James Clear’s “1% Better Every Day” video

I learned a LOT about habits by read­ing James Clear’s blog. He has heaps of great posts on his site, but if I were to pick one, it is this: Iden­ti­ty-Based Habits: How to Actu­al­ly Stick to Your Goals This Year. The gist is that: Build­ing good habits and chang­ing our­selves for bet­ter is all about our iden­ti­ty (what we believe of our­selves and who we try to become), not per­for­mance (the actions we take) or appear­ance (what oth­ers say about us). Per­for­mance and appear­ance are great, but for habits to last, they should start from with­in, from your iden­ti­ty, from what kind of per­son you think you are. This pow­er­ful idea changed me for bet­ter over the last few years.

James recent­ly deliv­ered a great talk in which he talks about the pow­er of small habits. Check it out here. It is about 25 min­utes and is very well worth your time.

Fol­low­ing are my notes from that talk.

Aggre­ga­tion of mar­gin­al gains.

Habits are the com­pound inter­est of self-improve­ment.

Good habits make your time ally. Bad habits make time your ene­my.

Frame­work for form­ing bet­ter habits.

Four stages of habit for­ma­tion: Notic­ing, Want­i­ng, Doing and Lik­ing.

Stage 1: Notic­ing

Imple­men­ta­tion inten­tions.

Action step: Have a plan

Stage 2: Want­i­ng

Design envi­ron­ment for encour­ag­ing good behav­iors.

Put more steps between you and bad behav­iors. Few­er steps between you and good behav­iors.

Stage 3: Doing

Quan­ti­ty vs qual­i­ty. Put in the reps.

Rep­e­ti­tions mat­ter. Iter­a­tions mat­ter.

David Allen of GTD’s 2 min rule.

Put all ener­gy into start­ing. It is all about mile­stones. Opti­mize for start line, not fin­ish line.

Stage 4: Lik­ing

The only rea­son we repeat behav­iors is because you enjoy them.

Good habits have a prob­lem: cost at the moment but reward is delayed. Bad habits : reward at the moment but con­se­quence is delayed.

Fig­ure how to bring reward into present moment: Sein­feld strat­e­gy of build­ing the chain of actions.

The best way to change the long-term behav­ior is to act on the short-term feed­back. You need a way to enjoy the moment. Don’t break the chain. Nev­er miss twice.

Why habits are so impor­tant? The ship of The­seus. Change hap­pens habit by habit: Evo­lu­tion; Not Rev­o­lu­tion.

It is all about iden­ti­ty: the actions you take pro­vide evi­dence to who you are.

Over a broad span of time actions you do once or twice fade away. Actions you do for the bulk amount of time day after day week after week accu­mu­late the bulk of the evi­dence of what you believe of your­self. Every action you take is a vote for the type of the per­son you wish to become.

You don’t need to be per­fect all the time. You just need to have the body of good work.

True Change is not behav­ior or results or process change, but it is Iden­ti­ty Change.

The goal is not to read a book; but to become a read­er.

The goal is not to write a book; but to become a writer.

The goal is not to run a marathon; but to become a run­ner.

The way to become some­one is by doing some­thing. Your iden­ti­ty emerges from the type of habits you have. It is about get­ting you to believe some­thing.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: