Atomic habits 1 & 2

Been reading a new book “Atomic habits” by James Clear.

I am inspired.


  1. An extremely small amount of a thing; the single irreducible unit of a larger system.
  2. The source of immense energy and power


  1. Routine or practice performed regularly; an automatic response to a specific situation

Small habits make a huge difference

  • It is easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements daily. We think that massive success requires massive action.
  • Improving by 1% is not noticeable, but in the long run can be far more meaningful. This is about the aggregation of marginal gains. If you get 1% better everyday, you’ll end up 37% better by the end of the year. If you get 1% worse everyday, you will decline down to nearly zero. What starts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into something much more.
  • Habits are like compound interest of self improvement– the same way money multiples through compound interest in the bank. The impact of change in your habits is similar to the effect of shifting the route of the plane by a few degrees. The small change is not noticeable at take-off, but when the magnitude is multiplied across the size of USA, you can end up hundreds of miles away from your destination.
  • Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Breakthrough moments are a result of many previous actions (e.g. cancer spends 80% of the time undetectable before taking over the body in months, bamboo cannot be seen for 5 years while it builds an extensive root system before it explodes 90 feet into the air within 6 weeks). Similarly, habits make no difference until you cross the critical threshold called the Plateau of Latent Potential (during which time you suffer in the Valley of Disappointment). When you work and don’t see any result, remember that your work is not wasted- it is just stored (e.g. tectonic plates rub against each other for years until one day the tension is too great and the same action one day leads to an earthquake).
  • Be more concerned about your trajectory (i.e. process/ systems) rather than your outcomes (i.e. results/ goals). The score will take care of itself. You do not rise to the level of your goals, but fall to the level of your systems.

Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits

  • Changing our habits is hard because we try and change the wrong thing, and because we approach change the wrong way.
  • There are 3 levels at which change can occur. 1. Changing your outcomes (e.g. losing weight, winning a prize) 2. Changing your process (e.g. new routine at the gym, decluttering your desk) 3. Changing your identity (your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others). ¬†Instead of focusing on changing what the outcomes are, we should focus on changing who we wish to become. Identity change leads to behavioural/ habit change. The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. Behaviour that is incongruent with self will not last.
  • Conversely, the more your repeat a behaviour, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behaviour. Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. ¬†You don’t have to be perfect… as in an election, there will be votes on both sides. BUT, you don’t need a unanimous vote to win, you just need to win the majority of the time.

To do:

  1. Decide the type of person you want to be
  2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

Who I want to be: Healthy, strong and beautiful

What this person is: Disciplined, consistent, positive

What the process is:

    • Choosing better nutrition (avoiding sweets and chocolates, avoiding MSG, eating a colourful plate, eating more protein, meal-prepping, mindful eating of small-moderate portions).
    • Choosing to exercise/ lift at least 3 times a week, even when I am tired and “don’t feel like it”. Taking the stairs instead of the lift, hitting my step count target, trying a new exercise that I enjoy.
    • Sticking to my skincare routine- exfoliating regularly, using my galvanic device daily, using face mask once a week, seeing a dermatologist, eating foods good for my skin.
    • Always ask myself “What would a healthy and beautiful person do?”
    • Never saying to myself “I am fat and ugly” ever again. Say “I am a work in progress. I am strong and gorgeous. I can do it!”

Who I want to be: A competent and confident doctor. A doctor who loves her work and is loved by the people she encounters at work.

What this person is: Attentive to detail, up to date, cautious, prayerful and positive. Sensitive to others, generous, smiley.

What the process is:

    • Study. Reading up on latest guidelines, involved with departmental updates & CPD activity, exchanges ideas with colleagues.
    • Prays daily for the safety of her patients.
    • Observant. Learning from own and other people’s mistakes. Observes other people’s moods and behaviours.
    • Positive in self-talk and talk to others. Reminds self of a job well-done. Remind others of jobs they have done well. Apologises and says thank you when appropriate. Not engaging in work gossip however tempting it may be.
    • Patient.
    • Smile.