Book review: Atomic Habits
What really fascinated me with the idea of a year of daily 1% improvements is the plot. I went deeper into the math to see detail. For example, how long does it take to get 100% (or 2X) improvement? If you start your daily 1% improvements on January 1, you’ll hit the 2X mark on March 11. You can get twice as good within a single quarter! By the end of Q2, you have 6X improvement. Whether or not you’re familiar with Grant Cardone and his 10X Rule, you’ll hit 10X improvement in you on August 20. A little more than a month later at the end of Q3, you hit 15X improvement. Now you really got momentum, and you fly in Q4, going from 15X to 38X better in just three months. It takes a while to build up, and much of that slow motion is in Q1. But if you can just keep going and build that foundation, you can achieve amazing results in the days to follow.
The other idea that captivated me related to identity. Often when working on improving, we focus on external behavior, because that’s what we really want to see change. I’ve certainly applied that approach religiously in the past. But Clear shows how that’s all backwards. Unless you change your identity to match the new behavior, you’ll sooner or later reject the new behavior because we all are hardwired to act consistently with who we really are. So instead of working from the outside in, we need to work from the inside out. We need to focus on adopting a new identity. So instead of saying, “I will read more,” say, “I am a reader.” Focus on changing the identity, and the behavior will naturally follow.
All throughout the book, Clear ties what modern neuroscience and psychology have to teach us into his approach, so not only is it practical, it leverages the science of your biological hardwiring to your advantage. By working with the way we are naturally designed to function, we can achieve more with doing less. I was so thrilled with what I learned from the book, that I made my own template to help me leverage his approach. Being an engineer, I of course put it into a spreadsheet so I can use it as a template. It’s pretty bare bones right now, and I anticipate the template will evolve as I use it more. But this seems like a good start. To be clear [pun intended], Clear includes all sorts of free materials on his website. I just thought to make my own material so I can adapt it as time goes on for my own use.
There’s more in the book that really opened my mind to a lot of wonderful thoughts, but overall, this book thrills me and fills me with possibilities of achieving all sorts of potential. If you have any interest in achieving goals or establishing any sort of different lifestyle than the one you currently have, pick this book up and read it. You won’t regret it. To the contrary, you’ll be taking a 1% step toward the changed self you want to become.
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