ATOMICHABITSAn Easy & Proven Wayto Build Good Habits &Break Bad OnesTiny Changes,RemarkableResults9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd iii8/16/18 7:58 PM

Penguin R andom House LLC375 Hudson StreetNew York, New York 10014an imprint ofCopyright 2018 by James ClearPenguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encouragesdiverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thankyou for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying withcopyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of itin any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowingPenguin to continue to publish books for every reader.Most Avery books are available at special quantity discounts for bulkpurchase for sales promotions, premiums, f und- raising, and educationalneeds. Special books or book excerpts also can be created to fit specificneeds. For details, write [email protected] 9780735211292Printed in the United States of America1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2While the author has made every effort to provide accurate Internetaddresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the authorassumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur afterpublication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over anddoes not assume any responsibility for author or third-partywebsites or their content.9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd iv8/16/18 7:58 PM

1The Surprising Powerof Atomic HabitsThe fate of British Cycling changed one day in 2003. The organi‑zation, which was the governing body for professional cycling inGreat Britain, had recently hired Dave Brailsford as its new perfor‑mance director. At the time, professional cyclists in Great Britain hadendured nearly one hundred years of mediocrity. Since 1908, Britishriders had won just a single gold medal at the Olympic Games, andthey had fared even worse in cycling’s biggest race, the Tour de France.In 110 years, no British cyclist had ever won the event.In fact, the performance of British riders had been so underwhelm‑ing that one of the top bike manufacturers in Europe refused to sellbikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales ifother professionals saw the Brits using their gear.Brailsford had been hired to put British Cycling on a new trajectory.What made him different from previous coaches was his relentlesscommitment to a strategy that he referred to as “the aggregation ofmarginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny mar‑gin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said, “The wholeprinciple came from the idea that if you broke down everything you9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 138/16/18 7:58 PM

14 ATOMIC HABITScould think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 per‑cent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all t ogether.”Brailsford and his coaches began by making small adjustments youmight expect from a professional cycling team. They redesigned thebike seats to make them more comfortable and rubbed alcohol on thetires for a better grip. They asked riders to wear electrically heatedovershorts to maintain ideal muscle temperature while riding andused biofeedback sensors to monitor how each athlete responded to aparticular workout. The team tested various fabrics in a wind tunneland had their outdoor riders switch to indoor racing suits, whichproved to be lighter and more aerodynamic.But they didn’t stop there. Brailsford and his team continued to find1 percent improvements in overlooked and unexpected areas. Theytested different types of massage gels to see which one led to the fastestmuscle recovery. They hired a surgeon to teach each rider the best way towash their hands to reduce the chances of catching a cold. They deter‑mined the type of pillow and mattress that led to the best night’s sleepfor each rider. They even painted the inside of the team truck white,which helped them spot little bits of dust that would normally slip byunnoticed but could degrade the performance of the finely tuned bikes.As these and hundreds of other small improvements accumulated,the results came faster than anyone could have imagined.Just five years after Brailsford took over, the British Cycling team dom‑inated the road and track cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games inBeijing, where they won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals avail‑able. Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, the Britsraised the bar as they set nine Olympic records and seven world records.That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist towin the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froomewon the race, and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016, and 2017,giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years.9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 148/16/18 7:58 PM

The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits 15During the ten- year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won178 world championships and sixty-six Olympic or Paralympic goldmedals and captured five Tour de France victories in what is widelyregarded as the most successful run in cycling history.*How does this happen? How does a team of previously ordinaryathletes transform into world champions with tiny changes that, atfirst glance, would seem to make a modest difference at best? Why dosmall improvements accumulate into such remarkable results, andhow can you replicate this approach in your own life?WHY SMALL HABITS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCEIt is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining momentand underestimate the value of making small improvements on a dailybasis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requiresmassive action. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, writ‑ing a book, winning a championship, or achieving any other goal, weput pressure on ourselves to make some earth- shattering improvementthat everyone will talk about.Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn’t particularly notable— sometimes it isn’t even noticeable— but it can be far more meaningful,especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can makeover time is astounding. Here’s how the math works out: if you canget 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty- seventimes better by the time you’re done. Conversely, if you get 1 percentworse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. Whatstarts as a small win or a minor setback accumulates into somethingmuch more.* As this book was going to print, new information about the British Cycling team has comeout. You can see my thoughts at AtomicHabits TX.indd 158/16/18 7:58 PM

16 ATOMIC HABITS1% BETTER EVERY DAY1% worse every day for one year.0.99365 00.031% better every day for one year.1.01365 37.78RESULTS1% IMPROVEMENT1% DECLINETIMEFIGURE 1: The effects of small habits compound over time. Forexample, if you can get just 1 percent better each day, you’ll endup with results that are nearly 37 times better after one year.Habits are the compound interest of s elf- improvement. The sameway that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects ofyour habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little dif‑ference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over themonths and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two,five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the costof bad ones becomes strikingly apparent.This can be a difficult concept to appreciate in daily life. We often9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 168/16/18 7:58 PM

The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits 17dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much inthe moment. If you save a little money now, you’re still not a million‑aire. If you go to the gym three days in a row, you’re still out of shape.If you study Mandarin for an hour tonight, you still haven’t learned thelanguage. We make a few changes, but the results never seem to comequickly and so we slide back into our previous routines.Unfortunately, the slow pace of transformation also makes it easy tolet a bad habit slide. If you eat an unhealthy meal today, the scaledoesn’t move much. If you work late tonight and ignore your family,they will forgive you. If you procrastinate and put your project off untiltomorrow, there will usually be time to finish it later. A single decisionis easy to dismiss.But when we repeat 1 percent errors, day after day, by replicatingpoor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little ex‑cuses, our small choices compound into toxic results. It’s the accumu‑lation of many m issteps— a 1 percent decline here and t here— thateventually leads to a problem.The impact created by a change in your habits is similar to the effect ofshifting the route of an airplane by just a few degrees. Imagine you areflying from Los Angeles to New York City. If a pilot leaving from LAXadjusts the heading just 3.5 degrees south, you will land in Washington,D.C., instead of New York. Such a small change is barely noticeable at takeoff— the nose of the airplane moves just a few feet— but when magni‑fied across the entire United States, you end up hundreds of miles apart.*Similarly, a slight change in your daily habits can guide your life toa very different destination. Making a choice that is 1 percent better or1 percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span* I geeked out and actually calculated this. Washington, D.C., is about 225 miles from NewYork City. Assuming you are flying on a 747 or an Airbus A380, changing the heading by 3.5degrees as you leave Los Angeles likely causes the nose of the airplane to shift between 7.2 to7.6 feet, or about 86 to 92 inches. A very small shift in direction can lead to a very meaningfulchange in destination.9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 178/16/18 7:58 PM

18 ATOMIC HABITSof moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the differ‑ence between who you are and who you could be. Success is the prod‑uct of daily habits— not once‑in‑a‑lifetime transformations.That said, it doesn’t matter how successful or unsuccessful you areright now. What matters is whether your habits are putting you on thepath toward success. You should be far more concerned with your cur‑rent trajectory than with your current results. If you’re a millionairebut you spend more than you earn each month, then you’re on a badtrajectory. If your spending habits don’t change, it’s not going to endwell. Conversely, if you’re broke, but you save a little bit every month,then you’re on the path toward financial freedom— even if you’re mov‑ing slower than you’d like.Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worthis a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a laggingmeasure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure ofyour learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaninghabits. You get what you repeat.If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do isfollow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses, and see how your daily choiceswill compound ten or twenty years down the line. Are you spending lessthan you earn each month? Are you making it into the gym each week?Are you reading books and learning something new each day? Tiny bat‑tles like these are the ones that will define your future self.Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It willmultiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Badhabits make time your enemy.Habits are a d ouble- edged sword. Bad habits can cut you down justas easily as good habits can build you up, which is why understandingthe details is crucial. You need to know how habits work and howto design them to your liking, so you can avoid the dangerous half ofthe blade.9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 188/16/18 7:58 PM

The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits 19YOUR HABITS CAN COMPOUND FOR YOU OR AGAINST YOUPositive CompoundingNegative CompoundingProductivity compounds.Stress compounds. The frustrationAccomplishing one extra task is aof a traffic jam. The weight ofsmall feat on any given day, but itparenting responsibilities. Thecounts for a lot over an entireworry of making ends meet. Thecareer. The effect of automatingstrain of slightly high bloodan old task or mastering a newpressure. By themselves, theseskill can be even greater. The morecommon causes of stress aretasks you can handle withoutmanageable. But when they persistthinking, the more your brain isfor years, little stresses compoundfree to focus on other areas.into serious health issues.Knowledge compounds. LearningNegative thoughts new idea won’t make you aThe more you think of yourself asgenius, but a commitment toworthless, stupid, or ugly, the morelifelong learning can beyou condition yourself to interprettransformative. Furthermore, eachlife that way. You get trapped in abook you read not only teachesthought loop. The same is true foryou something new but alsohow you think about others. Onceopens up different ways ofyou fall into the habit of seeingthinking about old ideas. Aspeople as angry, unjust, or selfish,Warren Buffett says, “That’s howyou see those kind of peopleknowledge works. It builds up, likeeverywhere.compound interest.”Relationships compound. PeopleOutrage compounds. Riots,reflect your behavior back to you.protests, and mass movements areThe more you help others, therarely the result of a single event.more others want to help you.Instead, a long series ofBeing a little bit nicer in eachmicroaggressions and dailyinteraction can result in a networkaggravations slowly multiply untilof broad and strong connectionsone event tips the scales andover time.outrage spreads like wildfire.9780735211292 AtomicHabits TX.indd 198/16/18 7:58 PM