James Clear

James Clear quotes on long-game

Author of the #1 NYT bestseller Atomic Habits. I write about building better habits.

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Aim to be great in 10 years. Build health habits today that lead to a great body in 10 years. Build social habits today that lead to great relationships in 10 years. Build learning habits today that lead to great knowledge in 10 years. Long-term thinking is a secret weapon.


Your 1st blog post will be bad, but your 1000th will be great. Your 1st workout will be weak, but your 1000th will be strong. Your 1st meditation will be scattered, but your 1000th will be focused. Put in your reps.


New goals don't deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.


What looks like talent is often careful preparation. What looks like skill is often persistent revision.


Be radically proactive about any behavior that pays off in 10 years.


Most failures are one-time costs. Most regrets are recurring costs. The pain of inaction stings longer than the pain of incorrect action.


Systems are for people who care about winning repeatedly. Goals are for people who care about winning once.


Focus on your daily results and you’ll often make poor long-term choices. Focus on your daily choices and you’ll almost certainly enjoy good long-term results.


A paradox of life is that the greatest returns come in the long-term, but the opportunity cost of moving slowly is huge. Long-term thinking is not slow acting. Act fast on things that compound. Never let a day pass without doing something that will benefit you in a decade.


The most overlooked and underappreciated growth strategy is patience. (More specifically, consistently producing great work over a long time horizon.)


Don’t write to sound smart. Write to be useful. If you’re useful over a long time period, you will end up looking smart anyway.


If the only reason you're not pursuing a dream is because of the length of time it will take to achieve it, you should start right now. Think long-term.


The best exercise for gaining strength is not missing workouts.


Time is the most powerful force in the universe. Nobody controls it. Nobody can stop it. If you make choices that make time your ally on a daily basis, then nobody can prevent the trajectory of time from benefitting you in the long-run.


In the long-run, the people who succeed are the ones who want to live the lifestyle that precedes the results. Stop asking, "What results do I want to have?" Start asking, "What lifestyle do I want to live?" It's common to want results. It's rare to want the lifestyle.


Life is too short to not be pursuing the best opportunity you know of.


How long does it take to build a habit? 21 days? 30 days? 66 days? The honest answer is: forever. Because once you stop doing it, it is no longer a habit. A habit is a lifestyle to be lived, not a finish line to be crossed. Make small, sustainable changes you can stick with.


The most useful form of patience is persistence. Patience implies waiting for things to improve on their own. Persistence implies keeping your head down and continuing to work when things take longer than you expect.


Whenever you see an overnight success, your eyes deceive you. What you are witnessing is the hour of opportunity unleashing the potential energy of previous choices. It was not one decision, but the accumulated power of all that came before. The fuse was lit on a loaded cannon.


Before you dream about the view from the summit, ask yourself if you're willing to keep your head down, focus on the path, and spend your life walking up the side of a very big hill. It takes years of walking to earn a minute at the top.


Before something can compound, it must be sustained. This includes: -Money compounding in your portfolio -Productivity compounding in your organization -Love compounding in your relationships ...and more. In the long-run, the sustainable way is the fast way.


It’s crazy how you hear the story of The Tortoise and the Hare while growing up, and assume it’s just a nice thing to tell kids—and then you start your career and watch it actually happen. The people who stick with things for years and never stop almost always win the race.


A good choice may go unrewarded for a long time. The best choices tend to provide exponential returns and a hallmark of any compounding process is that the greatest rewards are delayed. Things don't really take off until years later. Keep working. Be patient.


Optimists win in the long-run because their miscalculation of how long it will take or how likely it is to succeed motivates them to give it a try. If you knew how hard it would be and how long it would take in the beginning then you might not try in the first place.


In the long-run (and often in the short-run), your willpower will never beat your environment.


The easy way is often the hard way. Shortcuts, one-sided deals, and selfish behavior create debts. You only look like a winner until the bill comes due. Short-term actions become long-term frustrations. In hindsight, the hard way only seems slow in the moment.


Win the day and the decade falls into place.


Not enough is said about the power of thinking about one topic for a long period of time. If you revisit a topic continually for a few years, most problems (and many solutions) will occur to you at some point. Expertise can be the gradual accumulation of many modest insights.


Focus collapses your options in the short-term, but expands them in the long-term.


In the long-run, adaptation is more useful than optimization. At some point, the environment you optimized for will shift. The rules of the game will change. The flexible prevail.


Practice is the price you pay today to be better tomorrow.


Many people undermine success in the long-term by optimizing for status in the short-term.


All friendships and relationships develop inside jokes. The longer the relationship, the more inside jokes you develop. The more inside jokes you develop, the weirder they get. Thus, at some point, all the best friendships and relationships get really weird.


In the middle, it feels slow. In hindsight, it feels fast.


Sometimes greatness is the result of a transcendent, peak performance. But often, greatness is simply the result of a good performance repeated and sustained much longer than usual.


For ideas to truly stick, we must make contact with them repeatedly.


Simple question to find work you love: What do you enjoy refining? Many people get excited to do something once, but ultimately get bored. It’s the areas you can’t help yourself from rethinking, revising, reorganizing, and optimizing where you have a long-term advantage.


In the short-run, great managers, coaches, and leaders adjust their strategy to fit their players. In the long-run, great managers, coaches, and leaders recruit players to fit their strategy.


People often hold a particular belief or state an opinion because of what it signals to others in that moment not because it will be accurate in the long run. Belonging, acceptance, and praise from the people we care about frequently overpowers the quest for truth and accuracy.

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