Want to learn the secret to success? According to the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear, it all depends on the habits you perform every day. Here’s my review of the book, some thoughts, and my favorite quotes.
You can buy the book here >> (This is an affiliate link for Amazon, but all opinions are my own).
A person who succeeds, and a person who fails, can both have the exact same goal. The important difference is what atomic habits they each live with. Big changes don’t happen from one single sporadic action, but from consistent actions over time. – This is the central point of the book “Atomic Habits”
It’s the execution of those small atomic habits that leads to success in the long haul. James also stresses that you need to challenge yourself, by always adjusting your habits to become more and more challenging. It’s when you’re being challenged that you’re growing.
James also mentions that this isn’t only good for career goals, but also for studies, relationships, and health.
Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.
Atomic Habit was a really engaging and interesting read. I think that Jame Clear has an interesting and almost scientific way of thinking about atomic habits. Using his methods, one will probably discover a very effective way of reaching one’s goal without feeling overwhelmed, at the same time as one is focusing on long-term success.
I don’t think that the ideas are revolutionary, or anything entirely new. It’s probably something that you already had thought about before. But still, it can be really helpful to think about habits in a more systematic way and as a tool. And also, I personally at least, get very inspired by thinking that reaching goals doesn’t need to be based on huge, life-changing actions, but rather small habits done continuously. These thoughts take away any intimidation I may have over some of my goals.
I like that he mentions breakthrough moments; the moments where the result of all the “invisible” hard work suddenly is visible. The concept of this is so true in my experience. The daily and continuous work you put in isn’t very visible from day to day, but after a few years, it looks like you suddenly got lucky. But any person who has continuously had to work towards challenging goals knows that all the work is done before the big moment. And this book is a good reminder that good work and valuable habits are never a waste, they are just being stored.
Focus on systems instead of goals
During most of my life, I’ve been a person who has been very focused on the end goal (the moment I reach financial independence, graduate from university, get my dream job, buy my own apartment, and so on). I have been what they call a goal-oriented individual.
But the point James makes is that we shouldn’t be so goal-oriented, but instead be process-oriented. Because being too goal-oriented locks us in, it gives us a binary scale of either I’m successful and happy, or unsuccessful and unhappy. By focusing on the process and journey instead of the goal, we can be happy and fulfilled while we are working toward our goals. And I really love this way of thinking.
When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.
I have realized how much happiness I’ve lost by waiting to be happy until I’ve reached my goals. Because, once you reach your goal, the moment soon passes. I’ve had the experience of being happy for maybe 30 minutes after achieving a goal that I’ve been working towards for years. Instead, I could’ve been happy and fulfilled during the process of achieving those goals. So, that’s one very big take-away from this book, that I’m going to be incorporating into my life.
How I can apply this to my life
I’ve already been cultivating a couple of atomic habits in my own life for a few years now. For example: exercising for 30 min every day, intermittent fasting, and saving and investing money each month. But to gain something additional from this book, I’m going to apply one of his specific advice: to always adjust your atomic habits to become more and more challenging.
Currently, I’m working towards my goal of making a living from my blog. It’s a clear goal that I think about often, but just thinking about it won’t make it magically happen. So, instead, I need to start a new atomic habit to help me reach that goal. During the first year of working on building this website, I had the goal of writing one article a week. But, I’m going to adjust this habit to a more challenging one now.
My new atomic goal is going to be:
- Write at least one new blog post every day
- And after that, I’ll add: Promote one of my blog articles every single day.
So the idea is that over time, by writing a new article every day and promoting my articles every day, I’ll be able to build up my blog so much that I’ll be able to live off it. Perhaps I’ll return to this article in a few years with an update on how it went!
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.
It’s easy to overestimate the improtance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.
The difference a tiny imporvement can make over time is astounding.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits mulitply as you repeat them.
It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones become strikingly apparent.
Success is the product of daily habits – not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.
It doesn’t matter how successfull or unsuccessful you are right now. What matters is whether your habits are putting you on the path toward success. You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.
Interested in reading more?
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