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[BOOK SUMMARY] “Atomic Habits” by James Clear – Chapter 1: The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits

Atomic habit refers to a tiny change, a marginal gain, or a 1% improvement. An atomic habit is a little habit that is a part of a bigger system. Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, atomic habits are the foundation of remarkable results.

The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. If you can get 1% better every day for a year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the end of the year. Conversely, if you get worse by 1% every day for a year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. In the same way, money multiplies over time, and the effects of your habits improve as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day, yet the impact they deliver over long periods of time can be enormous.

What progress is really like: If you have an ice cube at 25 degrees (F) room temperature, and you increase the temperature to 26 degrees, nothing happens. You keep increasing the temperature by 1 degree to 27, 28, 29, and so on… There is no change in the state of the ice cube until the temperature goes from 31 to 32 degrees, and the ice cube begins to melt. A 1-degree shift, seemingly no different from the temperature increases before it, has unlocked a huge change.

Forget about goals and focus on systems instead. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Goals are good for setting a direction but systems are best for making progress. People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result and decide to stop. In order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to persist long enough to break through this plateau.

Complaining about not finding success even when you work hard is like complaining about an ice cube that doesn’t melt. Your work isn’t wasted, it’s just stored.

When you finally break through a plateau of latent potential, people call it an overnight success. The outside world only sees the most dramatic event. Change can take years before it all happens at once. All big things come from small beginnings.

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

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