On Amazon- Atomic Habits by James Clear
“Habits are the compound interest of self improvement”
Why Should you read this?
- To learn practical techniques of how to foster a good habit and get rid of bad habits.
- To understand the power of a small habit that can give you compounded positive or negative return in the long run.
- Why habits matter a lot, but are one of the most overlook aspects of life?
- To understand the process and stages involved in building a good habit and breaking a bad habit.
- Habit Math: Well you might have seen this before but it’s magical to see how compounding effects of habits work:
(1.01)^365 = 37.78 Vs. (0.99)^365 = 0.03
So, if we improve ourselves by 1% every day for one year we are better off by 37.78% at the end of the year. On the other hand, if we get worse off by 1% every day for one year, we decline down to nearly zero. So, this explains the power of good and bad habits.
- It’s System Driven: Fostering a good habit needs strong systems, processes or rituals because we do not rise to the level of our goals but we fall to the level of our systems. So, rather than just focusing on goals we want to achieve, we should also focus on the systems we want to build to achieve the goal.
- Change your Identity: Changing habits need changing your identity. So, we should not focus on what we want to achieve but on what we wish to become through our new habits. Our identity is the result of our habits, so we should see habits as the part of our identity.
- The Habit Loop: We can understand habits has a four step process, where each of the step leads to other and finally work as a loop which becomes stronger as the number of loops increases. The cue and craving are part of the problem phase of the habit whereas response and reward are the part of solution phase of the habit. You can read here how this whole system works.
- Dopamine the Driver: Our cravings are dopamine driven. Our brain has far more neural circuitry allocated for wanting (anticipation of reward/ pleasure) than liking (actually feeling the pleasure). So, our desire drives our behavior. So, we need to make our habits desirable and attractive.
- Excellence needs more: To achieve excellence in any field we need more than just habits. That additional ingredient is deliberate practice where we are aware what we are doing unlike auto-pilot mode for the habits:
Habits + Deliberate practice = Mastery
- Your Cheat Sheet: Finally, to get a quick look on the different steps suggested for fostering good habits and breaking bad habits, A Habit Cheat Sheet is available on the book’s website.