Book Rating: Lifechanging
I’ve read 10 books in 2020 which was my goal for the start of the year. I was able to achieve this due to the first book I read, Atomic Habits.
Here’s what I’ve learned from the best book I’ve read in 2020 and how the power of habits moved the needle for me.
If you are into the realm of financial freedom or productivity, you probably would’ve heard of this book.
James Clear did not lie when he said you can see remarkable results with just tiny changes in your own life.
For those who’d just like the gist of the book, here’s a short summary of the book in 3 sentences:
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement and 1% improvements every day can help you become a much better version of yourself whether you are acquiring a skill or to adopt a good habit.
You can read on if you’d like to know how the power of habits changed my perspective on many things relating to financial success.
The Power of Habits
In the book, James gave a good analogy on how people look at success with the wrong lens and habits are actually what you need to succeed in many things in life.
Take an ice cube for example.
You leave the ice cube out at a temperature of 25 degrees and it doesn’t melt, it only started melting at the temperature of 30 degrees.
Many people will think that ice cubes melt at 30 degrees but in fact, it was the rise of every 1 degree from 25 degrees that contributed to the melting.
This applies to probably everything in life from losing weight, achieving financial freedom and in overall, just becoming the best version of yourself.
Have you ever wondered how you never seem to be able to lose weight (that’s if you’re aiming to) or how some people rise to success in a relatively “quick” manner?
You envy those people and you beat yourself down, giving yourself excuses and leave remarks like “they got lucky”, “they are far better”.
The Simple Truth
The truth behind their success was the 1% improvements they made every day towards their goals.
People only seem to look at the results and not the effort behind what they are doing. Factually speaking, they are not doing anything big to move the needle but things like not missing the gym every day, sleeping earlier, taking the stairs, sharing a piece of work every day.
All these small differences compounds.
You may think that a marginal gain of 1% do not matter much and you can take that day off, skip that video or article that you’d like to publish, that’s where you’re completely wrong.
This is a chart from James showing you how 1% improvements every day leads to a 37.78% gain in a year. Similarly, poor habits compound as well which leads to a heavy decline.
You may think that 1% is subjective to everyone so how do you gauge it?
What Is That 1%??
Think of what you want to achieve and what you can do to achieve it. Using myself as an example, I would like this blog to reach a minimum of 1,000 monthly visitors by the end of 2021.
In order to hit that goal, I’ll write and publish a minimum of 3 articles per week.
This is my 1%. You may ask, then what about the rest of the 4 days? Am I only working on my 1% improvement for 3 days a week?
As for me, the rest of the days I’ll research and learn more about SEO, thinking about topics to write about and how I can improve my blog to get closer to my goal.
Many tend to think that 1% every day means I need to see results immediately such as posting an article 7 times a week.
If I looked at it that way, it’ll seem really difficult to achieve and I’ll probably give up halfway and be unhappy about not being able to hit 7 articles a week.
This is the reason why many people seem to work really hard in the first place but loses motivation gradually and eventually giving up. It’s about the habit of consistently putting in a realistic level of work every day for the long term.
The Plateau of Latent Potential
If you’ve read the article on my review of the year 2020, you’d probably see the same graph.
This graph from the book illustrates what I just talked about, on how many people put in an unrealistic level of work at the start which is unlikely to be consistent for the long term.
They then expect to see results immediately and fall into the Valley of Disappointment which most will start to give up.
But if they were to pace themselves consistently or maybe even to continue putting the same level of work (just because unrealistic is subjective), results will show in due time and usually hits unexpectedly and fast.
If you look back at the ice cube analogy, it reflects the same thing.
With the power of habits and consistency, you should just be concern with your current trajectory than your current results.
Build Systems ⚒️
The book also talks about how you can build systems to achieve your goals by breaking bad habits and building good ones.
This reminds me of 2 really good quotes from the book
Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
In overall, a system to build good habits from the book consists of 4 things known as “The Four Laws of Behavior Change“
- To make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- How you can make it easy
- Make it satisfying
James also said that any acquired habit you and me have such as brushing our teeth in the morning can be broken down into something that’s called a “feedback loop”.
This “feedback loop” also involves 4 steps that we may or may not notice in our daily habits.
I will not go into detail about this but this is a summary of what the book has to offer and I highly recommend anyone to read it.
My Top 3 Takeaways
1% better every day will compound to a lot in the long run
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
Be concern with current trajectory than current results
I hope you have a better understanding of how the power of habits can turn our lives around and by consistently putting the 1% effort into what we want to achieve, we will see the results.
It may or may not come as soon as we would like but it will certainly come when we least expect it.
If you enjoyed this article, check out my previous one where I interviewed a successful entrepreneur as he shares valuable insights into his productivity routine.
Alternatively, check out some of the best side-hustles you can pick up this year and start putting in 1% at a time.
Let’s get it.