Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.
- Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat.
- If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses, and see how your daily choices will compound ten or twenty years down the line.
- Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.
- If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your systems instead. You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
- Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.
- Behaviour that is incongruent with the self will not last. You may want more money, but if your identity is someone who consumes rather than creates, then you’ll continue to be pulled toward spending rather than earning.
True behaviour change is identity change:
- You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity.
- If you don’t shift the belief behind the behaviour, then it is hard to stick with long-term changes. Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.
- 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.
- Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your belief, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.
- Each habit not only gets results but also teaches you something far more important: to trust yourself. You start to believe you can actually accomplish these things.
- New identities require new evidence. It is a simple two-step process:
- Decide the person you want to be—what do you want to stand for? What are you principles and values? Who do you wish to become?
- Prove it to yourself with small wins.
- Work backward from the results you want to the type of person who could get those results. Ask yourself, “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?”
- It’s important to let your values, principles, and identity drive the feedback loop rather than your results. The focus should always be on becoming that type of person, not getting a particular outcome.
- Habits are not about having something, but are about becoming someone.
Always look for the way to get 1% better. Take the smallest action that confirms the type of person you want to be.
- The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements. It’s remarkable what you can build if you just don’t stop. It’s remarkable the business you can build if you don’t stop working.
- Small habits don’t add up. They compound.
The process of behaviour change always starts with awareness
- Pointing-and-Calling raises your level of awareness from a non-conscious habit to a more conscious level by verbalising your actions.
- Habit scorecard (negative and positive habits)
The best way to start a new habit
- Implementation intention: A plan you make beforehand about when and where to act.
- Being specific about what you want and how you will achieve it helps you say no to things that derail progress, distract your attention, and pull you off course. When your dreams are vague, it’s easy to rationalize little exceptions all day long and never get around to the specific things you need to succeed.
- Habit stacking: “After [current habit], I will [new habit].
- Design your environment for success. Make the cue a big part of your environment. How do you interact with the spaces around you?
- Want to think more creatively? Move to a bigger room, a rooftop patio, or a building with expansive architecture.
- Create a separate space for work, study, exercise, entertainment, and cooking. One space, one use.
- Disciplined people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control (finite resource). The people with the best self-control are typically the ones who need to use it the least.
- Cut bad habits off at the source. For example: leave your phone in another room while you work. Remove a cue and the habit falls away.
- Make habits attractive because it’s the expectation of a rewarding experience that motivates us to act in the first place.
- With a big enough why you can overcome any how. “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”—Friedrich Nietzsche
- We pick up habits from other people around us. One of the most effective things. You can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour.
Nothing sustains motivation better than belonging to the tribe. It transforms a personal quest into a shared one.
- Whenever we are unsure how to act, we look to the group to guide our behaviour. We are constantly scanning our environment and wondering, “What is everyone else doing?” We check reviews on Amazon or Yelp or TripAdvisor because we want to imitate the “best” buying, eating and travel habits. It’s usually a smart strategy. There is evidence in numbers but there can be a downside.
- The normal behaviour of the trip often overpowers the desired behaviour of the individual. Most days, we’d rather be wrong with the crowd than be right ourselves.
- You can override it, you can choose to ignore the group or to spot caring what other people think—but it takes work. Running against the grain of your culture requires extra effort.
Life feels reactive, but it’s actually predictive.
- Our behaviour is heavily dependent on predictions—how we interpret the events that happen to us, not necessarily the objective reality of the events themselves. All day long, you are making your best guess on how to act given what you’ve just seen and what has worked for you in the past.
Imagine changing just one word: You don’t “have” to. You “get” to.
- Reframing your habits to highlight their benefits rather than their drawback is a fast and lightweight way to reprogram your mind and make a habit seem more attractive.
- Take three deep breaths and smile 😊
- When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategising and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result.
- Action, on the hand, is the type of behaviour that will deliver an outcome. Sometimes motion is useful, but it will never produce an outcome by itself.
- Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something.
The more you repeat an activity, the more the structure of your brain changes to become efficient at that activity.
- Neuroscientists call this long-term potentiation, which refers to the strengthening of connections between neutrons in the brain based on recent patters of activity. With each repetition, cell-to-cell signalling improves and the neural connections tighten.
- Hebb’s Law: “Neurons that fire together wire together.”
- Repeating a habit leads to clear physical changes in the brain.
- All habits follow a similar trajectory from effortful practice to automatic behaviour, a process known as automaticity.
- There is nothing magical about time passing with regard to habit formation. You need to string together enough successful attempts until the behaviour is firmly embedded in your mind and you cross the Habit Line.
- Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to reduce the friction associated with our good habits and increase the friction associated with our bad habits. The brain is wired to conserve energy whenever possible. The less energy a habit requires, the more likely it is to occur.
The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things.
- By following the same creative ritual, you make it easier to get into the hard work of creating. By developing a consistent power-down habit, you make it easier to get to bed at a reasonable time each night.
- Journaling: Nearly everyone can benefit from getting their thoughts out of their head and onto paper, but most people give up after a few days or avoid it entirely because journaling feels. Like a chore.
When you automate as much of your life as possible, you can spend your effort on the tasks machines cannot do yet.
- “Civilization advances. By extending the number of operations we can perform without thinking about them”—Alfred North Whiteman, philosopher
- Our preference for instant gratification reveals an important truth about success: because of how we are wired, most people will spend all day chasing quick hits of satisfaction. The road less traveled is the road of delayed gratification. If you’re willing to wait for the rewards, you’ll face less competition and often get a bigger payoff. As the saying goes, the last mile is always the least crowded.
The most effective form of motivation is progress.
- When we get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more motivated to continue down that path.
- Habit tracking page 198. Habit tracking isn’t for everyone, and there is no need to measure your entire life.
- When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. Just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean it’s not important at all.
- Accountability partner: can create an immediate cost to inaction.
The secret to maximizing your odds of success it to choose the right field of competition.
- This is just as true with habit change as it is with sports and business. Habits are easier to perform, and more satisfying to stick with, when they align with your natural inclinations and abilities.
- Embracing this strategy requires the acceptance of the simple truth that people are born with different abilities.
- Genes do not determine your destiny. They determine your areas of opportunity.
- Pick the right habit and progress is easy. Pick the wrong habit and life is a struggle.
- What feels like fun to me, but work to others?
- What makes me lose track of time?
- Where do I get greater returns than the average person?
- What comes naturally to me?
- When you can’t win by being better, you can win by being different. By combining your skills, you reduce the level of competition, which makes it easier to stand out. You can shortcut the need for genetic advantage (or for years of practice) by rewriting the rules.
- A good player works hard to win the game everyone else is playing. A great player creates a new game that favours their strengths and avoids their weaknesses.
- If you’re not the most naturally gifted, you can often win by being the best in a very narrow category.
Goldilocks Rule: humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.
- You need to search for challenges that push you to your edge while continuing to make enough progress to stay motivated.
- The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. We get bored with habits because they stop delighting us. The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated. By doing the same thing over and over you have to fall in love with boredom.
Keep your identity small.
- The more you let a single belief define you, the less capable you are of adapting when life challenges you. If you tie everything up in being the point guard or the partner at the firm or whatever else, then the loss of that facet of your life will wreck you.
- The key to mitigating these losses of identity is to redefine yourself such that you get to keep important aspects of your identity even if your particular role changes.
- “I’m an athlete” becomes “I’m the type of person who is mentally tough and loves a physical challenge.”
- “I’m the CEO” translates to “I’m the type of person who builds and creates things.”
Being curious is better than being smart (or talented).
- Being motivated and curious counts for more than being smart because it leads to action. Being smart will never deliver results on its own because it doesn’t get you to act. Being smart will never deliver results on its own because it doesn’t get you to act. It is desire, not intelligence, that prompts behaviour.