Atomic Habits—Piecka—November 29, 2022

Author of Book: James Clear
Date Read: November 29, 2022

Book Report

Title: Atomic Habits

Author: James Clear

Genre: Non-Fiction

Why I Read This Book:

Can obtaining 1 coin make someone rich? The Sorites Paradox says..YES!  If you start off with, say, 10 coins and you keep adding 1 coin at a time, at some point you have to admit you are rich. Therefore, there comes a point where only 1 coin makes a difference.

If you lose 1 pound, can you say you are “in-shape”? How about if you lose 1 pound every couple days, lose 1 inch a month, run 1 more mile a month….At some point, by adding 1 habit on top of another, people will notice how much “in-shape” you are.

That is the SECRET behind “Atomic Habits”. Atoms are super small and not noticeable. Combined together they create a TON of energy. Small, compounding changes will lead to remarkable results if you stick with them. Those remarkable results will allow you to fulfill your potential. And that is the PURPOSE behind “Atomic Habits”. Fulfilling your potential.

I actually read “Atomic Habits” over a year ago before coming to Federal Prison and I wanted to write a book report on it but I did not have the book on me. Then, one day, I was perusing the prison library and there it was!! I was VERY excited because, in my opinion, “Atomic Habits” is one of the best self-help books ever written because:

1) It makes so much sense!

2) It can be used in business formats, health formats, anything that involves improvement.

This is probably why, although it was written in 2018, it still shows up on the weekly best sellers list today. Hopefully, after reading this report, you will be as excited as I am about it and ready to fulfill YOUR potential one atomic habit at a time.

What I Learned:

It’s January 1st. You have a goal to lose 20 pounds, 4 inches off your waist, and run in the New York City Marathon this year. All you are going to do is cut out all sweets from your diet, no more soda, no white carbs, no dairy, no alcohol, you will go to the gym 5 times a week which includes 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio, you will make your lunches for the week on Sunday’s, and limit yourself to 1 cup of black coffee per day.  And you are going to start all this TODAY!!

Guess what? All of these goals will probably end their journey by the 3rd…Of January!! Why? Because all of these big changes and goals stacked on top of each other are bound to collapse like a house of cards.

You don’t need more goals to better yourself. You need a system. “A goal ends. A system is endless refinement.” says author James Clear. Both football teams in the Super Bowl have a “goal” to win. Only 1 can. The team with the better SYSTEM and EXECUTION OF THAT SYSTEM will win. The basis of “Atomic Habits” is having a regular routine that is small, easy, but a source of incredible power. Atomic habits stack JUST 1% improvements on top of each that lead to total life changes.

Want to lose weight? How about starting with cutting out soda just during the week. Do 1 push up every day and walk to the end of the driveway and back. Got that habit down? Try cutting out sweets and soda during the week, 2 push ups per day, and walking for 5 minutes. Once you start stacking these 1% changes on top of each other, the benefits begin to MULTIPLY. This kind of SYSTEM will allow these changes to last. The book goes deeper into the How’s and the Why’s, as well as the application to business and other industries, but that is a good summary of what I learned and how I am applying changes to my SYSTEM of living a better life.

Why I Will Be Successful After Reading This Book:

When speaking about Prison, I always go back to what Malcolm X said–He said he puts Prison only second to College as far as where someone could go and totally change their life. But at either institution, you have to WANT to change. 

The main reason why you can change so much in Prison is because you have the TIME. Atomic habits allows you to apply the SYSTEM to better assure SUCCESS. I am a perfect example. As of this writing, I have been in Federal Prison Camp for 6 and a half months. I can honestly say I have bettered myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. However, it took at least a month to finalize a daily routine, I have slowly and continuously added exercises, I have now written 12 book reports, and I have volunteered three times to lead our Bible Study group for the day. Over those 6 and a half months, I have established several good habits from diet to exercise to reading to writing and to praying. Establishing these habits is NOT about how much TIME I have spent on each. It is about how many REPS I have completed before my brain completed a pathway so when I wake up in the morning, I pray without thinking. My body walks automatically to the Rec Room at 1:30 pm for exercise. I do not get headaches from craving soda or sweets anymore. After 6 and a half months of slowly stacking habits, I and others can see and hear and feel results. And I am not even CLOSE to being done!!

When I leave Prison, I will need to start a new system. Some parts of the old system will remain and I will need to add or tweak others. But you can bet your last dollar that I will begin to stack habits just as I did in Prison. Atomically.

About Me:

My name is Jeff Piecka and I was sentenced to 34 months in a Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, WI after committing and pleading guilty to a white collar crime I committed several years ago. Before self-surrendering on June 6, 2022, I promised my wife and family that I WILL exit prison a better husband, son, brother, Christian, future employer, and overall better member of society because I am going to better myself in three ways:

1) Physically — Not just for vanity purposes but a better operating body equals a better operating mind.

2) Mentally — Reading non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, and stories that educate and elevate my mind and expand  my vocabulary.

3) Spiritually — For ME, this means learning more from the Bible but it can mean whatever “Greater Good” you believe in.

Shortly after self-surrendering and reading Michael Santos’s book “Earning Freedom–Conquering a 45 Year Prison Term”, it inspired me to want to help just 1 person who is possibly heading to prison so I started emailing my family Posts that my sister uses to post as a Blog on Reddit dot com called “Letters From Federal Prison”. I believe to date it has over 5,000 views and shares plus there are several comments from people advising that the Blog has helped them. This has motivated me to keep writing (which I have NEVER done anything like this before) and I REALLY want to help more people when I return to society next year.