James Clear

James Clear quotes on motivation

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

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Most people think they lack motivation when they really lack clarity.


Being underestimated is a gift. You don’t have to find motivation.


For the last week, I have started each day by writing “What do I want?” at the top of a blank page. It’s surprising how useful it is to keep asking yourself this question. Each time, my answers get more precise. Once I know what I want, I translate the answer into action steps.


Run toward the next thing, not away from the last thing.


Comparing yourself to others... ...is positive when it motivates you to get back to work, upgrade your skills, and remain dedicated to a meaningful pursuit. ...is negative when it causes rumination, negative self-talk, and lower self-esteem. It’s a thin line between the two.


Build before you have to. - Build knowledge before you have to. - Build strength before you have to. - Build an emergency fund before you have to. Let internal pressure drive you today, so you can handle external pressure tomorrow.


Motivation is knowing what you want.


Slow and steady often wins because it keeps you motivated. Take on manageable challenges and you'll get frequent signals of progress. Bite off more than you can chew and progress stalls. When you make progress, you want to keep going. When you break progress, you want to stop.


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.


Stories change more minds than facts. The way to change someone’s mind is not to present them with overwhelming evidence but to motivate them with overwhelming emotion. (Ideally, you’d have truth on your side and a story worth spreading.)


We often describe mental toughness as something you use to get to the finish line: -finish what you start -just keep going -never give up But grit may be more powerful as something you use to get to the starting line: -never miss a workout -always show up -do it everyday


You can create a lot of meaning in your own life by helping someone else do something that is meaningful to them.


I’m usually terrified people will hate my writing. My only saving grace is how I direct that fear. I use it to motivate me to find better ideas and share more useful examples rather than allowing it to prevent me from sharing at all. Fear is the gas pedal, not the brake.


When any behavior or attitude or pattern of thinking is the path of least resistance, it gets repeated. That’s true for good habits as well as bad ones. Don’t worry about motivation. Just make good habits the path of least resistance.


Especially in the beginning, choose the most enjoyable version of a new habit: -the type of exercise you find fun -the length of journaling you find motivating -the style of meditation you find interesting If you enjoy it the first time, you’ll want to come back next time.


Self-interest is the underlying motive behind all human behavior. Even a seemingly selfless action like donating anonymously is in your self-interest because it reinforces your belief that you are a generous person.


Best arguments for goal setting: -Goals can motivate and inspire you -Goals make it easier to say no to distractions Best arguments against goal setting: -Goal setting overvalues the outcome, undervalues the process -Goals push happiness off to the next milestone


Motivation can be minimal if actions are easy. Start small and become the kind of person who shows up every day. Build a new identity. Then increase the intensity.


If you have a goal, the most important thing is to start. Do not wait for motivation. If it’s not there, it will come after starting.


If you have a goal, the most important thing is to start. Do not wait for motivation. If it’s not there, it will come after starting.


It doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you only work when you’re motivated, then you’ll never be consistent enough to become a pro.


Perceived value motivates you to act. Actual value motivates you to repeat.


If you want to stay motivated for good, then start with a challenge that is just manageable, measure your progress, and repeat the process.

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