Atomic Habits Decoded: 8 Key Takeaways for Success

Mar 25, 2023

Top 8 Takeaways From Atomic Habits

Thoughts of the week:

"With the same habits, you’ll end up with the same results. But with better habits, anything is possible." - James Clear

In this week's dose, I share my top 8 takeaways from reading Atomic Habits twice.

In July 2020, I felt a wave of motivation & newfound passion come over me as I began designing my first pair of shorts for PER as we worked toward launch.

Weeks removed after getting fired and feeling lost, I felt like I was on a mission.

I was locked in on committing to a dream and giving it all I had.

I went from guaranteed income to not making a penny for the next 2 years.

And while I was excited and confident that I'd figure it out, I knew I had to revamp how I approached my day and take my performance seriously.

The kind of performance that I always aspired to have, but hadn't fully committed to.

I knew that I was at my best first thing in the morning and tended to chill out later in the day.

So I set out to create a HIGH-impact morning that set the tone for my day and helped me create habits that made me energetic + focused, yet still + peaceful.

This was also right around the time I had my first major breakthrough with mental health when I learned EVERYTHING in life is neutral, and it's my own mind that creates meaning.

I was determined to reprogram my thoughts & beliefs and become the person I knew I was capable of being.

Atomic Habits by James Clear found me at the exact moment I needed it.

And it was fundamental in giving me a framework to build habits that would ultimately change my whole life.

It helped me stop drinking alcohol, sleep through the night, lose 15 pounds, and drastically improve my mental health.

And it was the systems, not motivation, that helped me get there.

We often think we don't have enough motivation to change.

Or don't feel like we have the motivation that we used to.

We beat ourselves for not having the WILLPOWER to go to the gym or order the healthy option or avoid dessert.

But the book taught me a new perspective when looking at habits and how to take our feelings OUT of the equation.

To make systems objective and not make what we do or do not do mean something about our worth as humans.


These are my top 8 takeaways:

1. There are no bad habits, just bad systems.

Actions we take are either getting us closer to or further away from our goals.

We all have actions that we KNOW are not serving us. View them as a system that needs adjustment VS them meaning something bad about you as a person.

2. Identity > Outcome

It's the same reason 90%+ people who diet put the weight back on.

The outcome means nothing if you don't change WHO you are and your identity during the process.

You must work to become someone who "Lives a clean & healthy life" VS someone who "Is just looking toward their next cheat day because they're on a diet they hate".

3. Changing our identity is our biggest barrier to change

Our mind hates change. It wants certainty + safety.

Anytime we challenge our internal status quo, it sounds the alarm - even if, deep down, we KNOW that the habits we want to build will make us healthier & happier.

We need not take this so personally. It's part of our wiring to resist change and talk down to ourselves about why it'll never work.

Embrace that, be kind to that voice.

But it's also time to show it who's in charge now.


4. Identity emerges out of habits

I loved this one. In the beginning, we feel like we're lying to ourselves when we start a new habit.

"this will never stick, it won't work, I can never change"

Those thoughts are totally normal.

Because we are completely challenging the current view we hold about ourselves.

In order to construct a new identity, we must show up for ourselves relentlessly.


5. Prove who you WANT to be with small wins

By showing up DAILY and committing to taking action, especially on days you don't feel like it, you are proving to yourself that you're serious about growth.

And that you are committed to change.

Each time you show up for yourself, you place a VOTE into the ballot box for the person you are becoming.

We can't expect this shift to happen in one instant.

It takes time, patience, and a ton of tiny actions.


6. Environment > motivation

Maybe the most important takeaway for many of you.

Motivation is WEAK and fleeting, but the systems you put in place are sturdy.

The environment you curate is everything.

You haven't lost your motivation, you're just lacking clarity and a reliable system.


7. It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it

I used to beat myself up for not being able to resist the ice cream in the freezer.

Once I learned how easy it was to NOT eat it when I didn't have it in the house, everything changed.

Stop making it harder on yourself than it needs to be.


8. Surround yourself with people where your desired behavior is normal

We're animals who tend to mimic those we spend a lot of time with.

Identify a behavior you're trying to improve (exercise every day, eat clean, no alcohol, become a morning person, etc) and plant yourself right in the middle of people who already do that.

Make good habits easy and bad habits hard.

Declare who you want to become and do small actions daily to support that new belief.

Super simple, but it changes everything.


Tim 🖤

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