Episode 199: Atomic Habits is Bloody Brilliant!

Episode 199: Atomic Habits is Bloody Brilliant!

There is a magnificent hat in this episode! Because although my eye makeup was on point, my hair resembled a mangy badger and had to be hidden. Which makes great radio. It’s book review week at Moxie Books, and Joe and I discuss the brilliant Atomic Habits by James Clear. Find out how I manage to get up at 6.30 every morning, despite being a lazy slug who hates getting out of bed – and learn the secret of how to be the person you want to be. (And obviously buy the book.)

Key Points

  • [5:45] If you want to learn more about how to connect with people, read Amanda Palmer’s book!
  • [7:00] Atomic Habits is the book of the year for Vicky.
  • [7:55] Habits are just brain shortcuts.
  • [10:15] Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
  • [12:45] Vicky really didn’t want to get out of bed this morning, but she tried to remember the type of person she wanted to be.
  • [13:50] There are four problems with goal setting.
  • [16:15] Focus on the system that will help you get to your goals.
  • [22:25] Vicky explains why Japan’s trains are so efficient.
  • [24:55] Declare your intentions everyday!!
  • [25:25]] Reframe your actions (if they’re negative) into a positive.
  • [26:15] Join a group where your habit/goal/hobby is something that’s shared by everyone in the group.
  • [29:50] The big 200 is coming up! Vicky is excited for next week’s episode!

Mentioned in This Episode:


Vicky on Medium

Order Vicky’s new book!

Subscribe on iTunesStitcher, and Overcast

Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Only Forward, by Michael Marshall Smith

The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, by Sy Montgomery

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?, by N. K. Jemisin

The Art of Asking Book, by Amanda Palmer

Want to know more? I’ve written a book, you know. You can get your mitts on it here.

Want to read the transcript? See below…​

Episode Transcript

Business For Superheroes Podcast Transcription: Episode One Hundred And Ninety Nine: Atomic Habits is Ace

Download PDF here…

*In an industry stuffed with marketing bullshit, empty promises and shiny-suited liars, one woman’s had enough. She knows what it’s like to have the wrong clients, no money and no time for fun, but she also knows how to fix it, and, on the Business For Superheroes Show, she promises to tell the down and dirty truth about business, sales and running away with the circus! Here’s your host: Vicky Fraser…*  

Vicky:  Hello, and welcome to the 1,000 Authors show! I’m Vicky Fraser, and this is my husband Joe.

Joe: Hello!

Vicky: There has been much styling going on for this podcast.

Joe: Not by me, it must be.

Vicky: Because even though my eye makeup is on point today, and if you want to see the proof of this, you need to go to YouTube and look at my eyeballs. I’m very proud of my face right now. My hair looks like I got dragged through a hedge backwards. And so if you go to the YouTube right now, you will see that I am wearing a magnificent hat.

Joe: It is splendid.

Vicky: I do love a hat. I found it in a cupboard the other day. I found it in a hatbox actually, and I can’t remember if I bought it or if my nanna gave it to me.

Joe: I think it’s a nanna hat.

Vicky: Either of those are equally possible, but I love it, it’s feathery and it’s white and it’s got like, it’s awesome, I like it. It suits me, I do like a hat.

Joe: It’s not often you can find a hat small enough to fit on your little head.

Vicky: So now I have to tell the story, right? Now I have to tell the story of how the other day I was in a training call for a kind of mentoring group for women I’m a part of and it’s really cool. And it’s run by an absolutely lovely lady and she was talking all about self-confidence and self esteem and responding rather than reacting and all of that good stuff. And in amongst it all she was talking about self criticism. And while she was talking about self criticism, all really good stuff, I was typing notes, as I do, and one of the notes I typed because we’re on a conference call and so we could see each other and ourselves. One of the notes that I typed was, good god, I’ve got a ridiculously small head. And then I nearly exploded from the irony of it all. But, it was like that, you know when you’ve got a spot or something and the more you look at it the bigger and redder it gets? And so, the more I looked at my ridiculously tiny head the smaller it got until I became that person in “Beetlejuice” with his head shrunk. And it was awful. And then I was like, I think I’ve got some work to do on the self criticism thing. And also, the irony explosion thing. Anyway.

Joe: Anyway.

Vicky: Back to the podcast.

Joe: What are we doing?

Vicky: Cheers.

Joe: Cheers.

Vicky: What we drinking, Joe?

Joe: We’re drinking the Bath Orange Gin and Tonic.

Vicky: Which is very nice.

Joe: Very nice, I like it.

Vicky: Chin chin. And we are going to do our normal first thing, which is, Joe, what book are you reading at the moment?

Joe: I am reading “Only Forward” by Michael Marshall Smith. Which is like a cross between a Raymond Chandler and Douglas Adams. It’s kind of a sci-fi Sam Spade-y kind of thing.

Vicky: Okay, is it comedy or is it just tongue-in-cheek?

Joe:  It’s quite tongue-in-cheek.

Vicky: I meant that as one of the books, by the way, that came out of my reading spa at Mr.B’s in Bath. And I’m trying to stop Joe from just disappearing into the Circle of Time or whatever the hell it is that you’re reading.  “Wheel of Time.”

Joe: “Wheel of Time.”

Vicky: That goes on forever, which might be very good, but he’s been reading it for decades now. And I just thought you needed.

Joe: That’s not quite true.

Vicky: I thought you need to read a few things, but the other book that you were reading before and I don’t think we’ve done a podcast since, ’cause you read it really quickly. What was the other book? “Soul of an Octopus”?

Joe: “Soul of an Octopus”.

Vicky: That Father Christmas brought you.

Joe: By?

Vicky:Sy Montgomery.

Joe: Sy Montgomery.

Vicky: Oh no, we have talked about that haven’t we?

Joe: Yeah, it’s very good.

Vicky: Yeah, so, I’m looking forward to reading Only Foward. I am reading at the moment, I’m actually not reading any fiction at the moment ’cause I’ve just finished a book and I’m just about to start a book. But, the book that I’m just about to start is another N.K. Jemisin book and it’s a book of her short stories called “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?”

Joe:  So, it’s alright for you to just like get lost in a wormhole and smash through everything an author has ever written, but for me you need to intervene?

Vicky: No, because between this N.K. Jemisin book and the last one, I read a couple of other fiction books. I read quite a lot of books. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to that one because, it’s kind of funny how things converge, but I’m listening to a podcast by This American Life at the moment. It’s all about Black futurism and super interesting. So, it’s all like comic book nerds and people read comic books, but with a focus on Black culture and where Black people come into sci-fi and fantasy and stuff like that. And N.K. Jemisin is one, actually I don’t know if I’ve mentioned to ya, and I keep listening to it and thinking mention N.K. Jemisin ’cause she’s brilliant. They talk about Octavia Butler quite a lot and she’s a very famous voice in the sci-fi and fantasy world. N.K. Jemisin, I think, is a big fan of Octavia Butler. So anyway, “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month”, I love the idea of it because it’s all about instead of looking back casting everything in a victim-hood thing it’s looking forward. It’s like, well hang on, we’ve got a future. What are we doing? Why aren’t we looking to be in space as well? I’m really looking forward to reading this book. So that’s gonna be ace. And I’m also still reading “The Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer for non-fiction. I’ve literally got a few pages left and I’ve absolutely loved it. I’ve loved it because she just tells brilliant stories about connecting with people. If you want to know more about how to connect with people read Amanda Palmer’s book because she’s just, she gets a lot of flack in the media and stuff because she’s very outspoken and she’s very open with everything that she does. And very open so she’s very brave, I could not do what she does. But, she just brings people together and she’s incredibly kind. She’s just, like she got stranded in Iceland when the volcano erupted. And instead of doing what everybody else did, which is kind of wait for a shuttle bus, she tweeted out to her fans and things, oh, I’m stuck in Iceland, you know stranded in Iceland because of the volcano, is there anybody around? And one of her fans was like, yeah, I’ll come and pick you up and you can come and stay with us. And then, ’cause it was obviously Europe was shut down for a couple of weeks, she ended up playing a bunch of free gigs in bars in Reykjavik and just got loads of people who were also stranded in Iceland, who never heard of her, to come along. And it was just like, oh, this is really cool. What’s going on here? And that’s the kind of thing she does and I love it. So, that’s a really good book as well. But, the book that we are talking about this week, because it’s book review week, is.

Joe: “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

Vicky: Which you haven’t read yet.

Joe: I have not read.

Vicky: And I would like you to.

Joe: It’ll be difficult for me to put much in to this podcast I’m afraid.

Vicky: I don’t think it will.

Joe: I’m just side-kicking away over here.

Vicky: Nah, ’cause I’ve talked about it a lot in a lot of, you know, you’ll be fine, Joe.

Joe: I’ll be fine, be fine, okay.

Vicky: It was absolutely book of the year for 2019 for me. I’m gonna read it once a year, I think, just to remind myself. It’s one of those books that’s.

Joe: Turn into reading it, reading it turns into a habit.

Vicky: Yeah, oh oh.

Joe:  Meta.

Vicky: I know. I think it’s kind of wanky when you say, oh, this book changed my life, but it actually has. Like in a practical way. So, there’s a couple of quotes I wanna start with that sum the book up almost. And the first one is a quote from James Clear himself. Hi James.

Joe: Hi James.

Vicky: He’s totally not listening to this.

Joe: He might be, he might be, send him a link.

Vicky: Yeah, I will actually. And he talks about how, well, he says, “The quality of our lives often depends “on the quality of our habits. “With the same habits you end up with the same results, “but with better habits anything is possible.” Which is pretty much true.

Joe: Seems very true.

Vicky: Because a lot of habits are just shortcuts, like brain shortcuts. When you learn to drive it’s really difficult, right? You have to think about every little thing.

Joe: Yeah, lots of effort, lots of energy, lots of concentration, difficult.

Vicky: It’s like, you know, the junction thieves when you’re like I’ve just done five miles and remember not a thing of it. And it’s because nothing happened, but if something had, if a car had pulled in front of you or swerved in front of you your brain would have kicked in.

Joe: You would’ve suddenly become conscious.

Vicky: Yeah, and that leads me on to the next quote, which I’ve read elsewhere, but obviously James Clear talks about it as well, by Carl Jung. “Until you make the unconscious conscious “it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” And I love that quote because so many people sleepwalk through life and let their habits, their unconscious habits just march them through. Which is totally understandable because that’s what we’ve evolved to do.

Joe: It’s easier.

Vicky:It’s easier, it’s energy efficient, all the rest of it. And for a lot of things for a lot of the time that makes perfect sense.

Joe: Yeah, for like walking and brushing your teeth and driving cars and things. You know, you don’t want to be thinking how far in front of one foot should I put the other.

Vicky: Yeah, how to open the door.

Joe: Which muscle do I twitch to keep my balance up on this uneven ground and all that kind of stuff. It doesn’t happen.

Vicky: But, we also fall into bad habits as well and that’s the problem. And so, that’s where we have to be conscious about, don’t think about absolutely everything all the time, but maybe for all of your habits every now and then just go, is this habit actually serving me? If you’re brushing your teeth then it probably is and you should keep doing it. But, if you automatically, and this is a problem for us, if you automatically get home from work and kind of do what you’re doing, get in and then open a bottle of wine and pour a glass and it’s just an automatic thing then that’s a problem. For us it was anyway because we didn’t wanna just be you know. And yesterday, I had a really bad day and you said, in the best, in the kindest possible whatever, oh, would you like a glass of wine? And time was I would’ve been like, yes, yes I do and because it would be habit to do so. But, yesterday I was like no, I don’t want to self-medicate in that way. That’s not the person I want to be. So, yeah, “Until you make the unconscious conscious “it will direct your life your life “and you will call it fate.” Keep that in mind throughout this podcast I think. So, just wanted to go through a few of the key learnings, key things that I took away from this book.

Joe: Key things.

Vicky:Key things. And there are so so many of them because I’ve put a lot of them into practice in my daily life and business already. But, the most important one, really, and this is something that I’m trying to remember everyday and I’ve got it a written down in a place where I can see it. Is, “Every action you take is a vote “for the type of person you wish to become.” And I’ve never really thought of it like that before, but we are really made up of our habits and the things that we do. That’s who we are. And yes, there’s beliefs and stuff in there as well, but that’s tied in with it. What type of person do I want to be? Who is the type of person who can write a great book? Who is the type of person who can help other people write a great book? What would a real writer do? If you want to be a great lawyer, what would a top lawyer do? If you wanna be healthier, if you wanna stop eating junk food, if you wanna lose weight or whatever, what would a healthy person do in this situation? It’s a really really cool thing to ask yourself. A really handy thing to ask yourself. Have you ever thought of it like that before? A vote for the type of person you want to be.

Joe: I think I’ve heard, I’ve heard something similar to that before.

Vicky: Maybe from me.

Joe: It could be from you. I don’t know, that did ring a bell. I have heard that before. Yeah, it is kind of easy isn’t it? To just kind of slide into a habit and just feel comfortable and that’s what you do and that’s who you are and how you behave. It takes a lot more effort to crack into that and make a conscious decision, but it is more productive. We’ve talked about this before, I’m sure. I’ve talked about people in supermarkets. If you look at people in supermarkets when they’re shopping there are some people who are engaging with each other or engaging with their children and they’re talking and thinking and making decisions. And there’s others who just stroll up the canned aisle and put two tins of beans in the trolley. They’re just doing, and you know they eat the same thing every week and they’re doing the same stuff all the time. You know, maybe it’s their down time. Maybe this is entirely justified and sensible of them.

Vicky: Yeah, you’re not judging here.

Joe: I’m not criticizing or judging, but you can see the people who are not.

Vicky:That are conscious.

Joe: Yeah, people who are conscious as opposed to the people who are just operating on autopilot. Big difference.

Vicky: It is a big difference. And it’s incredibly motivating as well to, if you think to yourself, well, what would a whatever person do? What would a successful business owner do is a big one for me all the time. And so, this morning, no, yesterday morning I was really tired. My alarm went off at six o’clock and I’m gonna talk about the habit that I’ve built to get myself out of bed, by the way, because it’s a really good one. I’ll talk about that in a bit. I really didn’t want to get up. Like I really super didn’t want to get up and I even said to you, didn’t I, I might stay in bed. And after I said that I sort of sat there and thought, how will I feel about that later? What type of person do I want to be? And would that person just stay in bed just ’cause they were tired? And I thought back to the last time that I slept in and just how angry I was with myself and just how much more difficult the day was and the morning was because my routine had been disrupted. And because I wasn’t able to do the things I wanted to do and that is what got me out of bed in the end. Is that, this is not the type of person that I want to be. I don’t want to be the type of person who just gives in to lounging around in bed. And this isn’t about, this was just tiredness, this isn’t about crippling depression or anything like that. I was really just very tired and I couldn’t be bothered. And it was just like, well, how am I gonna feel about myself if I just stay in bed? It was like pretty crap and I didn’t wanna feel that way. So, I dragged my carcass out of bed and everything’s fine.

Joe:  Hot shower and felt much better.

Vicky: Yeah, and that’s funny. Showers have magical powers. Okay, so the next takeaway for the next key learning for me was, that there are four problems with goals. We’ve definitely talked about this before, so let’s just recap it real quick.

Joe:  Okay, so the first one is winners and losers can very often have the same goals.

Vicky: Well, pretty much always. I think everyone wants to win a race or be successful.

Joe: Yeah, sure.

Vicky: That blew my tiny mind, so like you say, the goal isn’t the problem.

Joe: Yeah, the goal is not.

Vicky: It’s not the important thing.

Joe: Not the important thing. It’s not what’s gonna fix things. Oops sorry, I was taking a mouthful. This is where you step in.

Vicky: Achieving a goal is a momentary change. It’s like a really fleeting thing. So, you achieve your goal and then what? And you have like a very brief high. And in fact, they’ve done some research and they find that imagining how you will feel after you’ve reached your goal is actually more pleasing then achieving the goal itself, which is interesting. That’s actually another problem as well with the whole goal thing. So, it’s a momentary thing, it doesn’t, this is not building a person or building a personality or building a habit or building an ability. It’s just achieving one thing and that has been a problem with me. It’s like when I one the trapeze competition that was awesome, I was really chaffed. I’d worked so hard up ’til then and then I took a break afterwards and I found it really hard to get back into it. That was my goal, to win that competition, or to do well in that competition, and I did do well and that was it. It’s fleeting, it’s gone. So, it’s not that I haven’t been training, I have been, but it’s not with the same intensity. Third problem with goals.

Joe: It restricts your happiness.

Vicky: Yeah, you’re wondering why.

Joe: Go on.

Vicky:  Because when we have a goal we have a tendency to hang a lot on it. So, oh, “I’ll be happy when”. “I’ll be happy when I’ve got a new kitchen.” “I’ll be happy when I make 100,000 pounds a year.” “I’ll be happy when…” You know what I mean, you tie your happiness into something external.

Joe: Sure.

Vicky: And that’s a massive problem because for me, I think, and for most people the happiness comes from the doing. It sounds, again, really cheesy, but it’s the journey and not the destination that’s important, it really is. So, it restricts your happiness. And the fourth problem with goals is that it actually works counter to lasting change for all of the reasons that I’ve just mentioned really. You’ve achieved your goal but then what? Are you gonna do something else?

Joe: Or you’ve not achieved your goal.

Vicky: Yeah, if you don’t achieve your goal that can completely destroy things.

Joe:  Yeah, it just crushes everything doesn’t it?

Vicky: Yeah, so it’s actually the work. It’s not that goals are a problem, have your goals, but set it and then forget about it. Focus on the system that’s gonna get you there because that’s the thing that’s gonna create lasting change and lasting satisfaction.

Joe: Yeah, the system is what’s gonna generate the habits. The habits governs your behavior and your efforts.

Vicky: And who you are.

Joe: And who you are and how much progress you’re making. And you might just breeze through your goal and go, phew, there goes that goal. Marvelous, did that, now on to the next thing with my new found habits and behaviors.

Vicky: Yeah, ’cause that’s the important thing. And there’s a really cool quote that goes with this part of the podcast and it’s from the “Bhagavad Gita” and it goes.

Joe: What’s the “Bhagavad Gita”?

Vicky: It’s one of the holy books, one of Hindu holy books, I think. It’s one of the holy books.

Joe: One of the holy books.

Vicky: And it goes thusly, “You are only entitled to the action, never its fruits.”

Joe:  Okay.

Vicky: Which is another way of saying, you have no control at all over the outcome of anything ever. All you have control over is the thing is the that you are doing right now. Does that make sense?

Joe: Yep, you can water your tree. You can feed your tree, you can look after it.

Vicky: Yep, and it still might die.

Joe:  And it still might die.

Vicky: Hopefully it won’t.

Joe:  Or it might be great. You might get fruit, you might not.

Vicky: Yeah, but you can guarantee that if you do that over a year and you look after a tree every year then you will at some point get fruit. Okay, next thing that I took away from this book, which was a huge thing and I’m gonna illustrate with my getting out of bed habit, is the four laws of behavior change.

Joe: The four laws of behavior change.

Vicky: Can you read those out for us, Joe?

Joe:  I can read those our for us. Okay, number one, make it obvious. Number two, make it attractive. Number three, make it easy. And number four, make it satisfying.

Vicky: Yes, and you can flip that to change bad habits as well. So, make it unobvious, hide the biscuits. Make it unattractive, cover them in mustard or something. Make it difficult, put it on a really high shelf that you have to get a ladder down. And make it unsatisfying, maybe pair it with, I don’t know, drinking salt water so that it makes you feel sick, I don’t know. I’m absolutely not advocating that, disclaimer.

Joe:  But, if you want positive change.

Vicky: Yeah, you want positive change. No, but he does it in the book. He does flip it, he does not tell people to drink salt water , but he does flip it. It’s like if you wanna stop doing a bad habit you flip the four laws.

Joe:  If you want medical advice this is not the podcast for you.

Vicky: It’s really not. Or any kind of sensible advice, really. Yeah, so the way I did this, the way I made this work for me and my getting out of bed and in my daily stretching habit.

Joe:  Right.

Vicky: So, I really struggle to get out of bed, don’t I, Joe?

Joe:  You are you have been terrible at it.

Vicky:But, since the beginning of, are you alright there?

Joe:  Yeah.

Vicky: Am I boring you?

Joe:  No, it’s been a long day.

Vicky: Since the beginning of November though, I’ve pretty much got up at half six everyday, haven’t I?

Joe:  Yes.

Vicky: Which is unprecedented for me.

Joe:  Unprecedented behavior.

Vicky: nd the way I did it was I stopped trying to get up at half past six.

Joe:  Okay.

Vicky: Which sounds weird. What I did instead was I set my alarm for six o’clock and instead of the thing being I have to get out of bed now my thing was I have to turn on the light and sit up. That was it, that was all I have to do. It’s all I have to do when the alarm goes off at six o’clock is turn on my light and sit up.

Joe:  Right.

Vicky: And that’s the habit. So, you don’t have to build like a massive habit. If you want to write a book that habit’s not I need to write my book everyday. The habit is I’m gonna open the document on my laptop, that’s the habit. Because once you’ve got it open you might as well write.

Joe:  Might as well write something.

Vicky: And I do the same thing with my stretching habit as well. I don’t have to stretch, I don’t have to do anything. All I have to do is take the yoga blocks off the bookcase, which is right there, put them on the floor. That’s all I have to do. And then once they’re there they kind of niggle at me to do the stretching. So, that’s the first thing, is kind of making it obvious and making it really simple and easy. So, the easy thing for me was sit up and just turn on the light and sit up in bed. Anyone can do that, even if you’re asleep you can do that. So that’s what I did. It’s obvious as well, it’s really obvious, it’s right next to me, you know the lamp is literally just there, I just reach out. The attractive part of it is that I get to read my book for half an hour. So, I’m like half asleep and sometimes I am kind of nodding off while I’m reading my book, but I love reading. Reading is one of my favorite things to do in the entire world. So, for me, once I’ve switched on my light and sat up the reward is that I get to read for half an hour. And then, just the getting out of bed.

Joe:  It’s just almost inconsequential.

Vicky: It’s almost inconsequential. But, it’s also incredibly satisfying ’cause then I find myself in the shower by 6:35 and I’m feeling really pretty smug about it. And so, that’s how I’ve done that. That is how I’ve done that. ‘Cause the satisfying comes quite often from what you’ve done. So, when I’ve stretched, again, it kind of hurts ’cause stretching is uncomfortable, but it’s a satisfying pain it’s, ah, I’ve done something. Does that make sense?

Joe:  Yeah, yeah.

Vicky: Cool. The next thing that I took from the book, that I wrote down in my book notes, was just remind us of the Carl Jung quote again, Joe.

Joe:  So, the first Carl Jung quote was, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Vicky: Yes, which can actually lead to a lot of accidents. ‘Cause, you know, if you’re just.

Joe:  Accidental relationships and accidental work.

Vicky: I was thinking more industrial accidents.

Joe:  Hey, you reckon?

Vicky: Yeah, because there’s a really interesting story in the book “Atomic Habits” about Japanese trains. And they do a thing called pointing and calling. Have you heard of it?

Joe:   Yes.

Vicky: Ah, would it be part of the, what do the call it, the Japanese improvement?

Joe:  Yeah, TPM and kaizen and all that business.

Vicky: Kaizen, yeah, so what they do is they have these routines. I don’t know how much you know about Japanese trains, but they are incredibly incredibly reliable. They will arrive within seconds of when they’re suppose to and they will leave within seconds. And there was an incident, I think I’m remembering the story right, there was an incident on a train where I think somebody got hurt. But, instead of everybody just doing their thing all of the attendants, the train attendants, the cleaners, the train cleaners as well, ’cause they’re all part of it. People dash on and clean the trains and then dash off again. And the platform attendants and all of the people involved in train stuff, instead of just doing it silently they point at what they’re doing and call it to each other. So, it’s like I am closing this door. I am sorting this signal out. I am going in to clean this, I am going to do that. And it sounds really daft, but it saves lives because there was an incident where a woman, her little boy, kind of got away from her and dashed on to the train and she grabbed him off and her bag got caught is the doors. And if people hadn’t been doing the pointing and calling thing she would probably have been dragged off and killed. So that’s really really interesting and we kind of bring that into what we do as well. So, if you’ve got a habit that you want to change that is not serving you, you can start saying it out loud. And once you start saying it, I am reaching for the biscuit tin. I am opening the biscuit tin. I am eating a biscuit. It’s like, hang on a minute.

Joe:  I didn’t want to be doing this.

Vicky: I didn’t want to be doing this and it just brings it to consciousness again. So, that was a really good tip that I’ve done. And you feel a bit daft doing it, but it does stop you.

Joe:  Does stop you doing things unconsciously.

Vicky: Yeah, and you might decide actually I want this biscuit and that’s fine, but at least you’ve made a decision.

Joe:  It hasn’t just happened, miraculously happened.

Vicky: Do you know what, I need to do this with chocolates don’t I?

Joe:  Yeah. You’ve got massive problems with tubs of chocolate.

Vicky: I do and it’s because

Joe:  It’s just insane.

Vicky: But we don’t have chocolate in the house normally except for when it’s Christmas and stuff. And I don’t buy chocolate. I don’t go to shops and buy chocolates and things.

Joe:  For 11 and a half months of the year we don’t have any chocolate in the house at all. And then suddenly it arrives at Christmas and Vicky’s just like, I don’t know what I’m doing.

Vicky: That’s literally what it’s like.

Joe:  And I’ll come home from work and there’ll be like this mound, absolute heap of wrappers. What on earth is going on in here? And you’ll be like, I don’t know what happened.

Vicky: Yeah, I need to point and call at the chocolates. Anyway, implementation intentions.

Joe:  Yeah, okay, implementation intentions.

Vicky: Yeah, so rather than just say you’re gonna do something at some point, be really specific about it. So, I get my authors, when I’m training people to write, to declare exactly when and where they’re gonna write everyday. So, at nine o’clock in the morning I am gonna sit down at my desk in my office for two hours and I am gonna write. And I’m gonna implement this with my guitar playing as well because I’m just fitting it in as and when, which means often it doesn’t get fitted in. And so, I’m gonna be like right, I’m gonna play my guitar every weekday at 1:00 p.m. ’cause that’s my lunch hour. That’s a really useful thing to do as well. Oh, next thing is one of my favorite things to do as well.

Joe:  Reframing negatives into positives, it makes quite a difference. You get to do something instead of I have to do something.

Vicky: Yeah, have you ever done that? Have you ever tried that? Especially when you don’t want to do something.

Joe:  Not that specifically, no.

Vicky: Give it a go because I’ve found that it can change my entire mood. So, if I have agreed to do something and I’m now regretting it, which does sometimes happen, instead of kind of being ah, god, I’ve gotta do this thing. Instead I will say, I get to go and do this and I say it with different energy. And it sounds really woo and really wanky, but it honestly works. It’s like that thing it’s really difficult to feel angry if you’re smiling. And it’s really difficult to feel sad if you’re smiling. And it works. Your bodily actions affect your internal feelings and vice versa, so try that. Another thing I got from it was join a culture where the habit that you want to cultivate is normal. So for me, I’ve got a group of writers. I’m building a group of writers. If you wanna write a book come and join me because we are writers, that’s what we do. We write everyday, that is normal.

Joe:  That’s cool.

Vicky: Yeah.

Joe:  Yeah and it’s difficult sometimes ’cause when people see you behaving away from your normal behavior or your group’s normal behavior or your society’s normal behavior people can be kind of a little bit.

Vicky: Sabotaging.

Joe:  Yeah, they get upset about it. They don’t like it.

Vicky: And if you’ve ever worked in an office you will have seen this in action, where somebody is really trying hard to be healthy or to lose weight or whatever and there’ll be somebody who’s like, just have a biscuit. It wouldn’t hurt, just have some of this cake.

Joe:  A slice of cake.

Vicky: Have some cake. And it’s just, it’s mean. If you’re somebody who does that, don’t do that. Because it’s really, yeah, it’s not nice. Another really really really cool thing, environmental design. Design your environment to make it easier to do the habits that you want to do.

Joe:  The thing that you want to do, yep.

Vicky: So, if you wanna eat healthy lunches prep them in advance. Make it easy so you just have to reach into the fridge. When we’ve got a big fridge one day, this is one of my when we have, future happiness things, but when we’ve got a big fridge I’m gonna have my lunches portioned out, ready for. I’ll do it on a Sunday or something.

Joe:  Really?

Vicky: Yeah, maybe not every day, but for three days a week.

Joe:  But what you can do is you can make sure your guitar is prominent and easy to find and right there when you want to practice rather than storing it in the cupboard under the stairs or something where you’ve gotta rummage around behind the Hoover to get it.

Vicky: Yeah, again, make it easy. Make it obvious. And the two minute rule, ah, this was a thing that kind of blew my mind a little bit. So, if there is something, if there is something in your life that only take two minutes to do, do it immediately, get it out of the way. ‘Cause just get it out of the way. And that’s not the same thing as procrastination. That’s not the same thing as oh, I’m just gonna go through all my emails. It’s like, if this will take two minutes, like for me, do I need to write a thank you card to somebody, yes, do it now. Because otherwise it sits on your to-do list forever and you wanna get rid of that shit, so that you can get on with. Not that writing thank you cards is shit, I love writing thank you cards. But yeah, if you’ve got a two minute thing on your to-do list do that first and then do the most difficult thing.

Joe:  I do that with washing up now.

Vicky: Do you?

Joe:  Yeah. Walk in to the house do the washing up.

Vicky: Aw, is that a dig at me?

Joe:  A little bit. No, it’s not.

Vicky: I do that when I do the laundry and clean the chickens out and take the bins out. It’s around the room. So, I think that’s probably, I don’t how long we’ve been going for.

Joe:  20.

Vicky:  Only?

Joe:  28 and a half minutes, right, wrap it up.

Vicky: Bang on time. Joe, what’s the main take away for this podcast?

Joe: Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

Vicky: Yes, what type of person do you want to be, dear listener? Cast your votes.

Joe:  Cast them wisely.

Vicky: Cast them wisely, yeah. Who do you wanna be and why? So, coming up next week it’s the 200th episode of our podcast, can you believe it?

Joe:  Good lord, really?

Vicky: Can you believe it?

Joe:  200.

Vicky: Yeah, I think we should have a cake. Should we have a cake? Oh my god, should we make a cake? We are gonna have a birthday cake and there may be hats, different hats, to this one.

Joe:  If you’ve listened to all 200 episodes let us know and we’ll send you a slice of cake. We probably won’t send you a slice of cake, sorry.

Vicky: I might make you a cake though. Oh no, ’cause I might have to make a lot of cakes.

Joe:  No, what if like 100 people say yes? You’ll have to make loads of cake.

Vicky: You don’t wanna eat my cake. One day I’ll get a picture of the slump to show you.

Joe:  It was bad cake.

Vicky: No, it tasted good, looked real bad. So yeah, I haven’t fully decided what the topic of the 200th episode is gonna be to be honest, but I think I might get you to interview me on any topic you like. You could do the work.

Joe:  What? That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

Vicky: I guess it is now. So next week is our 200th episode. We’re not entirely sure what it’s gonna be about yet. We could do a review of our most listened to episodes. We could do the negotiation series in short like they would do in Shakespeare companies. Anyway, right, next week 200th episode. Tune in, find out what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna have a cake. Totally gonna have a cake.

Joe:  Totally gonna eat cake.

Vicky: I’m gonna make a cake and we’re gonna decorate it.

Joe:  Not whilst recording the podcast though.

Vicky:  No.

Joe:  No.

Vicky: And what is going on in our world? Well, I am still planning my big book launch for January the 30th. There’s gonna be some cool stuff. So, if you already have a copy of my book there will be goodies for you as well because I don’t want you to miss out. If you don’t yet have a copy of my book wait until January the 30th and buy it then because there’s gonna be all sorts of goodies. Get on my email list at Moxiebooks.co.uk. I am running a writing retreat in Fuerteventura in late February.

Joe: Sweet.

Vicky: That’s gonna be really cool.

Joe:  A couple of spaces left?

Vicky: Yeah, there’s a few spaces. It’s very informal. It’s a bit of a dry run for the luxury retreat, that I’m going to one day run. It’s gonna be low cost because it’s gonna be a bit of a dry run. I’ve had two people say that they really wanna go so far. I don’t really want any more than a maximum of five people and me. And so there are probably three places. I’m gonna be putting out more information about that in the next week or so. And flights to Fuerteventura are super cheap as well. And it’ll be warm, it’ll be warm and sunny. So, if you fancy that, if you fancy coming to Fuerteventura just drop me an email with the subject line I want to write in the sun. And I will, you will be the first person to get first dibs. If you have listened to every episode of this podcast email me with your postal address and I will send you a silly gift. And if you like this podcast go to iTunes and subscribe and rate and review us.

Joe:  Five stars.

Vicky: Five stars. If you don’t like us then other podcasts are available. And yeah, share us, please share us. If you know somebody who will enjoy this nonsense then send them a link. Moxiebooks.co.uk/podcast.

Joe:  Nice.

Vicky:  Yeah, we’ll be back same time next week. Thanks, Joe.

Joe: No worries. Bye.

Vicky: Bye.

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If you want to learn more about how to write, self-publish, and market a book for your business, snaffle yourself a copy of How The Hell Do You Write A Book? Then check out the blog and podcast for more articles and guides. If you want a little (or a lot) more help, find out how you can work with me.

About Vicky…

Vicky Fraser is the founder of Moxie Books and author of How The Hell Do You Write A Book and Business For Superheroes. She helps business owners write life-changing books, connect with readers and new customers, and grow their businesses. When she’s not doing that, she’s hanging from a trapeze by her feet.