How to become 37.78 times better at anything | Atomic Habits summary (by James Clear) (1)
Do you ever feel like you're just floating through
life...but not actually getting closer to the person that you want to be.
It usually happens around New years, you imagine all the bad habits your going to break free from,
and all the good habits you will begin.
“This time it will be different” you say to yourself. This time I
AM going to do the things that I say I will.
Only to end up back where you began shortly after and no closer to what you had envisaged.
So the question is, how do you become the person you dream of becoming? How do you break free
from bad habits and make the habits you desire easier and automatic?
Atomic Habits by James Clear answers all these questions.
We are going to be doing a detailed visual summary of this book, And dive deep into topics like
Habit loops Dopamine spikes
Priming your environment Plus heaps more
And make sure to stick around until the end of the video where we tie everything
together from the video and I go step by step through how I've personally been using
this book with my own habits and how you can start applying it to your own habits.
I hope this summary inspires you to go out and grab a copy of the book for yourself
because this book deserves a space on everyone's bookshelf!
Let's jump into it
Imagine a plane taking off and travelling from New York to Los Angeles.
Just before takeoff you adjust the plane just slightly by 3 degrees
or around 80 inches. If you kept flying in a straight line...You would end up closer
to Tijuana in Mexico than in your intended destination of Los Angeles.
The same goes for our habits. Tiny changes in our habits
can change the trajectory of our lives in ways that we can't even notice
until many years into the future looking back. In both good ways and bad. You are your habits.
The Power of Atomic Habits
“A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination”.
Massive action Vs 1% improvements
Far too often, we convince ourselves that massive success is only possible through massive action
in any goal we are pursuing. We expect ourselves to make some quantum leap or
momentous improvement that will gain others attention.
However it is the tiny improvements, that aren't even noticeable at first,
that create incredible change.
Let's look deeper into the Math
1% better every day for a year will compound to nearly 38 times better.
1% worse every day for over a year will bring you close to zero!
Your habits can compound against you in the form of things like stress or negative self-talk.
Or they can compound for you in the form of things like knowledge,
productivity, skills and relationships.
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in
a lifetime transformations”
The Truth About progress
When you start any endeavour in your life, here is what we think should happen. Linear progress.
Here is what actually happens. Notice this section here. In the beginning,
small changes in our progress are not even noticeable.
James Clear refers to this part of the graph as “the valley of disappointment”
You've done so much! Put in so much effort and you can barely see any results!
This is where most people fail and slip back into their old routines.
The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed so Patience is required.
Goals Vs Systems.
“ FORGET ABOUT GOALS, FOCUS ON SYSTEMS INSTEAD”
A goal is the result you want to accomplish. Systems deal
with the processes that lead to results.
The conventional wisdom suggests that the best way to achieve anything we want in life-getting
into better shape, building a successful business,
spending more time with family is to set specific, realistic goals.
But if you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system,
would you still succeed?
The Author argues that you would.
Here are some problems with only having goals. Successful and unsuccessful people share the
same goals, so therefore the goal can not be what differentiates winners from losers.
Achieving a goal only changes your life for a moment in time.
Goals can create an either-or conflict. Either you achieve the goal and succeed,
or you don't and you are a failure. Even if you were making progress in the right direction
When you achieve a goal, what do you do after? If your goal was running the local marathon,
chances are after completing it, your motivation will quickly fade
and you will just slip back into your old routines.
“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress”
A SYSTEM OF ATOMIC HABITS
The problem with changing your habits is not you. The reason why you repeat the same bad habit for
so long isn't because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.
Atomic habits are small routines and behaviors that accumulate to produce incremental positive
outcomes over time. Big breakthroughs tend to get more attention than small improvements.
But what really matters are the little daily decisions and actions we take.
“Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules,
atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results”.
There are 3 layers to behavior change.
The first layer is changing outcomes.The result. Losing that weight, writing that book,
winning the season. The outcomes are what you get
The Second layer is changing your process. What you do.
The new workout routine, developing a daily reading habit.
And the third layer is changing your identity. What you believe.
Your worldviews and how you think about yourself and others.
Most people focus on the outcomes but the best way to change your habits
is by focusing on the person you want to become instead of the results you want.
The goal isn't to learn an instrument, it is to become a musician.
The goal isn't to run a marathon, It is to become a runner.
When something you want in your life becomes part of your identity,
that is when your behaviors will naturally change.
When you tell yourself and others “I'm a runner”. You want to live up to that identity.
Every Time you do a workout, you are an athlete.
Every time you write a line of code, you are a coder.
Each time you instruct your team, you are a leader.
The Habit Loop A habit is when
something has been repeated enough times that it becomes automatic.
Ultimately we want our habits to solve problems in our lives with the least amount of effort.
A habit is formed and reinforced by means of a continuous feedback loop:
Cue + Craving + Response + Reward. The key to creating habits that stick
is to create feedback loops that are continuously being improved.
Cue. Phone buzz. Craving. Want to know who messaged.
Response. Pick up phone. Reward. Solve the problem of who messaged.
Cue. Mind goes blank at work. Craving. Want to alleviate the frustration.
Response. Check social media. Reward. Satisfied the need to feel less frustrated
Over time, rewards become associated with cues.
So, in this example, checking social media becomes tied to your mind going blank at work.
And then checking Facebook may be the cue to check Instagram, which becomes the cue to check YouTube.
And before you know it, your mind going blank cue has led to 20 minutes of wasted time.
And you more you repeat these habit loops, the stronger and more automatic they become.
Cues can really be anything. A smell, a sound a sight, a person, a location etc.
Try to think of any cues in your daily life that are initiating your good or bad habit loops.
So how can we influence the habit loop to work for us?
This book shows us the 4 laws that will guide us to do just that.
Law 1 Make it obvious
Most of your current habits are so automatic that you don't even realize them. You must first become
aware of your habits before you can change them. You can achieve that with your Habit Scorecard.
Write down all your daily behaviors on a habits scorecard,
from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.
Your scorecard may look something like this.
Based on whether it helps you become the person you aspire to be,
categorize each habit as positive (+), negative (-), or neutral (=).
At this stage we aren't trying to change anything,
just observe what is actually going on in our daily lives.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call
it fate.” Carl Yung
Vagueness is a real problem when it comes to habit formation, and studies have shown that quite often
the reason people fail to stick to a habit is not because of a lack of motivation,
but because of a lack of clarity. “One day, I will get into shape” is easy to say to yourself
but too vague to get any momentum. What you need is a time and a place.
The most common cues—time and location—will help you achieve your goals.
Clearly state your intention to act using the following formula:
I will behavior at time in this location.
Here is a bad example,
“I will read more this month”
Here is a good example
“I will read a book for 15 minutes daily at 6am in the spare bedroom”.
Another good way to get a habit started is by Habit stacking.
To stack habits, tie a desired habit to an existing habit according to the following formula:
“After [current habit], I will [new habit]”.
“After I brush my teeth, I will stretch for 5 minutes”.
You can stack habits together, for example after you finish brushing your teeth,
you will meditate for 10 minutes, then plan the rest of your day, before checking social media.
A “chain of habits” is more likely to be sustained if you practice this consistently.
Choosing the correct trigger is essential. YOU NEED A TRIGGER CUE
Your trigger should be;
something that you do automatically without fail during your day,
such as waking up, turning off your alarm or brushing your teeth.
James Clear tells us in the book that Motivation is highly overrated.
You can better shape your behavior by designing your environment.
We are more influenced by our environment than our willpower or motivation.
It's hard to stick to positive habits in a negative environment.
“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.”
Creating a habit requires you to redesign the space around you (home/work) to
1 - make it easier to see the cues for the desired habits and
2 - avert bad habits by making them invisible.
If you want to drink more water, make the cues visible and obvious. Place water bottles around
the house in places you are likely to see them. Want to read more? place the book somewhere you
will see it. If you want to get better on the guitar, don't leave it out of sight in a closet.
CONTEXT IS THE CUE
Objects in the environment do not determine our behavior; rather, it is our relationship to them
that does. Stop seeing your environment as a place simply filled with objects.
Imagine it as a place filled with relationships. The couch in the living room is the place where
one person reads an hour a night. For another, the couch is where they watch Netflix and eat pizza
and relax after work. If your relationship with the couch is a place to relax,
then trying to get a work related task done in that environment may be difficult.
Try to make separate zones in your house for different activities.
The author likes to use the mantra “One space, One use”