Last year around September I finished Atomic Habits by James Clear and after absorbing its principles I decided to test it out on a habit I have been wanting to inculcate for years – Meditation. I had heard many things about it and the seeming zillion benefits it had, however, every time I started it, I couldn’t seem to do it for more than 30 seconds, my personal best before this had been 2 minutes and that’s it.
So, I started by listing out all the techniques I had learnt like Habit stacking, setting an intention, making it easy, making it attractive, making obvious, making it satisfying, imagining my identity as a yogi you name it.
However, it was after this step that I realised I didn’t know jack shit about their application in my daily life. I mean sure, I had the first few steps down like setting an intention and imagining what my ideal self do and the usual yada yada but what about the four core principles to any habit formation? Not a clue, sir. Which is when I decided (rather absent-mindedly I must admit) to reduce friction by using an app. I started on the journey with no hopes or expectations of finding a meditation app that would fit my needs and even if it did, at the very least I knew it won’t be free.
And like a messiah, it came to my rescue – The Atom app. (Yes, I am being dramatic because it deserves it and you will know why in a moment.)
To be frank, its icon was this grey scribble and I honestly didn’t think much of it so I just bulk downloaded it with a number of other apps like Headspace, Calm, Medito etc, and paid no mind to it until I was done with the other apps first. Thus, It was a month later when I noticed it on my phone and thought it well to give this app a chance and boy, am I glad I did!
What is Atom?
Atom is an app for meditation started by Samvid and Gourav and according to their website –
“Our mission is to build technology products which create positive change in the world.
We believe that technology should enable us to fulfil our own unique paths, instead of being a constant source of distraction and mindless consumption. We believe and respect the power of technology and find it is not always built in the best interests of people. The negative impact of technology on people’s lives is a deeply troubling trend and needs to be addressed immediately. We want to support the beginning of the #HumaneTech revolution where products are built mindfully, and social capitalism is the only form of sustainable development in the world.
We want to work in the service of others, to move the world forward.”
Before we go into the pros and cons of this app, I would like to first share my experience after completing one full 21-day course and I will bullet point it for convenience –
- I definitely stuck to my habit of meditation for the entire duration except for that one time when I slipped up on the second day, (which I still regret by the way)
- I felt emotionally more balanced and saw that I was less prone to tears welling up in my eyes when someone talked to me in a slightly higher tone (yes, I might be a law student but I am an over sensitive person and I am working towards becoming more balanced)
- I was strangely more energetic but that might also be because i sneaked a nap while meditating.
- I was much more productive and less anxious about rushing through the day. However, I suspect this might a placebo because if I meditated (a rather hard habit for me) I counted the day as a win and this motivated me to keep working harder and finish up my to-do list.
- Further, as an experiment, I stopped meditating for another 3-4 months I can definitely feel the huge difference with mood swings and energy levels. Just a disclaimer, lack of meditation is not the only cause of my miserable life right now, but rather an accumulation of bad habits I developed like sleeping less, not exercising, eating too much sugar etc., I am currently following the morning pages method as a way of creative meditation and if I see results I will definitely let you know.
- The first thing I noticed about Atom was its gorgeous minimal interface and beautiful graphics. I was stumped by its efficiency and beauty.
- The reason I praise it to the skies is because it follows the atomic habit system so perfectly (hence the term ‘atom’ I suppose) It took away my headache of applying the atomic habit lessons and also showed me how I can actually apply them for other similar habits
- It has a habit tracking system along with the principle of ‘never break the chain’ which is elucidated in the book and why it is beneficial in many ways namely – habit tracking motivates us and provides us with a visual view of our progress and hard work.
- Even before we begin meditation, the first thing the app asks us to do is fill in the implementation intention along with a habit stacking template which is basically in the form of -“After [CURRENT HABIT], I will l [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].” which makes the habit more concrete and gives a predetermined plan to follow
- It has these bite-sized articles for each session which are usually a bit about atomic habits and meditation. Further, there are quizzes which ensures you retain the information. It caught me off guard the first time and that is when I realised how much I skimmed and how less I actually read. So another point for adding in mindfulness
- In the course of 21 days, it teaches us many different kinds of meditation techniques, a new one each day and I absolutely enjoyed it. One of the main reasons I hated meditation was that I found it repetitive but after learning about the existence of so many techniques I was thrilled. My personal favourite was sound meditation since it required us to concentrate on the sound in the surrounding and this was perfect because most meditation sessions required a calm place but in my household, such a place didn’t exist. I have done this any time I feel anxious and it has worked Every. Single. Time.
- The sessions are voiced very well and are pretty short too (the longest one being 11 minutes), which is excellent for beginners.
- It is completely free and has no ads whatsoever, which is mind-boggling because the value it offers is downright premium. I am so thankful to all the creators for this app!
- It gives us awards for each session completed in the form of a virtual tree in the forest which makes the habit feel like a game as well as these lovely encouraging messages that simply make my day!
- At the end of the 21 days session, it gives us a list of other FREE resources, a lot of which I didn’t know about and I am going to try. I do think that is so wonderful of them to compile a list for us.
- And most importantly the team is amazing, kind and insert all the good adjectives you know to describe marvellous people. When the app crashed they personally emailed us with an alternative link to youtube playlist of meditation sessions and also they get in touch in between sessions to get feedback and talk. I initially thought it was a bot but turns out I was chatting with the founder himself! Needless to say, I was shook.
- The app can lag or be slow at times but not often so I don’t mind it especially since it is pure content and no annoying ads.
- If you skip sessions then there is a mismatch between the session and the article related to it, (I learnt that the hard way) and there is no way to remedy it which is a good thing I suppose since it would be like a negative way to motivate you. But now with the playlist that can be easily remedied.
Do I recommend it?
Yes. a definite yes especially if you are a beginner.
That’s it, for today’s post. Until next time – HAPPY HUSTLIN’ HON