Chapter 1: It’s not about your goals or your habits, it’s about your systems.
1 % improvements- story of British Cycling team
“It is easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.”
-Improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable- sometimes it isn’t even noticeable at all- but it can be far more meaningful, esp in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up THIRTY-SEVEN TIMES BETTER by the time you’re done.
-Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiples through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.
-We try positive changes but then the results never seem to come quickly so we slide back to previous routines.
-A single decision is easy to dismiss…making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be.
-We should be FAR MORE CONCERNED WITH OUR CURRENT TRAJECTORY THAN WITH OUR CURRENT RESULTS. Outcomes are a lagging measure of our habits. If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do if follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses, and see how your daily choices will compound ten or twenty years down the line.
-People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result, and decide to stop. You think, “I’ve been running every day for a month, so why can’t I see any change in my body? Once this kind of thinking takes over, it’s easy to let good habits fall by the wayside. But in order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to persist long enough to break through this plateau- what I call the Plateau of Latent Potential.
If you find yourself struggling to build a good habit or break a bad one, it is not because you have lost your ability to improve. It is often because you have not yet crossed the Plateau of Latent Potential. COMPLAINING ABOUT NOT ACHIEVING SUCCESS DESPITE HARD WORK IS LIKE COMPLAINING ABOUT AN ICE CUBE NOT MELTING WHEN YOU HEATED IT FROM TWENTY-FIVE TO THIRDTY ONE DEGREES. Your work was not wasted’ it is just being stored. All the action happens at 32 degrees.
-ALL BIG THINGS COME FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS.
-if you want better results, FORGET ABOUT GOALS, FOCUS ON SYSTEMS INSTEAD
Results have very little to do with the goals I set and nearly everything to do with the systems I followed.
GOALS ARE ABOUT THE SYSTEMS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE. SYSTEMS ARE ABOUT THE PROCESSES THAT LEAD TO THOSE RESULTS.
-Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.
-PROBLEMS FROM SPENDING TOO MUCH TIME THINKING ABOUT GOALS AND NOT ENOUGH TIME DESIGNING SYSTEMS:
1- Winners and losers all have the same goal- to win. The goal is always the same, but systems not implemented lead to diff outcomes.
2- Achieving a goal is only a momentary change: Ex: setting a goal to clean up a messy room. You get the room clean but it goes right back to messy. We have to keep chasing the same outcome because WE NEVER IMPLEMENTED OR CHANGED THE SYSTEM BEHIND IT. WE TREATED A SYMPTOM WITHOUT ADDRESSING THE CAUSE. The results are not the problem- the lack of system is. Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.
3- Goals restrict happiness. An either-or conflict. Either you meet your goal and are successful or you fail and are a disappointment. You may attain it but it rarely satisfies for long. But if you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you dno’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy.
4- Goals are at odds with long-term progress: Once you meet the goal what happens next? We reach a goal then revert to old habits. The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. No one single accomplishment but a cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. It is our commitment to the process that will determine progress.
If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems (p. 27).
Habits are like the atoms of our lives. Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement. At first, these tiny routines seem insignificant, but soon they build on each other and fuel bigger wins that multiply to a degree that far outweighs the cost of their initial investment. They are both small and mighty.