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An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Read in 13 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 8 key ideas
Atomic Habits (2018) provides a practical and proven framework for creating good habits and shedding bad ones. Drawing on scientific research and real-life examples, it shows how tiny changes in behavior can result in the formation of new habits and help you achieve big things.
Key idea 1 of 8
Small habits can have a surprisingly powerful impact on your life.
Imagine a plane taking off from Los Angeles en route to New York. If, during takeoff, the pilot decided to adjust course 3.5 degrees to the south, the plane’s nose would move just a few feet. Outside of the cockpit, no one on board would notice the small movement. But over the course of a journey across the country, the impact of the change would be considerable, and the confused passengers would alight from their plane in Washington, DC, not New York.
We don’t notice tiny changes, because their immediate impact is negligible. If you are out of shape today, and go for a 20-minute jog, you’ll still be out of shape tomorrow. Conversely, if you eat a family-size pizza for dinner, it won’t make you overweight overnight. But if we repeat small behaviors day after day, our choices compound into major results. Eat pizza every day, and it’s likely you will have gained considerable weight after a year. Go jogging for 20 minutes every day, and you’ll eventually be leaner and fitter, even though you won’t have noticed the change happening.
If you want to make a positive change in your life, you should recognize that change requires patience, as well as confidence that your habits are keeping you on the right trajectory – even if you aren’t seeing immediate results.
So if you find that your behaviors and habits don’t seem to be paying off, try to focus on your current trajectory rather than your current results. If you have little money in the bank but you are saving something each month, then you can be confident that your trajectory is right. Your current results might not be great, but keep going in this direction and, in a few months or a few years, you will notice a major improvement. By contrast, a millionaire who outspends his earnings each month may not be worried about his bank statements from one month to the next, but, in the end, his trajectory will catch up with him.
The key to making big changes in your life doesn’t have to involve major upheaval; you don’t need to revolutionize your behavior or reinvent yourself. Rather, you can make tiny changes to your behavior, which, when repeated time and time again, will become habits that may lead to big results.