Atomic Habits

“That’s just the way it’s always been.”

“I can’t help it.”

“Other people do it!”

“It’s not bothering anyone else.”

The excuses are limitless, but so are the possibilities moving forward!


I stumbled across James Clears’ book Atomic Habits on my library app, downloaded the audio book, and started listening to it on my morning drive to work. I wasn’t looking to make big life-altering habit adjustments at the time, but I had heard good things about the book. I started implementing the small changes suggested in Atomic Habits and noticed that some of the goals I previously felt were unreachable were now a reality. How was I now able to make these changes and break habits that had hindered me for years? Let’s break it down and dive into the difference-making steps Atomic Habits encouraged me to work through. 


  1. Habit scorecard- make a list of habits that you notice in your daily routine, then score the habit as positive, negative, or neutral. For me this looked something like, snoozing my alarm 4 times (negative), sending an encouragement or check in message to a friend each day at lunch (positive), checking instagram before bed (neutral), eat a snack everyday after work (negative), water my plants each morning (positive)
  2. Habit system- If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. The way to make good habits easier to implement is to make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. The way to make bad habits harder to implement is to make them invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unsatisfying. It is easier to build new habits in a new environment because you are not fighting against old cues.
  3. Habit stacking- When you try to implement a new habit, you need to cue the behavior and make it easy. It helps to “stack” habits together to use current habits to cue new habits, like setting your vitamin our next to the coffee maker to remind you to take it when you’re making your morning coffee. Habit stacking is a strategy you can use to pair a new habit with a current habit. The habit stacking formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].
  4. Habit tracker- Identify habits you want to implement, set goals for frequency, and visually track your achievements! Agendas, bullet journals, Google Keep, a spreadsheet, etc. Keeping track of the days you were successful reminds you that you are making progress and provides you data to identify patterns in your struggles (like not eating healthy on the weekends, or repeatedly not making it to the early exercise class the morning after my late night of masters courses)


The short story: When you are working to start a new habit make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, make it satisfying. When you are working to stop a bad habit remove the cues, change the system, see if the people you associate with are a part of the habit, and change your system. You can’t rely on self-control long term. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. Who do you want to be?

Henry Overholser Mansion Q&A

In anticipation of our upcoming member celebration at the Henry Overholser Mansion Carriage House, we wanted to feature a fellow YNPN of OKC member, Cayla Lewis. Cayla is the Executive Director of Preservation Oklahoma, and one of her responsibilities is oversight and maintenance of the Henry Overholser Mansion.

Cayla Lewis

Thank you, Cayla, for joining us for a Q&A, and thank you to the Mansion for hosting our member celebration on March 28 at 5:30!

Read more

The Ins and Outs of Board Service

Kristi Birk, YNPN Secretary and Chair-Elect

As a former teacher and administrator, I thought I knew what a board of directors was. Wasn’t it composed of random people elected in the community that have a say in the policies, procedures and funding for the school district? They show up to a room once a month for two hours, and these men and women dictate the salaries of the school employees- and then they go back to their respective jobs and worry about their districts the following month at the next school board meeting.

Fun fact: that is not how it works.

When I joined the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP) as an employee, one of my responsibilities was “board liaison.” I had no idea what that meant, but I knew I had to learn FAST..


Read more