How Atomic Habits Changed Our Lives


Written by Andrew Arra, RD/LD – Friendship Nutrition

Entering into this new decade, it was amazing to take some time to reflect on the last 10 years of my life. There has been so much change and I have so much to be grateful for, I thought it would be worth sharing! Specifically, 2019 was an enormous growth year for me. I participated in Jack Slavinski’s resiliency seminar at Friendship, I continued to evaluate my own weaknesses and evolved as a professional and athlete, and I have a whole 12 months of fatherhood under my belt. During this time, a member of our community gifted a book to me called Atomic Habits, by James Clear. In the front cover, she fondly wrote: “A good coach can change a game, a great coach can change a life”. This was my anchoring moment in 2019 – realizing not only the impact I can have on a daily basis but the degree of responsibility that falls on my shoulders. 

I remember starting this book, absorbing every word that was printed, and on every page saying out loud to Baby Bear (my wife) “Oh my god, EVERYONE needs to hear this!” It was on that day that the concept for the Wellness Lifestyle Challenge was created. Not 3-4 months later we brought that vision to life, ran our first iteration of the challenge and saw wild success among all participants. I am beyond JAZZED to be bringing the #WLC2.0 to Friendship Dublin & Lewis Center come February 2020!

To reference James Clear, it is unbelievably simple, but not always easy, to implement strategies for habit change. Atomic in this sense meaning small, not large – referencing the degree of change needing to be taken on in order to form meaningful change. Little by little, a little becomes a lot, and I can’t think of three people doing it better than Sean Suttle, Alysa Spittle and Kimmie Wetzel. Each has humbly come in for help on these lifestyle habits and all are A+ students — implementing the strategies we discuss.

These three friends embody what the Wellness Lifestyle Challenge represents. They’ve taken on a few manageable, non-burdensome, tiny aspects of their health & wellness and have seen tremendous results. At the end of the day, they have remained accountable to themselves and put in the work when nobody is looking. Each have a consistent, non-negotiable gym schedule – I can tell you exactly what days and what times each of them will be walking through our doors. Fitness is simply a variable we don’t’ have to worry about. 

Beyond time at their favorite place on earth, I can think of a variety of strategies each have put into place to help them on their journey. Using the power of choice, nutrition has become the crux to their success. This hasn’t been a short term focus leading up to Summer 2020, but small pieces of trial & error led to the sustainable lifestyle plan that works for them. They understood that their first go at nutrition wouldn’t be the plan they maintain themselves on forever – which has continued to help them push through plateaus and maintain their trajectory.

Sleep, water consumption and self care time are staples in their routine. Kimmie makes me so proud and I’m so blessed to have a part in her journey. She’s tackled a lot of her own habit pitfalls and is truly seeing the fruits of her labors. She will be the first to tell you that she’s dubbed herself Grandma Wetzel, as you can find her in bed super early on a Friday night prioritizing sleep. Sean is DIALED IN — recently picking up recovery Yoga x2 days per week to ensure his body stays healthy, to work on mobility, and to get a bit of blood flow to his muscles on his off days from the gym. You can find him set with his eyes on the prize at all times, understanding that hard work pays off and that success is never owned, just rented and rent is due every damn day. Alysa is my Mona Lisa and will probably hate me for saying that. We met  during a corporate wellness event and the rest is really history. She is one of the few people I have been intertwined with since the beginning and we continue to evolve together. She LOVES when I send her videos from week 1 of our time together or when I assure her that I’ve never steered her wrong. Despite the brother & sister back-and-forth, she ALWAYS diligently applies what recommendations I give…and it turns out I’ve truly never steered her wrong! 

At the end of the day, these three simply decided that they weren’t going to wait for one day, they decided in that particular moment that it was time for day one, got to work, and never looked back. The truth is that myself and the rest of the coaches want to help you do the same, and if you’re looking for the stepping stone to do that – the Wellness Lifestyle Challenge 2.0 is for you! The inaugural class continues to wear their T-shirts as badges of honor, and I want to see our 2nd class do the same and continue to live that life they envision for themselves. Are you going to be a member of our next graduating class? Make the choice today and alter your course for the rest of your life. Click the link below and make today day one. 

With love and hugs,

Coach Andy

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