Your goals might be ruining your life. Sounds weird? But yes, this is true. James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, is telling us, if you want to achieve something then focus on atomic habits and not on big goals.
What are Atomic Habits:
Atomic Habits are those habits that are very small and do not take much time and energy but are very powerful. And, repeating them every day causes you to achieve big goals. Just like many tiny atoms together form a molecule, the same way our atomic habits can give us tremendous results over time.
Why Not to Focus on Goals:
When you set a goal, automatically you start expecting that the graph of your improvement will go like a Linear graph.
But the reality is very different from expectation. When you start your journey to achieve your goal, you realize that the progress is very slow, and it is not going the way you expected it to be. Then you start doubting yourself and losing your motivation.
What most people don’t understand is that the graph of success is not linear, but it looks like this.
As you can see from the graph, there is a valley of disappointment where most people quit. What they don’t understand is, if they keep on working eventually, they would have come out of this valley and reach their goals.
Sounds simple but, it is not.
As long as you are focusing on your goals, you will be disappointed with your slow progress.
That’s why James Clear says we must focus on our atomic habits and not our goals.
Why Focus on Atomic habits:
Our goals only give us directions, but it is our atomic habits that lead us to success.
Suppose you set a goal to learn guitar, then you must think which atomic habits will help you to achieve this goal. This way you forget about your goals and only focus on your atomic habits.
Take the example of the British Cycling Team. For almost 100 years they were one of the worst-performing teams in the Olympics.
In 2003, Dave Brailsford was hired as the coach of the British Cycling Team.
Dave started focusing on marginal improvements. He believed that if the team improve only 1% in different areas, then the overall performance would increase massively.
He adjusted bikes’ seats to improve comfort. He took advice from professionals on how to hand wash properly to reduce the chances of getting ill. He also tried various types of massage so that mussel recovery could improve, and many other small things.
And as a result, within ‘5’ years in Bejing Olympics, this British team won 60% medals in cycling. After ‘4’ years in the London Olympics, they made 9 Olympic records and 7 world records.
From 2007 to 2017, the British Cycling team won 178 world championships, 66 Olympic medals, and 5 Tour de France. This is called the greatest turnaround in cycling history.
All this is the result of those 1% improvements the team made for a few years.
According to James Clear, there are three layers of behavior change.
Change in Outcomes:
I want to lose weight, or I want to learn this skill, or I want to earn this much amount. All of this
is a change in outcomes.
Change in Process:
When you join the gym or start learning the skills, this is a change in the process.
Change in Identity:
The most effective way to change your habit is to change your identity. What you think about yourself, how you see yourself is your identity, and this affects your habits the most.
To change your identity, you have to decide what type of person you want to be? If you want to quit smoking, then you have to change your identity that you are not a smoker with the help of atomic habits. And to do that you need to understand how to develop a habit?
There are '4' Steps to Develop a Habit
1. Cue: This is a signal that you get to do something habitually.
2. Craving: Craving is the desire to do something.
3. Response: Response is the action you do to satisfy your craving.
4. Reward: This is the feeling you get after satisfying your craving.
To develop a good habit or to quit a bad habit, you have to follow these same steps.
So follow the tricks and steps suggested in this wonderful book Atomic Habits and start achieving your goals.