Atomic Habits

by | May 8, 2020

What follows are a couple of takeaways that I gathered from James Clear’s book Atomic Habits.

James Clear is a writer that I’ve been following for years. I learned of Clear by accidentally modeling my personal website off of his. I say accidentally, because I actually modeled it off of someone else’s, and when I reached out to ask is this ok, he showed me that he had modeled his off of Clear’s.

Clear had actually given him the go ahead, so by extension, I felt I was ok too. My personal website is now modeled after GaryVee, but I’m getting off topic. If you don’t know James Clear, he writes a lot about productivity, personal development, and most recently habit formation.

Goals vs. Systemes

One quote stood out to me in particular, because of its counterintuitive nature. It reads:

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

My take on this is that we often think about reaching our goals backwards. Goals achieved are a byproduct of that which we do habitually, thus don’t strive to run 100 miles next month. Instead systematize your routine, to give you the ability to run 3-4 miles each day.

Outcome vs. Identity

In Atomic Habits, Clear also discusses the importance of focusing on identity-based habits vs. outcome-based habits. By coming up short on reaching an outcome-based goal, like running 100 miles in a month, you become far more likely to get discouraged and abandon a practice you’re trying to adopt, than if you change your perspective and make that thing part of who you are.

Thus, I want to run 100 miles this month, becomes I am a runner. Running is not just what you do, it is who you are.

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