This One Idea From “Atomic Habits” Will Change Your Life


Benjamin P. Hardy
a yellow sign with black text: Old Habits - New Habits signpost© Getty Images Old Habits – New Habits signpost

Most people optimize their lives for a finish line. They take a look at where they want to go and they try to mentally prepare themselves for that reality.

This week, James Clear’s new book, Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Resultswas published.

The book is crushing it. At the writing of this article, Atomic Habits is sitting at 13 overall in books on Amazon.

I read the book this week. It’s excellent. Well worth the read. I’ve read over 1,000 self-improvement and psychology books. In fact, I’m almost done with my PhD in organizational psychology and James did a brilliant job describing much of the science in psychology and neuroscience.

However, my purpose in this short article is to describe just one simple idea that I think James CRUSHED.

He helped clarify my thinking on this one point.

Most people optimize their lives for a finish line. They take a look at where they want to go and they try to mentally prepare themselves for that reality.

But getting to the end will never happen if they don’t start.

And psychologically, starting something big or something new is extremely difficult.

Most people think that motivation is something that gets you going. But that’s not true, motivation kicks-in AFTER you’ve got going. As Harvard psychologist, Dr. Jerome Bruner, has said, “You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling, than feeling yourself into action.”

Rather than optimizing your life for the finish line, James Clear recommends and teaches you how to optimize your life for the BEGINNING of your journey.

If you can get some quick small wins, you’ll start to develop some confidence, motivation, and momentum. Then, if you have a system in place to keep you going, then that system and process will take you where you want to go.

Case and point: focus on the START, not the FINISH. Then build systems and habits– your process– that can organically take you where you want to go.

Atomic Habits will teach you how.

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