9 Takeaways from a Conversation Between Two Habit-forming Experts.
A glimpse of the conversation between James Clear (Atomic Habits Author) and Matt D’Avella at The Ground Up Show Podcast.
Three months ago, I started to listen to podcasts when driving or doing tidy tasks at home — a hack to make the most of my time when doing physical tasks unconsciously and focus my attention listening to something.
As I’m always avid to learn more about productivity and minimalism, I started to ear The Ground Up Show Podcast of Matt D’Avella. One of the episodes that stroke me the most was the conversation with James Clear — Author of a Best-Seller Book — Atomic Habits.
Among his compelling ideas and thoughts, these were the most important takeaways:
#1 — Design the environment to empower your habits.
Building a good habit or breaking a bad habit depends on the environment you design. James states the environment design principle is defined by reducing steps to create good habits and adding barriers to cut bad habits.
Some time ago, I started to place a glass of water on the side of my bed so I can drink it first thing in the morning. Without noticing, I created the environment needed to empower this new habit. Now, my body even asks every morning for water.
Think about what habit do you want to build:
- How can you facilitate a new good habit?
- How can you design the environment to propel the new habit?
Then, design the system that empowers your good habits.
#2 — Find your Keystone habit.
A keystone habit is a habit that provides a good ripple effect in all your habits. When you exercise, it impacts your nutrition, sleep and productivity. But doesn’t mean exercising is your keystone habit.
James informs that every person has a different keystone habit for recurring problems. For creatives, the keystone habit is a daily walk. While CEO’s is meditating. Have you ever asked:
- What is the keystone habit that makes you live a better life?
I’m still trying to figure out mine.
#3 — Master the decisive moments of your day:
Decisive moments are little automatic actions that shape the next chunk of time. Sometimes, I pick my phone and spent the next 30 minutes to 1-hour dwelling on it. But I could use the time wisely. And the decisive moment is just picking my phone. Instead, I need to pick up a book or open a notion page to start writing more articles.
So, master the decisive moments during the day to create momentum for the chunk of time focused on what you want to achieve.
Analyse your days and pinpoint your decisive moments:
- What are the moments that are determining your next hour?
- Are your decisive moments making you productive or leading you to a better life? Or are they blocking you?
Make the most of your time.
#4 — Use decision-making and habits to pursue a more productive life.
Decision making and habits are the pillars of living a better life. Decisions set the potential for your life and habits determine how far you will go.
I decided to start writing last December. But if I don’t define rules and create the habits that empower my writing skills, I don’t achieve the potential of my decision.
- Have you decided what you will do next?
Now, set the collection of habits you need to make you achieve your potential.
#5 — Think about your life in seasons to balance your life.
Considering the life moment and interests, James advises thinking about our life in seasons to simplify our life and define your focus. I find it an important tip.
If you don’t have kids, you have time to do certain things. And if you have many interests, thinking in seasons help you prioritize your interests.
From drumming to writing, from DIY Furniture to Arts, I have a bunch of interests. I can’t do everything at the same time. Otherwise, I cut my progression if I focus on only one of my interests.
So I need to train my brain to think about in what season am I to pick my focus. For the moment, I’m in the writing season.
- In which season are you?
Remember, every hour you put in something interesting is taking time from your focus.
#6 — Your system determines your success or failure.
Using athletes as an example, James argues that setting goals cannot be the thing, because most of the Athletes want to be the best in the world, but really few achieve their aim. In the end, James says that what differentiates them is the system in place.
Hence, Goals are important to determine your direction. But then it’s all about habits and system well engined to achieve success.
Therefore, define your goals and focus on the process and systems to achieve them.
#7 — Go further to stand out.
With a nice metaphor about a bus and the number of stops you passed by, James conveys that the longer you stay inside the bus, the fewer people will reach the farthest stop.
If you are creating or writing, keep doing it until you achieve a level where no one ever reached. Overachieve yourself.
#8 — Reading improves every area of your life.
I couldn’t agree more.
Books have the power to give you the tools, tips and processes to solve your problems. I started to read technical books ten years ago.
Every time I wanted to learn about something or improve my skills, I would read something related to the topic or problem, from marketing to sustainability and zero waste.
Nowadays, there are numerous books and articles about every area of life. You need to read the right ones to solve your problems.
#9 — Talk about 98% of what makes a difference in achieving your success.
Being pretty clear and using exercise as an example, James stated that people lose time talking about the protein or the sneakers when running every day for one year or more is what makes 98% of the difference. Sneakers and protein are tools to support your exercise, but daily exercising makes the difference to get in shape
Taking the writing example: we can share the software we use or the tools, but what leads us to be a better writer is writing every day.
Write until your fingers hurt.
Listening to James Clear and Matt D’Avella conversation was enlightening. James Clear explains in a simple way how to change bad habits, empower good ones and achieve a better and more productive life.
You can find here the full conversation.
Even if I got juicy insights from here, I can’t wait to put a hand on the “Atomic Habits” book and improve my productivity.