions that much more purpose-driven.

When you’re young there’s not a lot you can say you’ve experienced. As time passes if you’re not diligent, it’s easy to simply take the situations life gives you without paying attention to what they mean for you. Ask yourself: What has this taught me about myself? Why did things happen the way they did?

Once you have an idea of what you’re like – what interests you and what turns you off, you can take some of the first big steps.

Now if you already have a family I can see how it would be much harder to both provide and transition through many different life changes. My advice would be to pay attention to the money first – make sure you have enough for your family. If you know you can take care of your family financially then you can start experimenting with side-businesses, side-jobs, side-hobbies, and side experiences.

Never lose sight of what you know you want to do, even if what you want to do is constantly changing. This strategy has definitely worked for me so far. I’ve begun to paint a clearer and clearer picture of what I want to do, even at a young age. I know it will continue to work for me in the future.

And who knows, there might be a day where you finally can see enough of your picture to take the first step forward.

Africa?

The beginning is where all of us start. Whether we were born into a rich family or experienced a childhood of poverty, every story is slightly different. Mine is that much more strange.

I was born into a middle class family in Mason Michigan. Growing up I was homeschooled out in a big house in the country. The closest thing I had to classmates were a close group of friends who participated in sports, games, and making movies with us.

I was the oldest. Someone had to be right? I was very close to my brother growing up. We would play in the yard, fight with toy lightsabers, and build forts together. It was a blast. For a homeschool family we had a lot of good friends.

Sometimes when people think of homeschoolers they think of people who sit at home all day, reading, staying in their PJ’s all day, and never really socializing. That wasn’t us. We did sometimes stay in our PJ’s for a lot of the day, but besides that none of those stereo types quite fit our description.

We went to Church each week which is where about half of our friends came from – close friends. We made some great bonds with a few families who would come over regularly. In fact you could say that we were so close to some of those families we were distant relatives.

Each Thursday we would see the Barnes family. They’d come over, we’d play all day, and the mothers would talk and take care of the little ones. As kids we loved it.

As time passed and we entered into our younger teens and high school was just starting. We participated in what’s known as co-ops. On a particular day of the week homeschool families get together at a big building (usually a church) and take classes together that are taught by homeschool moms and a few dads.

We’d go home, do our work at home, and then come back a week later to talk about it or present on it. So in some ways it was a hybrid school between public and homeschool.

We made some great friends here as well. We met every Thursday so instead of seeing Barnes at our houses, we did co-ops with them.

Highschool continued. We made more friends, learned some good stuff. And then a couple years ago, while I was in my junior year, my family started talking about going to Africa.

At first they just prayed about it and talked about it. Then they began talking to other families about it. They really felt God was leading them to go overseas and do mission work – particularly orphan care. When I would hear them talk I’d always think that it was just talk. We’d never really move to Africa would we?

Then the news came. My parents announced they would be heading overseas to Africa to visit. I was 17 but very responsible. My parents put me in charge and had our Grandma watch us as well. They left us in very good hands, making sure we had a meal plan for every day and new where everyone would be going.

It was only like a week and a half. So they left in November of 2016. That was the first trip. They took another one – I believe in early 2017. Over this period of time I was beginning to take classes at a local community college: LCC (Lansing Community College).

Duel-enrolling, I would take half my classes at LCC and half at co-ops. During this time I also got my first job at Cracker Barrel. About halfway through 2017 I looked up and suddenly there was talk of them moving to Africa with the whole family. Now it was getting real. They began making plans for the whole family (minus me) to move over there.

I kept working and that fall was enrolled in four classes. At this point they planned on heading over to Africa with the whole family in November. They had to go to a missionary training thing in Colorado Springs, CO.. That was the first time I had ever been away from my family for a full month. It felt very strange living at my Grandma’s house but I was just starting to get used it it when took a brief trip to Colorado to visit them. I was there like one week.

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I came back and kept working. I was working 40 hours a week with full-time classes – so I didn’t have a lot of time to think about the changes going on. Then they came back from Colorado and we all prepared for the next part of the journey…