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My takeaway

Your habits are how you embody your identity. If you want results you need to focus on your system, not on your goals. You get what you repeat, so in order to master a new habit the key is to start with repetition, not perfection.

My notes

These are my informal notes from Atomic Habits. It contains a mix of key highlights as well as my own thoughts and lessons.

  • If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.
  • You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.
  • Forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead. Goals can be good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.
  • When you solve problems at the results level, you only solve them temporarily. In order to improve for good, you need to solve problems at the systems level. Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.
  • You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
  • It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.
  • Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.
  • Progress requires unlearning. Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.
  • The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.
  • Your habits change depending on the room you are in and the cues in front of you.
  • Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do.
  • There is nothing magical about time passing with regard to habit formation. It doesn’t matter if it’s been twenty-one days or thirty days or three hundred days. What matters is the rate at which you perform the behavior. You could do something twice in thirty days, or two hundred times. It’s the frequency that makes the difference.
  • If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection.
  • Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to reduce the friction associated with our good habits and increase the friction associated with our bad ones.
  • The road less traveled is the road of delayed gratification.
  • Measurement is only useful when it guides you and adds context to a larger picture, not when it consumes you.
  • At some point, everyone faces the same challenge on the journey of self-improvement: you have to fall in love with boredom.