Atomic Habits

Takeaway Notes

Thank you for reading the No Greater Service takeaway notes on Atomic Habits by James Clear.  As leaders, it's important to learn something new each and every day.  The best way to continue this education is by reading.  Each month I challenge myself to read one leadership book and pull out 2-3 big takeaways that I personally want to enact in my own leadership.  

In this month's notes I discuss: the compounding effect habits have in our lives & success, how must focus on the system & processes instead of the results, and how habits can shape our identity.


1.  The Compounding Effect of Habits

All habits are successful at producing some kind of result.  In general, bad habits usually produce positive short-term results while good habits produce positive long-term results.  For this reason, whether good or bad, all habits are effective.  If you want long-lasting success and positive results you need to eliminate bad habits and build good habits.

A habit is a behavior done over and over again that eventually becomes automatic.  A collection of good habits done over years will yield incredible results.  The same is true for bad habits yielding bad results.  It's the small things that matter day in and day out because if we are not careful they compound over time.  Who you are today is a result of your habits in prior years.  Make good habits easy to do and make bad habits hard to do.

"Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you're willing to stick with them for years."

2.  Focus on the System for Better Results

The important thing to remember is that your results are not because of the goals you set, they are because of the systems you have in place to reach those goals.  Set a goal so that you have a direction to move in, and then get hyper focused on the processes that will get you there.  When you fall in love with that process is when things start to get fun and you are less dependent on the results.

By focusing your habits toward your goals, you will begin to enjoy the process and with time will see the amazing results you set to achieve.  So set your goals first and then go through an inventory of your habits to see if they contribute to your goals.  With time and as you fine tune you will see success.

"Goals are about the results you want to achieve.  Systems are about the processes that lead to those results."

3.  Habits Shape Your Identity

The old saying is absolutely true, "you are what you repeatedly do."  The best way to really change who you are is to change what you do.  What an exciting idea!

The first step is to sit down and really think about who you want to be.  Genetics play a large part in determining this or at least narrowing down where we would have the best area of opportunity.  Think about what comes naturally to you and what you enjoy doing the most.  Those are your best areas of opportunities.

From there set a big dream or goal and work the habits backwards.  Analyze all your current habits against the big goal and determine if they are contributing or hindering you from your dream.  Fall in love with the process of adding, eliminating and fine-tuning habits that lead you to that goal and you will find success.  It will be different for every person.

"The most practical way to change who you are is to change what you do."

Author: Jeff Dreher

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