Highlights from "Atomic Habits"
By James Clear
when we repeat 1 percent errors, day after day, by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little excuses, our small choices compound into toxic results.
Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.
Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.
When you finally break through the Plateau of Latent Potential, people will call it an overnight success. The outside world only sees the most dramatic event rather than all that preceded it.
Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
if successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals, then the goal cannot be what differentiates the winners from the losers.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
Behind every system of actions is a system of beliefs.
It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.
The most practical way to change who you are is to change what you do.
work backward from the results you want to the type of person who could get those results. Ask yourself, “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”
Quite literally, you become your habits.
Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. In fact, the people who don’t have their habits handled are often the ones with the least amount of freedom.
What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers. You do not crave smoking a cigarette, you crave the feeling of relief it provides.
Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behavior.
Strategies like Pointing-and-Calling and the Habits Scorecard are focused on getting you to recognize your habits and acknowledge the cues that trigger them, which makes it possible to respond in a way that benefits you.
With enough practice, your brain will pick up on the cues that predict certain outcomes without consciously thinking about it.
we never say when and where these habits are going to happen. We leave it up to chance and hope that we will “just remember to do it” or feel motivated at the right time.
The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption that leads to additional purchases.
One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top. This is called habit stacking.
The truth, however, is that many of the actions we take each day are shaped not by purposeful drive and choice but by the most obvious option.
If you want to make a habit a big part of your life, make the cue a big part of your environment.
Remove a single cue and the entire habit often fades away.
Make the cues of your good habits obvious and the cues of your bad habits invisible.
Social media delivers more “likes” and praise in a few minutes than we could ever get in the office or at home.
When it comes to habits, the key takeaway is this: dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it.
It is the anticipation of a reward—not the fulfillment of it—that gets us to take action.
Humans are herd animals. We want to fit in, to bond with others, and to earn the respect and approval of our peers.
Join a culture where (1) your desired behavior is the normal behavior and (2) you already have something in common with the group.
The human mind knows how to get along with others. It wants to get along with others. This is our natural mode. You can override it—you can choose to ignore the group or to stop caring what other people think—but it takes work.
Look at nearly any product that is habit-forming and you’ll see that it does not create a new motivation, but rather latches onto the underlying motives of human nature.
Your current habits are not necessarily the best way to solve the problems you face; they are just the methods you learned to use. Once you associate a solution with the problem you need to solve, you keep coming back to it.
When you binge-eat or light up or browse social media, what you really want is not a potato chip or a cigarette or a bunch of likes. What you really want is to feel different.
You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.
Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done.
habits form based on frequency, not time.
If you can make your good habits more convenient, you’ll be more likely to follow through on them.
Redesign your life so the actions that matter most are also the actions that are easiest to do.
Prime your environment to make future actions easier.
Start by mastering the first two minutes of the smallest version of the behavior. Then, advance to an intermediate step and repeat the process—focusing on just the first two minutes and mastering that stage before moving on to the next level.
Sometimes success is less about making good habits easy and more about making bad habits hard.
With our bad habits, the immediate outcome usually feels good, but the ultimate outcome feels bad. With good habits, it is the reverse: the immediate outcome is unenjoyable, but the ultimate outcome feels good.
This pitfall is evident in many areas of life. We focus on working long hours instead of getting meaningful work done. We care more about getting ten thousand steps than we do about being healthy.
Habits are easier to perform, and more satisfying to stick with, when they align with your natural inclinations and abilities.
Competence is highly dependent on context.
You don’t have to build the habits everyone tells you to build. Choose the habit that best suits you, not the one that is most popular.
The work that hurts you less than it hurts others is the work you were made to do.
Boiling water will soften a potato but harden an egg. You can’t control whether you’re a potato or an egg, but you can decide to play a game where it’s better to be hard or soft.