Focus Less on Goals and More on Habits

I’ve always been a goal-setter, especially at the beginning of a new year. I love to make a list of lofty but achievable goals that inspire and motivate me.

The problem is, I never take the time to establish a system of daily, repeatable habits that will help me to actually achieve my goals. I simply hope the goals themselves will be enough motivation to cause me to take action every day. That never works.

So, when I stumbled upon Atomic Habits by James Clear, I was excited to get this book and dive in. And man am I glad that I did! This book is filled with so many great ideas, insights, and tips to help you develop good habits and eliminate bad ones.

Clear does a masterful job of explaining his four laws for creating a good habit:

1) Make it obvious

2) Make it attractive

3) Make it easy

4) Make it satisfying

And he also inverts each law to provide additional help in breaking a bad habit:

1) Make it invisible

2) Make it unattractive

3) Make it difficult

4) Make it unsatisfying

Here are a few nuggets that really stuck with me:

  • Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. Try to get 1% better everyday. At the end of a year, you’ll be 37 times better!
  • We don’t rise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our systems.
  • Habits are not a finish line to be crossed; they are a lifestyle to be lived.
  • Success is the product of daily habits–not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.
  • Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. You get what you repeat.

I also recorded a recent plug for the book that you can watch here:

If you are looking for a resource that will help you develop a system for improving your habits, go get this book. I couldn’t put it down, and I didn’t want it to end.

I look forward to continuing to unpack the material and dive into James’ weekly writings. I encourage you to do the same!

Published by

Jeremy Couch

Jeremy Couch is a Leadership Architect who helps leaders build thriving cultures. He is the Executive Director for Palm Beach Atlantic University-Orlando and an Assistant Professor of Leadership. He is passionate about teaching, writing, consulting, and speaking on topics related to leadership development and organizational health.

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