Lately, I’ve been pondering my habits and routines, especially since mornings tend to give me a run for my money. Check out How to Design Your Morning Routine for Success for my secret for crafting beautiful morning routines. I like to think about remarkable people and what routines they may have designed for themselves to become remarkable. When I ponder the word “habit,” my mind often drifts to thoughts of both good and bad habits. Mark Twain’s timeless words echo in my mind:

“Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time. You cannot eliminate habits that no longer serve you. You can only replace them with new habits that support your goals. Moment by moment, you need to live with awareness and structure the habits that you include or exclude in your days.”

Habits, whether beneficial or detrimental, shape our lives in profound ways. Yet, we possess the power to mold them into tools that serve our highest aspirations.

Reflecting on my upbringing, I recall the futile attempts to influence my family members ensnared by the habit of smoking. As a little girl, I was constantly doing things to try to influence those family members to stop smoking. I tried everything my child brain could think of:

  • swishing my hand in front of my face
  • complaining about the smell
  • leaving the room when they were talking to me
  • lecturing them on the dangers of smoking to their health
  • flushing the nasty cigarettes down the toilet

Of course, none of my childish efforts worked in changing their habit of smoking. It was not until I was an adult did these family members stop smoking and by then the damage was done to their health. Despite my earnest efforts, change remained elusive until adulthood. Mark Twain’s wisdom crystallized anew as I realized that transformation requires more than mere coercion—it demands the gentle coaxing of old habits downstairs while ushering in new ones that align with our goals.

When I think about the quote by Mark Twain and my family members, I see that as a child, I couldn’t fling those cigarettes out the window and expect my family members to stop smoking. Perhaps, what I could have done was suggest something to replace the cigarettes with new habits that supported their goals.

For one of my family members my grandmother, it was oil painting that replaced her smoking. At age 50, she stopped smoking and started painting by then she was nearly blind. That didn’t stop her from painting every day. While her paintings will never grace the walls of a museum they are meaningful to me and our family members even after her passing. Sometimes remarkable people are only remarkable to their own families.

Currently, I am re-reading the book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear. I tend to use the words habit and routine interchangeably.  According to James, “A habit is a routine or behavior that is performed regularly—and, in many cases, automatically.”

Atomic Habits by James ClearIf you’re like me and you’re wondering why the book is titled Atomic Habits, James Clear shares:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Focusing on the overall system, rather than a single goal, is one of the core themes of this book. It is also one of the deeper meanings behind the word atomic. By now, you’ve probably realized that an atomic habit refers to a tiny change, a marginal gain, a 1 percent improvement. But atomic habits are not just any old habits, however small. They are little habits that are part of a larger system. Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results. Habits are like the atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement. At first, these tiny routines seem insignificant, but soon they build on each other and fuel bigger wins that multiply to a degree that far outweighs the cost of their initial investment. They are both small and mighty. This is the meaning of the phrase atomic habits—a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do, but also the source of incredible power; a component of the system of compound growth.”

So if we want to be remarkable, we must have remarkable habits! 

Secrets of Remarkable People and Remarkable Routines

How do we determine the remarkable routines to adopt? 

James Clear highlights the lives of many remarkable people in his Atomic Habits book including Ben Franklin, Charles Darwin, Victor Hugo, Steve Martin, Victor Frankl, Leo Babuata, Charles Duhigg and so many more. If you want to incorporate positive habits into your life, consider following a remarkable person’s routines. This is not to say that successful people don’t have bad habits. But overall, they tend to have a higher percentage of good habits. That’s how they got where they are.

Many remarkable people have books written about their success. This makes it easy to find out how they became successful and work towards doing what they did to emulate their success. The more you read about their experiences, the easier it will be to adopt what they have done.
While each remarkable person may have a different set of good habits that they adhere to, there will be some common themes throughout. You will likely find that many of them try to stick to a routine in their day-to-day lives.

Remarkable people, whether they’re artists, authors, or creatives of any kind, often share common threads in their daily routines:

1. Rising with the Sun:

Remarkable individuals often greet the dawn with open arms, embracing the tranquility of early mornings. By awakening at a consistent hour, they seize the day’s precious moments, setting the stage for productivity and creativity.

2. Nourishing the Mind:

Avid readers, they devour knowledge like it’s their morning coffee, drawing inspiration from the wisdom of the ages. Books become their trusted companions, guiding them along the path to enlightenment and innovation.

3. Cultivating Vitality:

In nurturing their bodies, remarkable individuals prioritize health and well-being. Through wholesome nutrition and regular exercise, they fuel their vitality, ensuring peak performance in pursuit of their goals.

4. Mastering the Art of Planning:

With meticulous planning, they sculpt their futures with intention and purpose. Setting clear goals and milestones, they navigate the seas of uncertainty with confidence, adapting their course as needed while staying true to their vision.

5. Embracing the Power of Reflection:

In moments of quiet contemplation, remarkable individuals reflect on their journeys, extracting valuable lessons from both triumphs and setbacks. Through introspection, they refine their strategies, fortifying their resolve for the challenges ahead.

James Clear dishes out four laws for implementing atomic habits that can work wonders for us creative souls too:

The 1st Law = Make It Obvious – Awareness is key—identify your habits first before you can change them into remarkable ones.

The 2nd Law = Make It Attractive –  Set up rewards for yourself to make your habits enticing and irresistible.

The 3rd Law = Make It Easy –  Focus on taking action, not just being in motion—small steps lead to big wins.

The 4th Law = Make It Satisfying  – Celebrate every small victory along the way—it’s these little wins that keep the momentum going.

So, whether you’re aiming for remarkable artistry, penning the next bestseller, or simply living your most vibrant life, remember this: remarkable habits are the compass that guides us on our journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Embrace them, nurture them, and watch as they transform your world, one tiny step at a time. After all, remarkable beginnings often lead to remarkable endings—or perhaps just a remarkable day filled with joy, creativity, and a sprinkling of magic.

Here’s to designing a life that’s as remarkable as you are!

Kimberly “Design” Love is a lifestyle designer and author. After a successful career in interior design and architecture, she redesigned her own life, moved to paradise, and turned her strengths and talents toward helping people design a lifestyle they love. Her latest book, Design Your Life and Business shares her strategy for designing a lifestyle you love. She’s also created the Dreamer’s Guide to Goal Setting


Kimberly Design Love