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Habits That Create Remarkable Results

It's not that luck and randomness and uncertainty don't play a role in life; they do. You know luck. Luck is a part of all of our lives, to a certain degree, both good fortune and bad. But by definition you don't have control over luck, and your habits also matter, and I think that the reason they're so worth while to focus on and understand is that they are the portion of your life that you can influence that also determines your outcomes. It's not just luck, it's not just habits, but one of those you have control over, and so it makes sense. The only reasonable strategy is to focus on what you can control. If you spend all of your time focusing on things you can't control, then you're just one end up frustrated, and so I think habits are maybe the best lever for that talent and genes.

They play a role and it's important. You know, people have natural predispositions to things that make them better but what you find is that nearly always, when someone is a great performer in a particular domain, they are both well-suited so naturally talented or have some kind of predisposition to that area and well-trained and so even if you are talented, you can't succeed without having great habits to to execute and to fully realise the potential that you have. Your outcomes in life are often a lagging measure of your habits. You know, like a lot of the time people talk about, you know I want to have more money or I want to lose weight or I want some kind of result. But the truth is, your bank account is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits, your knowledge is lagging measure of your learning and reading habits, and so it's actually we think that precede those outcomes.

Every action you take is kind of like a vote for the type of person you want to become. And if you can master the right actions, if you can master the right habits, then you can start to cast votes for this new identity, this desired person that you want to be,and I think that's one of the reasons why small habits matter so much. They don't necessarily transform your life overnight right right away. Like doing one. Push up does not transform your body, but it does cast a vote for being the type of person who doesn't miss workouts or meditating for one minute might not give you an immediate sense of calm in your life, but it does cast a vote for being a mediator. The real goal is not to run a marathon. The goal is to become a runner. Goal is not to write a book. The goal is to become a writer because once you have adopted that identity you're really not even pursuing behavior change anymore. You're just kind of acting in alignment with the type of person you already see yourself to be. It's kind of like true behavior changes, really identity change, because once you've changed that internal story, it's way easier to show up each day. You're not even really motivating yourself that much to do it. You're just like. This is who I am now. There is a sort of misalignment of rewards that often happens with habits. So there's an immediate outcome, an immediate reward and then an ultimate reward. And for your bad habits, one reason bad habits stick so readily that they form so easily is because bad habits. Often the immediate reward is favourable. Rightlie, what's the immediate reward of eating a donut? It's kind of great, it's sweet, it's sugary, it tastes good. It's only the ultimate reward if you repeat that habit for six months or a year or two years. That is unfavourable.

Meanwhile, good habits are often the exact opposite. The immediate reward of going to the gym or going to the gym for like a week isn't really that great. Your body's probably sore. You don't have much to show for it. Your body looks the same. Weight hasn't really changed. But if you stick to that for six months or a year or two years, then the ultimate reward is favourable, and so a lot of the balance or a lot of the challenge of building good habits and breaking bad ones is figuring out how to pull the long term costs of your bad habits into the present moment.

So you feel a little bit that pain right now and have a reason to avoid it and pull the long term rewards of your good habits into the present moment. So it feels good and you have a reason to kind of make it through that like valley of death in the beginning and stick with it while you're waiting for those delayed rewards to accumulate. I think we could just summarize that whole cogni bias or mismatch misalignment of rewards by saying the cost of your good habits is in the present and the cost of your bad habits is in the future, and the fact that we prioritise the present over the future ends up making a lot of habit change difficult. For that reason, if I was going to give some practical takeaways, I would say first thing that you can do is probably optimize your environment, because sometimes that's all you need to do. So might as well start there and then maybe it'll take care of itself. You know, like I mentioned, putting the apples in a bowl on the counter was all I need to do, and then the habit of eating apples every day was done. Or maybe you know, putting your TV inside a wall unit or something. Maybe that will be enough to to reduce it or curb the the habit. Unsubscribe from the food blogs. And now you're not tempted to eat as many cookies or something like that. Multiphone super important? Yes, right things like that, removing the the applications or like you deleting Instagram off your phone. Well, that was enough. Now your arm habit is roughly where you want it to be and you just look on the desk top instead of on your phone and that that was enough.

Now you're you're fixed. So environment design, good place to start. Next thing that I would recommend is the two-minute rule in scaling your habits down, making them as easy as possible. Basically just downscale it to a point where you can answer the question: can I stick to this habit 98% of the time without fail, no matter what the conditions? And if you have to say no to that, then it's probably too big to start. So you know pretty much every habit has an entry point or the first thing that you try to do: just focus on mastering mat, and I think that's a good place to focus and then building off that.

The the last one that I'll recommend is there's this great story mention in the book about Tile Thorpe, famous dance choreographer and instructor, and she trains for still. Even now she trains for two hours a day. She's 5060. She's been training for a long time, dancing her whole career, but she doesn't actually focus on the exercise habit. The habit that she focuses on building is. I put on my workout clothes and my sweatshirt and I hail the cab on the side of the street. And if I've done that, then I've completed the habit. And I think the insight that she realized is that habits are often the entry point, not the endpoint. They're the cab, not the gim.

They're like an entrance ramp to the bigger routines in your life. And if you can master that habit, that like little decisive moment that determines what happens in the next chunk of time, then the rest of it kind of falls in line, like I have this moment each morning where either I open up Evernote and I start writing the next article I'm going to work on or I go to and I check the latest sports news. And what happens in the next hour is really determined by what happens in the first like 30 seconds. Because if I go to, then the next hour is kind of shot. But if I start writing the article, if I master that entry point, then I'm kind of speeding in the right direction and the momentum carries me into the rest of the task. And I think that for me that's a little bit inspiring when it comes to building habits, because what you realize is that there's actually not that much to change.

There may be five or 10 of those little decisive moments, those little entry points throughout your day, that determine whether the next chunk of time is productive or not. And if you can organize your environment or join a community or restructure habits so that those entry points are mastered, then you're much more likely to live a good, productive day. And so I think that those three things environment, design, scale your habits down and master the entry points. Those are some really good places to start.

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