Do you ever feel like you’re just floating through life…
but not actually getting closer to the person that you want to be.
It usually happens around New years,
you imagine all the bad habits you are gonna to break free from,
and all the good habits you will begin.
“This time it will be different” you say to yourself.
This time I AM going to do the things that I say I will.
Only to end up back where you began shortly after
and no closer to what you had envisaged.
So the question is,
How do you break free from bad habits
and make the habits you desire easier and automatic?
Atomic Habits by James Clear answers all these questions.
We are going to be doing a fast-pathed detailed summary of this book,
and dive deep into topics like Habit loops, Dopamine spikes
Priming your environment Plus heaps more
And make sure to stick around until the end of the video
where I go through step by step how I’m personally using this book
to improve my own habits.
I hope this summary inspires you to go out and grab a copy of the book for yourself
because this book deserves a space on everyone’s bookshelf!
Let’s jump into it
Imagine a plane taking off and travelling from New York to Los Angeles.
Just before take off you adjust the plane just slightly by 3 degrees or around 80 inches.
If you kept flying in a straight line…
You would end up closer to Tijuana in Mexico
than in your intended destination of Los Angeles.
The same goes for our habits.
Tiny changes in our habits
can change the trajectory of our lives in ways that we can’t even notice
until many years into the future looking back.
In both good ways and bad.
You are your habits.
The Power of Atomic Habits
“A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life
to a very different destination”.
Massive action Vs 1% improvements
Far too often, we convince ourselves that massive success
is only possible through massive action in any goal we are pursuing.
We expect ourselves to make some quantum leap or
momentous improvement that will gain others attention.
However it is the tiny improvements, that aren’t even noticeable at first,
that create incredible change.
Let’s look deeper into the Math
1% better every day for a year will compound to nearly 38 times better.
But 1% worse every day over a year will bring you close to zero!
Your habits can compound against you
in the form of things like stress or negative self-talk.
Or they can compound for you
也能以知识 生产力 技能 人际关系等形式
in the form of things like knowledge, productivity, skills and relationships.
“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in a lifetime transformations”
The Truth About progress
When you start any endeavour in your life,
here is what we think should happen. Linear progress.
But here is what actually happens.
Notice this section here. In the beginning,
small changes in our progress are not even noticeable.
James Clear refers to this part of the graph as “the valley of disappointment”
You’ve done so much! Put in so much effort
and you can barely see any results!
This is where most people fail and slip back into their old routines.
The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed
so patience is required.
Goals Vs Systems.
“ FORGET ABOUT GOALS, FOCUS ON SYSTEMS INSTEAD”
A goal is the result you want to accomplish.
Systems deal with the processes that lead to results.
The conventional wisdom suggests that the best way to achieve anything we want in life-
be it getting into better shape,
building a successful business,
or spending more time with family
is to set specific, realistic goals.
But if you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system,
would you still succeed?
The Author of this book argues that you would.
Here are some problems with only having goals.
Successful and unsuccessful people share the same goals,
so therefore the goal can not be what differentiates winners from losers.
Achieving a goal only changes your life for that moment in time.
Goals can create an either-or conflict.
Either you achieve the goal and succeed,
or you don’t and you are a failure.
Even if you were making progress in the right direction
When you achieve a goal, what do you do after?
If your goal was running the local marathon,
chances are after completing it,
your motivation will quickly fade
and you will just slip back into your old routines.
“Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress”
A SYSTEM OF ATOMIC HABITS
The problem with changing your habits is not you.
The reason why you repeat the same bad habit for so long
isn’t because you don’t want to change,
but because you have the wrong system for change.
Atomic habits are small routines and behaviors that accumulate
to produce incremental positive outcomes over time.
Big breakthroughs tend to get more attention than small improvements.
But what really matters are the little daily decisions and actions we take.
“Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules,
atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results”.
There are 3 layers to behavior change.
The first layer is changing outcomes.The result.
Losing that weight, writing that book, winning the season.
减重 写书 在赛季中获胜
The outcomes are what you get.
The Second layer is changing your process. What you do.
The new workout routine, or developing a daily reading habit.
And the third layer is changing your identity. What you believe.
Your worldviews and how you think about yourself and others.
Most people focus on the outcomes
but the best way to change your habits
is by focusing on the person you want to become
instead of the results you want.
The goal isn’t to learn an instrument,
it is to become a musician.
The goal isn’t to run a marathon,
It is to become a runner.
When something you want in your life becomes part of your identity,
that is when your behaviors will start to naturally change.
When you tell yourself and others “I’m a runner”.
You want to live up to that identity.
Every Time you do a workout, you are an athlete.
Every time you write a line of code, you are a coder.
Each time you instruct your team, you are a leader.
The Habit Loop
A habit is when something become repeated enough times
that it becomes automatic.
Ultimately we want our habits to solve problems in our lives
with the least amount of effort.
A habit is formed and reinforced by means of a continuous feedback loop:
Cue + Craving + Response + Reward.
The key to creating habits that stick
is to create feedback loops that are continuously being improved.
Cue. Phone buzz.
Craving. Want to know who messaged.
Response. Pick up phone.
Reward. Solve the problem of who messaged.
Cue. Mind goes blank at work.
Craving. Want to alleviate the frustration.
Response. Check social media.
Reward. Satisfied the need to feel less frustrated
Over time, rewards become associated with cues.
So, in this example, checking social media becomes
因此 在这个例子中 查看社交媒体
tied to your mind going blank at work.
And then checking Facebook may be the cue to check Instagram,
which becomes the cue to check YouTube.
And before you know it,
your mind going blank cue has led to 20 minutes of wasted time.
And the more you repeat these habit loops,
the stronger and more automatic they become.
Cues can really be anything.
A smell, a sound, a sight,
一种气味 一个声音 一幕场景
a person, a location etc.
一个人 一处地点 等等
Try to think of any cues in your daily life
that are initiating your good or bad habit loops.
So how can we influence the habit loop to work for us?
This book shows us the 4 laws that will guide us to do just that.
Law 1 Make it obvious
Most of your current habits are so automatic
that you don’t even realize them.
You must first become aware of your habits before you can change them.
You can achieve that with your Habit Scorecard.
Write down all your daily behaviors on a habits scorecard,
from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.
Your scorecard may look something like this.
Based on whether it helps you become the person you aspire to be,
categorize each habit as positive (+), negative (-), or neutral (=).
At this stage we aren’t trying to change anything,
but just observe what is actually going on in our daily lives.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” Carl Yung
你的人生就会被它引导 而你将其称之为命运” 心理学家荣格
Vagueness is a real problem when it comes to habit formation,
and studies have shown that quite often the reason people fail to stick to a habit
is not because of a lack of motivation,
but because of a lack of clarity.
“One day, I will get into shape” is easy to say to yourself
but too vague to get any momentum.
What you need is a time and a place.
The most common cues—time and location—
will help you achieve your goals.
Clearly state your intention to act using the following formula:
I will behavior at time in this location.
Here is a bad example,
“I will read more this month”
Here is a good example
“I will read a book for 15 minutes daily at 6am in the spare bedroom”.
Another good way to get a habit started is by Habit stacking.
To stack habits, tie a desired habit to an existing habit
according to the following formula:
“After [current habit], I will [new habit]”.
“After I brush my teeth, I will stretch for 5 minutes”.
You can stack habits together,
for example after you finish brushing your teeth, you will meditate for 10 minutes,
例如 你刷完牙后 会冥想10分钟
then plan the rest of your day, before checking social media.
A “chain of habits” is more likely to be sustained if you practice this consistently.
Choosing the correct trigger is essential.
YOU NEED A TRIGGER CUE.
Your trigger should be something that you do automatically without fail during your day,
such as waking up, turning off your alarm or brushing your teeth.
比如 醒来 关掉闹钟 或是刷牙这类事情
James Clear tells us in the book that Motivation is highly overrated.
James Clear在本书中说 动力的作用其实被高估了
You can better shape your behavior by designing your environment.
We are more influenced by our environment than our willpower or motivation.
It’s hard to stick to positive habits in a negative environment.
“Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.”
Creating a habit requires you to redesign the space around you.
1 – make it easier to see the cues for the desired habits and
2 – avert bad habits by making them invisible.
If you want to drink more water, make the cues visible and obvious.
Place water bottles around the house in places you are likely to see them.
Want to read more? Place the book somewhere you will see it.
If you want to get better on the guitar,
don’t leave it out of sight in a closet.
CONTEXT IS THE CUE
Objects in the environment do not determine our behavior;
rather, it is our relationship to them that does.
Stop seeing your environment as a place simply filled with objects.
Imagine it as a place filled with relationships.
The couch in the living room is the place where one person reads an hour a night.
For another, the couch is where they watch Netflix and eat pizza and relax after work.
If your relationship with the couch is a place to relax,
then trying to get a work related task done in that environment
may be difficult.
Try to make separate zones in your house for different activities.
The author likes to use the mantra “One space, One use”
If you are trying to eliminate a bad habit,
you can only rely on self-control in the short-term.
Cutting off bad habits at the source is a more reliable solution
and one of the most practical ways to eliminate a bad habit
is to make it invisible.
Eliminate it from your environment.
Put your phone in another room for a few hours
if you have trouble getting work done.
Put junk food out of sight or remove it from your house
if you are trying to lose weight.
Law 2 Making it Attractive
When we expect to be rewarded, we take action.
The more rewarding an action is, the more likely we are to repeat it
until it becomes a habit.
Hence, the first step to forming good habits is to make them more attractive.
Understanding how dopamine affects your body will help you
Our motivation levels are affected by dopamine,
a hormone and neurotransmitter.
We are more motivated to act when our dopamine levels rise.
By measuring dopamine,
scientists can pinpoint the exact moment at which a craving occurs.
It was once assumed that dopamine was just about pleasure,
but now we know it’s vital to many neurological functions,
including motivation, memory, learning, punishment as well as voluntary movement.
包括动力 记忆 学习 惩罚 以及有意识的行动
The hormone dopamine is released not only when we experience pleasure
but also when we anticipate it.
“Gambling addicts have a dopamine spike right before they place a bet,
not after they win”.
Let’s dive deeper into dopamine spikes.
Using social media, eating junk food and taking drugs
使用社交媒体 吃垃圾食品 嗑药
are all associated with high levels of dopamine
and are highly habit forming.
Think about before going on a vacation.
Sometimes the thinking and anticipation of the vacation
is better than the actual vacation.
Seeing the junk food you desire surges dopamine,
not after eating it.
Drug addicts increase dopamine when they see the drugs,
not after taking them.
The craving is what causes us to take action in the first place.
Making our habits attractive is vital
because it is the expectation of a rewarding experience that drives us to act.
Here, you can use a strategy known as Temptation bundling
The temptation bundling process makes a habit more attractive
by combining an action we need to do with one we want to do.
For example you could bundle watching Netflix (something you want to do)
with working out (something you need to do).
Temptation bundling applies a psychology principle known as Premack’s Principle.
Developed by professor David Premack, the Premack principle states,
“More probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors.”
In other words, even if you’re not looking forward to doing some exercise,
you’ll become conditioned to do it
because you get to do something else you really enjoy.
We are continually wondering
“What will others think of me?”
and altering our behavior based on the answer.”
We are influenced by the people closest to us, and the groups we belong to.
If you are trying to build a new habit,
one of the best ways to reinforce the habit
is to find and become part of a culture where that habit is the norm.
If you want to get into better shape, surround yourself with fit people.
If you want to read more, join a book club.
Primal motivators : The source of cravings
In your normal everyday life you wouldn’t say something to yourself like
“I want to eat this pizza because I need to consume this food to survive”
Surface level cravings are merely manifestations of our deeper underlying motives.
And these underlying motives guide our behavior.
Here are some examples from the book of underlying motives:
Conserving energy Obtaining food and water Finding love and reproducing
保存能量 获取食物和水 寻找爱情 繁衍后代
Connecting and bonding with others Winning social acceptance and approval
Reducing uncertainty Achieving status and prestige
Your brain did not evolve with a desire
to smoke cigarettes, check Instagram every 5 minutes or to play video games.
抽烟 每5分钟查看一次Ins 或者打电子游戏这些欲望
Online platforms and products do not invent new motivations,
but rather appeal to the underlying motives of human nature
that we already have to gain our attention.
“Your habits are modern-day solutions to ancient desires.
New versions of old vices.
The underlying motives behind human behavior remain the same”
People who have the underlying motive of connecting with others
may jump onto Facebook,
others seeking the underlying motive of finding love and reproducing
may sign up for Tinder.
If you want to reduce uncertainty, there’s Google for that.
Seeking social acceptance, there is Instagram.
Reprogramming your brain to enjoy hard habits
“You can make hard habits more attractive
if you can learn to associate them with a positive experience.”
By highlighting the benefits of a habit rather than its downsides,
you can quickly reprogram your mind
and make it seem more appealing.
Fitness = health and wellbeing and not fatigue.
Cleaning the house = an environment conducive to peace of mind and not wasted time.
Saving money = future financial freedom and not sacrifice.
Make it Unattractive.
To break a bad habit,
do the same but highlight the benefits of NOT doing that habit
to make it as unattractive to keep doing as possible.
Law 3 – Make it Easy
How long does it actually take to form a new habit?
During habit formation, a behavior becomes increasingly automatic
as it is repeated.
As you repeat an activity,
your brain changes in order to become more efficient at it.
Long before neuroscientists dug into the process of forming habits,
repetition was known as a powerful tool for establishing habits.
You activate particular neural circuits associated with habits
every time you repeat them.
So framing habit formation in terms of time is flawed.
It should be framed in terms of the number of repetitions.
Reducing Friction : The Law of Least Effort
The more energy required, the less likely it is to happen.
It takes almost no energy to get into the habit of
reading one page of a book each day.
Habits are more likely to occur when they require less energy.
The bigger the obstacle,
the more friction there is between you and the desired outcome.
If you need to travel 20 minutes out of your way to go to the gym,
chances are you will not.
But if your gym is located on your commute to work,
you will greatly decrease the friction.
By making your good habits more convenient,
you’re more likely to stick to them.
Your life will be easier if you find ways to reduce friction
rather than trying to solve it.
In order to build better habits,
we have to find ways to reduce friction associated with our good habits
and increase friction associated with our bad habits
Priming the environment for use
By automating or setting up your environment,
you can reduce the friction for future action,
e.g. “I will lay out my workout clothes the night before
so when I get up, I can get moving in the morning.”
Or to prepare a healthier breakfast,
place the pan on the stove, cooking spray on the counter
and gather the ingredients the night before.
Again to reduce any friction.
Using the Two-Minute Rule to Stop Procrastinating
Using the “2-minute rule” can help you establish small habits
that will lead to success in bigger ones.
Find a simple 2-minute version of your desired habit.
You want to scale down your desired outcome.
Running a marathon becomes putting on your shoes and stretching for 2 minutes.
Reading an hour per day becomes reading one page.
You need to get the routine anchored in place and then slowly build up the difficulty.
After you have mastered the 2-minute habit,
you can progress to the next phase;
To make something more difficult,
think about ways you can create barriers of friction
between yourself and the bad habit.
Make it as impractical as possible.
If you want to watch less TV,
unplug the TV after each use
and put the remote in an inconvenient location.
When you go shopping, leave your credit cards under the seat of your car
if you have a bad habit of spontaneous spending.
Do anything you can to make your Bad habits less likely to occur.
Law 4 -Make it satisfying
The most important rule of behavior change
A feeling of pleasure is a message to the brain:
“This feels good. Let’s repeat this next time.”
When you experience pleasure,
your brain learns that a behavior is worth remembering and repeating.
“What is immediately rewarded is repeated.
What is immediately punished is avoided”.
The first Three laws increase your chances of doing the habit this time.
The last law increases your chances of repeating the habit next time.
The Mismatch between immediate and delayed returns
It is common for us to feel good about our immediate results,
but bad about our long-term outcomes when we practice bad habits.
It is the opposite with good habits:
the immediate result is unpleasant,
but the ultimate outcome is satisfying.
A certain amount of success in just about every field involves
ignoring an immediate reward for a long-term one.
It is best to add a little immediate pleasure
to the habits that will pay off in the long run
and a little pain to those that won’t.
“The vital thing in getting a habit to stick is to feel successful—
even if it’s in a small way.
The feeling of success is a signal that your habit paid off
and that the work was worth the effort.”
It is satisfying to make progress,
and you can monitor your progress using visual measures,
such as moving paper clips, hairpins, or marbles.
These “little wins” can go a long way.
For example, for each sales call you make today,
move a marble from one jar to the complete jar.
For Each 25 minutes of writing, move a paperclip
Visual measurements can take many forms:
diet journals, workout logs,
download progress bars, or even page numbers in a book.
Keeping a habit tracker may be the best method to monitor your progress.
Using a habit tracker is a simple way to determine
whether you did a particular habit.
Tracking becomes a reward in and of itself
Crossing a task off your to-do list
completing an entry in your exercise log
or writing an X on the calendar is satisfying
In spite of your best efforts,
it is inevitable that life will interrupt you at some point.
A bad day at work, a bad performance, or a bad workout
工作不如意 表现得不好 锻炼出问题
can happen to anyone.
When you’re having a bad day,
you don’t realize how valuable it is to just show up.
“Lost days hurt you more than successful days help you.”
Don’t break the chain.
Every time you cross a day off your calendar for a given habit
you are creating a chain.
Showing up is so important.
Miss two days or links in a row is the start of a bad habit.
Even if you usually do 50 push-ups.
Just do 10 on that given day.
If that means not breaking the chain.
Breaking a bad habit: Make it Unsatisfying
A behavior is less likely to occur when pain is immediate.
Being held accountable by a partner is a good way to keep your desired habits in check.
We all want to be liked and respected,
so we would rather just avoid the punishment that we will be held accountable to.
For example – I owe you $10 every time I miss a workout,
比如 每不锻炼一次 我就欠你10块
plus the respect I lose for failing to do what I said I would!
Your behavior is more likely to be influenced by concrete, and immediate consequences.
The Habit Contract
You can create a habit contract to hold yourself accountable,
just as governments use laws to hold citizens accountable.
You can create a habit contract either verbally or in writing,
which makes it clear that you will honor a particular habit
and there will be punishments if you do not.
You can then use your accountability partners to enforce this contract.
Ok so it’s one thing to read a book,
but another to actually apply it to your life.
So I’m going to try and visually represent how I have personally
been using this book to build systems around my habits the past few months.
After you read the book
maybe your approach will be different than mine or much better,
or maybe there are some parts I completely missed or could improve upon
so do let me know in the comments below.
The Good habits I wanted to develop were
more consistent workout and reading routines.
The Bad habit I wanted to eliminate
was becoming distracted and overconsuming social media.
First I completed the Habit scorecard.
This gave me a good idea of habits I could try to eliminate,
but more importantly it gave me an idea of daily habits I was already doing
that I could stack my new habits with.
Ultimately, when you find the habits you want to work on,
you want to be pushing the desired good habits towards this side of the spectrum,
and bad habits towards this side.
For the working out habit,
The first step was to make the cues more obvious,
and I had a few tools I could use from the book.
In this case I used what James Clear calls the implementation strategy.
I will workout at 6am in the living room.
Next I tried as best I could to design my environment
conducive to this new habit.
I took my dumbbell set out of the closet, and put them in the living room.
I also found a few pictures of healthy physiques on the internet
and put them in places around the house as cues that would remind me of the habit.
Next, I moved on to the craving phase.
To increase dopamine and motivation
I bundle the workout with listening to some of my favorite podcasts.
I also implement reprogramming my brain.
I tell myself repeatedly
I don’t “have to do a workout”
but “ I get to build strength and a healthier body”
That subtle shift in mindset has gone a long way.
Ideally, joining a gym, or finding a group to have people workout with
would be even better to strengthen this habit,
but unfortunately all gyms are closed where I live,
so I’m kind of on my own,
and these two tools will have to suffice for the moment.
Next, making it easy.
Using the 2 minute rule,
to make sure I don’t end up like most people starting a new habit,
that try to do too much too soon.
I want my habit to not feel like a challenge at all.
My 2 minute rule was putting on my workout clothes and stretching.
If that was the only thing I accomplished then that was fine,
because I showed up.
But you will quickly find that once you are there,
you are now motivated to get the workout done.
It is weird but the motivation seems to come after you get the habit started.
My mindset is focused on small 1 percent changes
compounding into meaningful results
AND that my systems will get me to the results, not vague goals.
Remembering that my main focus at this point is just making sure I show up
and start anchoring this habit in place.
Once you are consistently showing up, you can increase the progression.
To decrease friction, I made the rule
that I’m not allowed to check my phone until the workout was complete.
If I get distracted by emails or social media,
It is one excuse and one step of friction
between myself and the workout getting completed.
Lastly, this was a game changer for me,
priming the environment.
When I place my shoes, yoga mat and dumbbells out the night before
I skyrocket my show up and workout percentage.
As soon as I place these items out the night before,
I feel like the ritual has begun
and the workout is already complete
because I have zero excuses.
So with those 3 phases of the loop systemized to get me to show up.
I only had the last phase of the loop left,
which was to make sure I keep repeting the habit.
I use both of these tools somewhat together to close out the loop.
I use a habit tracker, crossing the day off the calendar becomes the reward
and it forces me to not want to break the chain.
I also take a picture of the calories I burnt
and I send the picture to my partner,
and that also increases the satisfaction.
Mindset wise, I begin with identity
and I remind myself after each workout
that “I want to become the kind of person that enjoys fitness and doesn’t miss workouts”
I don’t put all my focus on outcomes
such as I want to be 10kg lighter by such and such a date.
I also remind myself that I need to be patient for results
and that I’m probably still somewhere in this Valley of disappointment
before I will see results!
I went through the same process with the reading habit, with a few minor changes.
在培养阅读习惯时 除了一些小变化 过程大抵相同
So I used the habit stack.
After [making a coffee] I will [read for 90 minutes]
So making a coffee was my trigger cue for reading.
My one space one use rule was reading on the balcony of my apartment.
One of the best parts of my day is a nice cup of coffee in the morning.
So this was the perfect thing for me to bundle my reading habit with.
Remembering how dopamine raises in anticipation of a reward
and not the reward itself.
I wanted this dopamine spike for wanting coffee to
start becoming associated with reading.
My 2 minute rule was to read 1 page of The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday.
Again in the beginning all I was concerned with
was showing up and getting this habit anchored.
Then I slowly built up the habit to around 90 minutes.
For the bad habit I was trying to eliminate
To make the habit invisible,
I started by making my phone as boring as I possibly could,
which required deleting a lot of apps.
I use the reprogramming tool,
to highlight the unattractive side of overconsuming social media.
Telling myself things like
consuming is the easy and lazy option of the masses,
and do I want to be a consumer or a producer?
Random scrolling through feeds is for losers.
So you wanna try to paint your bad habit in a light
that makes it super unattractive to keep doing.
To increase friction, I left my phone in a drawer in another room.
So completely out of sight.
To make it unsatisfying, I have an accountability partner,
I get my partner to enforce this habit.
The punishment is If she sees me using social media during work time,
I owe her $10.
So that is how I have been using this fantastic book guys with great results so far,
Go out and grab a copy of this book for yourself if you haven’t already,
you are going to take in the knowledge at a much deeper level,
from all the stories and examples that James Clear gives you in the book
as well as some advanced techniques, which we didnot cover in this summary
that will help you strengthen your habits.
Good luck in your journey.
Thank you for watching.
See you in the next video.
Do you ever feel like you’re just floating through life…