We all tend to overestimate the importance of single actions and underestimate the power of making small improvements repetitively over a longer period of time.
Real change comes from the compound effects of hundreds of small decisions or small habits that over time accumulate to produce remarkable results, changing the lifestyle, behaviours, and identities.
There’s four key insights from this book
- The power of 1% change over time
- Screw goals and focus on systems instead
- Why it’s all about identities rather than outcomes
- The 4 fundamental law behavior changes.
Why does the one percent matter?
It’s all about the power of compounding.
If you get 1% better every day for 1 year, we will end up 37 times better by the end of year
If we get one percent worse each day for one year, we will go down nearly to zero
Habbits are the compound interest of self-improvement
Habit don’t seem to make much difference on a given day, but the impact over months or years can be absolutely enormous.
“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”
Habits often don’t seem to make a difference until we cross a critical threshold,
We expect the progress to be linear, but the key aspect of any key compounding process is that the outcomes are delayed.
This leads to inital value disappointment where we don’t feel like we’re making progress, as the result don’t follow the linear trajectory
Screw goals and focus on systems:
Achieving a goal is only a momentary change
What we need is the systems that cause thoes results in the first place
Goal restrict happiness, people would think once I reach my goal, I would be happy, so we end up continuously putting off happiness until the next milestone.
“The purpose of setting goals is to win the game, the purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game”
I.e. I just love the process of making these videos and it’s fun and it’s great, it makes money and it’s sustainable, I want to continue play the game and I don’t want to try to win the game.
“The score takes care of itself”
Identity change is the north star of habit change.
“The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of our indentity.
How do we actually build those habits in the first place, How do we overcome the difficulty?
Four stages: 1. CUE 2. CRAVING 3. RESPONSE 4. REWARD
The cue triggers the brain to initiate an action.
The craving provides the motivational force.
The response is the action or habit that we perform.
The reward is the end goal.
Four laws of behaviour change
First law: Make it obvious
Making habit attractive will help us stick to them.
Reduce the friction and prime our environment for the habits that we like to develop
“Friction is the most powerful force in the universe”
Anything I can do to reduce the friction to make doing a good thing slightly easier will pay dividends in the long run.
Reducing the friction makes it far more likely for me to do the thing.
Making it immediately satisfying
Our brains have evolved to prioritise immediate rewards over delayed rewards.
Cardinal rule of behaviour change is what is immediately rewarded is repeated.
And what is immediately punished is avoided
We get short term bursts of dopamine from going through instagram
Making us more likely to repeat these bad habits
To develop better habits, we should try to attach some form of immediate gratification so that we can make the habit immediately satisfying.
Habits are not a finish line to cross, but a lifestyle to live.
The key part to remember is that small habits compound
Atomic habits may be individually small, but collectively and given time, they could hold remarkable power to bring remarkable change to our lives.