Building Atomic Habits, with Brown Girls Read

We chat about Atomic Habits with Daman Tiwana and Khyati Thakur, hosts of the Brown Girls Read podcast.

We are excited to talk to Daman Tiwana and Khyati Thakur, the hosts of the excellent podcast, Brown Girls Read, where they read and discuss one book each episode – and the parts that they loved or related to. 

Daman and Khyati were both raised in India and now live in the Bay Area (where we’re from as well!). They met for the first time at a women’s book club meetup, and though the club wasn’t a good fit, the two of them hit it off. They realized they have very similar tastes in books and could talk about them for hours.

Daman and Khyati started their podcast Brown Girls Read in January 2020. Both Daman and Khyati live in India until they moved to the US for their masters programs, and their discussions about books are through the lens of their unique perspectives and experiences as immigrants and women of color in the US. 

Past episodes of Brown Girls Read have focused on some books that we love as well – Becoming by Michelle Obama, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman (which we talk about at length in Episode 15: Choosing Optimism!), and the book we talk to them about, Atomic Habits by James Clear. 

We chat with Daman and Khyati about books, cocktails, cultural differences, and the habit changes that have stuck after reading Atomic Habits.

Here are a few the favorite tips we discuss:

  • Environmental changes: Instead of changing yourself through motivation and willpower, sometimes changing your environment is enough. We talk about this in Episode 9 of Semi-Together, Change Your Environment to Change Your Habits
  • Habit stacking: “Identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top.” Gretchen Rubin calls this “the strategy of pairing.”
  • Get 1% better: “If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.”
  • The 2-minute rule: “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”

Get It Together / Got It Together

We each share something that we’d like to work on and something that’s going well for us right now.

Melia Get It Together: Having a short fuse with her family, starting from a place of annoyance and anger vs. curiosity and compassion. Fearing normal arguments are catastrophic; it’s helped to remember John Gottman’s research on rupture and repair in close relationships.

Melia’s Got It Together: Using structured habits at work to be more productive and play to the strengths of her ADHD brain. Listen to the ep for a detailed rundown that will likely help neurotypicals, too, including the Pomodoro technique.

Gill’s Get It Together:  Not being consistent about using the tools/ systems she knows work to help keep her focused – like the Pomodoro technique, noise-canceling headphones, making short/reasonable to-do lists.

Gill’s Got It Together: Taking a lot of walking dates with friends in the last couple weeks.

Get In Touch

Tell us about any habit changing hacks that have worked for you, whether from the book Atomic Habits or otherwise. Email us at podcast[at]semitogether.com or send us a voice memo.

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  • Episode 15: Choosing Optimism
  • Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  • Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman
  • Untamed, by Glennon Doyle
  • Becoming, by Michelle Obama
  • The Gifts of Imperfection, Rising Strong, and Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
  • The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
  • All the Words Unspoken, by Serena Kaur
  • Women’s Libation!: Cocktails to Celebrate a Woman’s Right to Booze, by Merrily Grashin