“Atomic Habits” by James Clear is one of my all time favorite books that changed how I approach habits and high performance. I found it easier to start applying and see results than the Power of Habit. Three points in his book that stick out to me are:
#1. Building habits is more about consistency than quantity at the start. Starting with 2 minutes every day is more likely to build a habit then doing inconsistent 8 hour projects once or twice a month.
If you get 1% better at something compounding every day for a year, you will be over 36 times as good at it as when you began.
It works like compound interest. He makes the point that we should focus on one habit at a time to master it until the habit is automatic and lays a foundation for the next habit. He says that habits do not add to each other, they multiply. They enable us to do things we never thought possible.
#2. What you do shapes who you become. Building habits is about building an identity. “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” Habits are consistent votes for an identity and are worth much more than actions. One of my favorite quotes from his book is this:
“The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.
The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.
The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.”
#3. Keeping the progress you have is more important than making new progress. The days you don’t feel like it are the most important days. If you do something when you don’t feel like it, it reinforces the identity you are creating. In math terms: If you have $100 and and see a 50% increase to $150, it only takes a 33% loss to get you right back where you started.
Go forth and create new habits slowly, but consistently. Build a new identity and don’t forget that the hard days are the most important. This video is an excellent introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNeXuCYiE0U If there is something you have learned about habits that I didn’t mention, please leave your thoughts in the comments.