A guide to ‘Self-Improvement’
I’m quite late in joining the bandwagon of illuminated folks who have already read, admired and might be already implementing the laws in the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear to become a better version of themselves. There’s absolutely no denying the fact that the remarkable aspect of this book is how extremely relatable and relevant the author is right from the beginning when he highlights:
Now, aren’t these often the conversations we have with our family, friends, mentors, or life coaches when we feel low or directionless at times! And, it’s exactly why I continued reading the book because it felt like listening to someone within my close circle of family and friends, to whom I go to when my mind is chaotic as hell. Author James Clear also mentions explicitly that “as long as human behavior is involved, this book will be your guide” and that’s also another reason that got me hooked to this book.
A few fundamentals (excerpts) from the book that appealed to me the most and that I am going to stick on the walls of my home to keep reminding them to myself on a daily basis are:
Small habits make a big difference!
If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. Or, as Dave Brailsford, director British Cycling refers to it as ‘the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do’.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement and success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations!
Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy. Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. You get what you repeat.
In order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to persist long enough to break through the Plateau of Latent Potential.
Change can take years—before it happens all at once. All big things come from small beginnings.
If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.
The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.
True behavior change is identity change.
The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this. This is a gradual evolution. We do not change by snapping our fingers and deciding to be someone entirely new. We change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit. We are continually undergoing microevolutions of the self.
Ultimately, your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be.Clear, James. Atomic Habits (p. 41). Random House. Kindle Edition.
For those who are yet to pick the book, it is structured in a manner that it clearly explains the above fundamentals first and then goes on to establish in detail the four laws of behavior change that forms the crux of habit building in an individual’s life. The author advises to ask oneself:
- How can I make a habit obvious?
- How can I make it attractive?
- How can I make it easy?
- How can I make it satisfying?
He highlights the importance of self awareness in one’s life and also stresses on the fact that we come up with a flexible, specific and clear implementation plan that includes the how, where, when, which and what of habits that we intend to incorporate on a regular/ daily basis to become a better version of ourselves in the long run.