Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. A handful of problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
Success is the product of daily habits. Getting 1% better every day counts for a lot in the long-run.
The important thing is whether your habits are putting you on the right path. Be concerned with your current trajectory and not with your current results.
How to Build Better Habits in 4 Simple Steps
A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. Their ultimate purpose is to solve problems with as little energy and effort as possible.
Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop of four steps:
1. Cue: what triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. The bit of information that predicts a reward.
2. Craving: the motivation behind every habit. You don’t crave the habit itself, rather the change in state it is capable of delivering.
3. Response: the actual habit you perform, as a thought or action. Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are.
4. Reward: the end goal of every habit. Humans are naturally drawn to reward systems and will carry out tasks or contests in the hopes of getting a reward.
We chase rewards because they satisfy our cravings and teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future.
The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits:
1. Cue: make it obvious
2. Craving: make it attractive
3. Response: make it easy
4. Reward: make it satisfying
We can invert these laws to learn how to break a bad habit:
1.Cue: make it invisible
2. Craving: make it unattractive
3. Response: make it difficult
4. Reward: make it unsatisfying
If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses, and see how your daily choices will compound ten or twenty years down the line
The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside is that we stop paying attention to little errors and feedback.
Habits alone aren’t sufficient for mastery. You need a combination of automatic habits and deliberate practice.