Atomic Habits

One Line Review One of the best books I’ve read on Habits, with guidance that’s scientifically based, pragmatic, and hands-on.

The One key take-away. What is the most important point the author makes in the book?There’s a science to habit formation and sustenance. Techniques rooted in psychology and neuroscience can help break bad ones and make good ones. Motivation is overrated. We don’t need heroic will power to sustain habits. Choose action over mere motion. Life-altering outcomes are backed by such minuscule actions.

One big learning from the book 💡 : The power of 1% improvement.

It’s easy to overestimate the significance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small important steps on a daily basis. Sometimes improving by 1% isn’t noticeable, but can be meaningful in the long run. Just like money, habits also multiply by compound interest. A 1% change, for the better or the worse, may seem insignificant at the moment but in the long run, will be the difference between who you are and who you would be. Be concerned about the current trajectory and not just the current results.

To obtain a crystal ball look at yourself, follow your tiny curves of gains or losses. Consider an ice cube that melts. It goes from 0°C to 31°C with nothing “visible” happening to its state. We go through similar Valleys of Disappointment, with habits yielding no immediate results. It takes time and effort to get to the break-even point of 32°C, at which changes are visible. Nothings an overnight success. Prepare (mentally) and persevere for delayed rewards.

How did the book impact me? My changed perspectives.

🤔 I used to think that setting goals and sticking to them is the key to success.
Systems are more important than goals. While goals can set the direction and can be used as a compass, littering life with hacks to merely attain goals is not advised. e.g. lose-x pounds-in-y-days videos.

🤔 I used to think habits will result in monotony.
On the contrary, habits institutionalize the fundamentals of life, thereby giving us greater space and time for creative thinking.

🤔 I used to think that Continous Motivation was the key. And that there’s some magic recipe to staying motivated.
Motivation is overrated. Here’s what matters.
✔️Clarity matters. Spell it out as clearly as possible. e.g. I will walk tomorrow -vs – I will walk for 30 minutes at 7 a.m. in the park. Stack habits where possible. Tie them together to improve the probabilities of success. e.g. After my morning meditation, I will go for my walk.

✔️The Environment matters. Sprinkle cues around to prime the environment. e.g. To increase water intake, keep your water bottle at the office desk. Works the other way around for habits that need to be broken too eg: To keep distractions away, keep the phone away from the desk

✔️The Attractiveness of habits matter. Sustainability is as challenging as getting things started. Club with attractive prospects. e.g: If you are tempted to get to the morning news but are trying to cultivate an exercise regimen, try saying- “After my morning run, I will check the news”

✔️The Frequency matters. Habits are formed not based on the time period it’s done but the number of reps. Done is better than perfect. Start small, but start. Establish a habit, then focus on improving it. The 2-minute rule says that starting a new habit should take less than 2 minutes to do. Repetition helps automation. Use technology where possible to automate. e.g. track your step count. You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Having an accountability partner within the family or friends circle is helpful.

✔️✔️(And most of all) Discipline matters. The greatest threat to success is boredom. Staying motivated is difficult. Beyond genetics, talent, and luck, the best athletes are those who can handle the boredom of training every day, lifting the same weights over and over again.

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