How can a 1% daily improvement change your life?

13 Feb 2024
You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

The author, James Clear, provides all the effective answers you're looking for to questions such as how to form a good habit, what a habit is, and how small changes can make big improvements.

Before the book notes I just wanna tell you about my new reading technique:
I finished this book in just one week, a short period for me, considering the previous book lingered in my hands for weeks.

What enabled me to finish it so quickly was my reading technique. I divided the book into seven sections, placing a colored post-it at the end of each chapter. The first thing I did every day was read the book up to the next post-it. This method really worked. The first thing in the morning was to read the book, from one post-it to the next, it motivated me.
I have some notes and listed them below for remember👇

The Four Laws of Behavior Change

  1. Cue (Make It Obvious)
  2. Craving (Make It Attractive)
  3. Response (Make It Easy)
  4. Reward (Make It Satisfying)

Let’s little bit deeper into these laws to understand better before implementing them:

  1. Make it obvious - The habit needs to be effortless for us and not require active thinking. For example, you want to eat fruit instead of junk food. Instead of hiding the fruit in a corner of the fridge, you put it in a bowl on the table. Or you go to the gym if your gym bag is right in front of you at the front door.
  2. Make it attractive - If the habit is not attractive, we are probably less likely to do it again and again. Therefore, combining boring but necessary tasks, such as going to the gym or making job calls, with an action you want to do turns it into a behavior that is easy to repeat. For example, listening to your favorite podcast or playlist only while exercising.
  3. Make it easy - The less we reduce the hassle associated with habits, the more chance we have of actually doing it. For example, making it easier and simpler to eat healthy by prepping fruits and vegetables at the weekend, putting them in the fridge and eating them throughout the week, or making it easier for you to get to the gym if it's on your way to work.
  4. Make it satisfying – When an action is rewarded, we are more inclined to repeat it. What is immediately rewarded is repeated, and what is immediately punished is avoided. For example, after finishing my daily tasks and reading book, I reward myself with my new hobby of making and painting different things out of clay ceramics. Or when you don't order takeout but cook healthy meals at home, you can save the cost of that takeout and buy any product you like with these savings.

These 4 laws can also be used for bad habits

Make it invisible, make it unattractive, make it difficult, make it unsatisfying. For example, if you spend a lot of time on your phone, put it in another room while you work. If you do a lot of online shopping, reduce the limit on your card or give it to a relative and ask them to give it back to you once a month. If you watch a lot of TV, take the batteries out of the TV remote control and only put them back in to watch a specific TV program.

Adopt systems instead of focusing on goals

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

Goals are the outcomes we want to achieve, and systems are the processes that lead us to those outcomes. Setting goals is good, but the real trick is to build lasting systems that get us there. A goal is about a single achievement, but a system is about continuous improvement and progress.

Goals limit our happiness. We often think, "I will be happy when I reach that goal," leading us to postpone happiness until the next achievement. The antidote to this is to prioritize systems. When we fall in love with the process rather than the outcome, we don't have to wait until reaching the goal to be satisfied and happy. The process itself becomes a source of happiness.

To build a habit you need to make it part of your identity

Most people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve, leading them to try building outcome-based habits. However, the real key is to start with who you want to be—to build identity-based habits. We often overlook our beliefs and identity when creating result-oriented habits, but in reality, behind every system of action, there is a belief system.

For example, when my goal is to lose 5 kilograms, it doesn't create a sustainable habit for me. However, when my goal is to become a person who eats healthy and exercises regularly, it helps me maintain my weight.

  • The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.
  • The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.
  • The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.

Motivation is overrated — the environment often matters more

Our environment is an important factor in determining our habits. Despite our unique personalities, certain behaviors tend to be repeated under specific environmental conditions. For example, people whisper in church, or products placed at eye level sell more than those positioned lower down.

We can increase our efficiency by associating a habit with a specific environment. Habits can be changed more easily in a new environment, but if this is not possible, we can divide the existing space so that each part has a single purpose. Thus, the principle is "one space, one use.

This is how I began practicing it myself: I used to work at the dining table or even on the sofa, which was not productive.

So, I have designated each space for different uses: The dining table is for just eating, the study room is for working, the sofa in the study room is for reading, and the living room is for watching movies or TV series.

Working only in the study room and refraining from moving my work to other areas of the house has increased my productivity.

My highlights from the book

  • Small habits create big differences: Habits might seem to make very little or no difference during the day, but the impact they create over months and years can be very significant. A daily improvement of 1% can lead to a 37x improvement and make a big difference at the end of the year.
  • Small changes often seem to make no difference until they cross a critical threshold. The strongest results of any compound process are received late. Being patient is important. (This is also the source of my inconsistency in habits; stopping habits that seem ineffective before they cross that critical threshold, where I would start to get effective results)
  • Habits are repeated automatic behaviors consisting of various components. By directing and integrating your habits, you can build systems, and these systems become a part of your personality, helping you achieve your goals.
  • There is no specific duration for building a habit; it depends more on how often you repeat the behavior. Frequency is what makes the difference.
  • Don’t break the chain” is more important than it seems. Don’t break the chain of sales calls and you’ll build a successful book of business. Don’t break the chain of workouts and you’ll get fit faster than you’d expect. Don’t break the chain of creating every day and you will end up with an impressive portfolio. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit. “Make mistakes, just don’t make them permanent.”

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1% daily improvement in a year is over 365% increment in that same year so go for it and be a better you.
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