Atomic Habit Chapter 11

Action trumps everything. Do it. Do it often. Do it poorly. Just do it over and over and over.

That’s the key to skill development.

This chapter starts with a story about a photography class. I’ve heard a similar story but about a pottery class. The class was divided in half.

Group A would be evaluated on their final project. They just needed 1 excellent piece. Group B was evaluated by how much they did. They were literally evaluated by the weight. How many pounds of pottery did they make?

Just as in the photography class, the group focusing on perfection never found it. The group focusing on doing lots of work developed their skill and their output was much better than the 1st groups.

Action trumps motion

James Clear uses the term motion for all the things that feel like work but aren’t. That’s the planning and researching. He admits there is a time and place for that, but there are limits. Once you’re doing it to (subconsciously) avoid failure and criticism, you’re procrastinating.

“If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection.”

Clear’s 3rd Law is “Make It Easy”. This is so you can get the repetition.

21 days to form a habit?

That’s what I’ve always heard? How about you?

Well, not only is 21 days wrong, it’s irrelevant. The time invested is a side-effect. It’s all about the reps. Do more repetitions and develop the habit or skill quicker.

“To build a habit, you have to practice it.”

Clear makes a critical observation about your current habits: “Your current habits have been internalized over the course of hundreds, if not thousands of repetitions.” Whether deliberate or not, you’ve put in the reps on your bad habits. How can you hope to dig out of that well-worn mental groove without deliberate action taken repeatedly?

Key takeaways and implementation

Practice makes perfect. Do the work – repeatedly and poorly if necessary. Fall down 7 times, get up 8.

This is the grind of new habit creation. It isn’t easy to program yourself.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author: James Clear
Amazon rating: 4.8
Amazon price: $14.99
Amazon data gathered on 1Oct2020
Review status: In progress

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