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Atomic Habits

How to create good habits

  • Make them evident.
  • Make them attractive.
  • Make them effortless.
  • Make them satisfying.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=lFhbDwAAQBAJ

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Key Ideas

Habits are mental shortcuts

A habit is a routine or behavior that is carried out repeatedly and most of the time automatically.

When you are faced with a problem repeatedly, your brain starts to automate the process of solving it. Your habits are sets of automatic solutions that solve the problems you come across regularly.

Focus on systems, not on goals

Goals are good for establishing a direction, but systems are best for making progress.

Goals are about the results you hope to reach. Systems are about the mechanisms that lead to those results.

The layers of behavior change

  1. Changing your outcomes. This means changing your results: losing weight, publishing a book, etc.
  2. Changing your process. This means changing your habits and systems: for example, developing a meditation practice.
  3. Changing your identity. This means changing your beliefs: the way you see yourself and the ones around you.

True behavior change is identity change

You could choose and start a habit because of motivation, but you'll stick with it only if it becomes part of your identity.

To change your identity:

  1. Establish the kind of person you want to be.
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

How habits work

The main components of habit formation:

  • A Cue: It causes your brain to begin a behavior. It is a bit of information that predicts a reward.
  • A Craving: It is the motivation behind every habit. Without a desire, we don't have a reason to act.
  • A Response: This is the very habit you perform; it can take the form of a thought or an action.
  • A Reward: The end goal of every habit.

How to create good habits

  • Make them evident.
  • Make them attractive.
  • Make them effortless.
  • Make them satisfying.

How to break bad habits

  • Make them invisible.
  • Make them unappealing.
  • Make them hard to perform.
  • Make them frustrating.

Self-control is a short-term strategy when forming habits

A better method is to cut bad habits off at the source.

You may be able to resist temptation once, but you will most likely not be able to have the willpower to control your desires each time they appear. Thus, your energy would be better spent optimizing your environment.

We imitate habits to fit it

We imitate the habits of three groups:

  • The close. Proximity has a powerful and impressive effect on the way we behave.
  • The many. We feel the pressure to comply with the rules of the groups we're part of. Being accepted is the greatest reward.
  • The powerful. We are attracted to behaviors that we think will make people respect and admire us.

How to enjoy hard habits

Create a motivation ritual by doing something you really like right before a difficult habit.

Habits are attractive when we associate them with positive feelings and unattractive when we associate them with negative feelings.

The time it takes to form a habit

The amount of time you have been performing a habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it.

You could do something three times in thirty days, or three hundred times. The frequency will always make the difference.

The Law of Least Effort

We will instinctively choose the path that requires the least amount of work.

Diminish the friction associated with positive actions. When friction is reduced, habits become easy. Increase the friction associated with negative behaviors. This way, habits become hard.

The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change

What is instantly rewarded is done again. What is instantly punished is ditched.

To get a habit to stick you need to feel instantly successful, even if it’s in a small way.

The Goldilocks Rule for staying motivated

We experience peak motivation when we are performing actions that are right on the edge our current abilities.

Not too difficult, not too easy.

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It is important that we set some clear priorities and create space for them. 

Contemplating Death

This exercise makes us value our limited time and sheds away the unnecessary activities from our day. 

We start living a vivid life, and slow down, becoming fully present in the moment, savoring time like a limited edition treat before it vanishes.

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Good relationships

Having good, supportive friendships, a strong marriage or close and loving relationships with our family members will make us much more likely to be happy. 

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Optimism and self-esteem

These are some of the best indicators of people who lead happy lives. Happy people feel empowered, in control of their lives, and have a positive outlook on life. 

Action steps: Get into the habit of squashing all negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.

Flow

People find greatest enjoyment not when they’re passively mindless, but when they’re absorbed in a mindful challenge. This is flow, when we're so immersed in our task that we lose track of time. 

Action steps: Find work  and hobbies that you’re passionate about and that fully engage you.

Moving Away From Pseudo-Work
Moving Away From Pseudo-Work

Pseudo-work is when one works just for the sake of work, and is productive on paper but hasn’t really achieved anything substantial, or contributed to one’s core objective.

Focusing on Meaningful Work
  • When the focus is on the essential, we start to work on what matters to us the most. It makes us avoid the urgent work shoved in our faces which may not be important at all.
  • Focusing on meaningful work helps us prioritize our day in the order that aligns with our purpose and mission. It makes us less stressed out and more joyful.
  • Productive work, which is challenging and even discomforting is welcomed as it is important and meaningful to our lives. The distractions then no longer disturb us as we are giving the work our entire focus.
Keys To Essential Meaningful Productivity
  1. Be clear on what matters to you, and focus on that.
  2. A lack of structure makes the entire day random and accidental. It is good to have a certain structure for all your tasks while keeping it flexible.
  3. Remind yourself the reason for it being important to you, and then give it your heart and soul. Keep yourself in a playful, relaxed mode.
  4. Move towards any fear you encounter, and not away from it. It may be a small obstacle but our psychological fears make us feel discomfort or groundlessness.
  5. Batch out small errands into specific, time-bound activities, leaving time for more important things.
Consistency matters more than frequency

We usually make effort unsustainable. For example:

  • We work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year) and never go back to the gym.
  • We try to med...
Identity-based Habits
To build the identity of the person you want to become, ask yourself what the behavior of a person who has the habit you want to develop is. For example:
  • What is the behavior a person who is in shape? They go to the gym consistently
  • What is the behavior of a prolific writer? They crack open a notebook every day.
Raise Your Level of Intensity Gradually
When something becomes effortless, raise the level of intensity, to the point where you can get there without too much resistance, but it’s still somewhat challenging. To put it more concisely, bend but don’t break.

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Set intentions when starting the day
Set intentions when starting the day

When you start your day, or any meaningful activity, ask what your intentions are for the day or that activity.

Do you want to be more present? Do you want to move your...

Focus on important tasks

To create space for what is meaningful, focus on important tasks.

Pick just 3 (or even just 1) and focus on that first. Put aside everything else (you can come back to all that later) and create space for what’s meaningful in your life.

One activity at a time

If the activity is important enough to include in your limited time, it’s important enough to give it your full focus.

If you’re going to write, close all other tabs and just write. If you’re going to brush your teeth, just do that.

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Commit To Writing Every Day This Month

Make a public commitment, to people who will hold you accountable. You don’t need to publish your writing each day, but just write at least 5 minutes a day.

It can be any type of writing and it doesn’t have to be good, so let go of your desire for perfection.

Set Aside 5-10 Minutes

Setting your writing time during the morning is ideal as you haven’t gotten busy yet. But find what works for you and treat this appointment as unmissable.

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Thomas Paine

"The greatest remedy for anger is delay."

Thomas Paine
Postponing Things With Little Value

We often have an urge to do things that have no productive value, but we still do them due to the forces of habit or when we cannot say no to others.An effective way to deal with such tasks is to delay them.

Whether it is snacking, playing a video game, browsing videos, or even smoking, one can delay the desire for doing the activity by keeping oneself intentionally busy.

Listen To Understand

While listening to others speak, a million thoughts come to our mind, about how we have handled similar situations, and how many mistakes the other person has made in what is being stated. We normally blurt out at the first chance and criticize the other person, or boast about our superhuman abilities.

A better way is to delay that, keeping quiet and simply listening to the other person, focusing on one's breath if needed.

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“The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.”

Jeff Goins

"Lifelong learners see Everything as an education."

"Lifelong learners see Everything as an education."

Realize How Little You Know

The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know. And that’s a humbling realization.

If you want to be a learner, you have to appreciate the fact that you have much to learn. This is not false humility or some kind of feigned status. It is a mindset.

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Being Compassionate
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The Four Components Of Compassion
  • Cognitive: Recognition of suffering.
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  • Intention: A desire for relief from suffering.
  • Motivation: Action to remove suffering.
Six Ways To Compassion
  • Try research-tested compassion practices, like writing exercises.
  • Informal compassion: Be aware of the people around you, and acknowledge the interdependence with everyone.
  • Set up an intention: Find out what you want for yourself, your life, and what you have to offer the world. 
  • First-hand self-knowledge: Instead of following ready-made knowledge, find out what works for you through self-examination.
  • Get support: Find support in your peers, friends, and relatives, to help make compassion a habit.
  • Self-compassion: Stick to the practice even when it's hard and be gentle to yourself.