James Clear

James Clear quotes on taking action

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.


5 good minutes of: -pushups is a solid workout -sprints will leave you winded -writing can deliver 1 good page -reading can finish an insightful article -meditation can reset your mood You don’t need more time—just a little focused action.


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.


We often avoid taking action because we think "I need to learn more," but the best way to learn is often by taking action.


Working on a problem reduces the fear of it. It’s hard to fear a problem when you are making progress on it—even if progress is imperfect and slow. Action relieves anxiety.


The person who learns the most in any classroom is the teacher. Lesson: If you really want to learn a topic, then “teach” it. Write a book. Teach a class. Build a product. Start a company. The act of making something will force you to learn more deeply than reading ever will.


Maturity is learning how to start when you feel like procrastinating and learning how to listen when you feel like talking.


“Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth.” —Machiavelli Mistakes of ambition: -failing on a big goal -creating something nobody wants Mistakes of sloth: -not attempting a big goal -consuming instead of creating Mistakes of ambition teach. Mistakes of sloth comfort.


There are 3 primary drivers of results in life: 1) Your luck (randomness). 2) Your strategy (choices). 3) Your actions (habits). Only 2 of the 3 are under your control. But if you master those 2, you can improve the odds that luck will work for you rather than against you.


The difference between motion and action. Motion: -talk to a personal trainer -research your book idea -explore different types of meditation Action: -do 10 squats -write 1 sentence -meditate for 1 minute Motion feels like progress. Action is progress.


Your actions are a consequence of your thoughts. Your thoughts are a consequence of what you consume. And in the modern age, what you consume is largely a consequence of how you select and refine your social media feed. Choose better inputs. Get better outputs.


It's better to do less than you hoped than nothing at all. No zero days.


The most powerful force in the universe is compounded attention. Anyone can focus on meaningful actions every now and then, but hammering away on what matters day after day is what delivers exceptional results. What you focus on becomes your life.


“Your favorite authors’ first drafts are bad—no better than yours.” —Julian Shapiro Your favorite athlete's first workout was just as bad as yours. Your favorite chef's first meal was just as bad as yours. Your favorite artist’s first work was just as bad as yours. Keep going


When failure is expensive, plan carefully. When failure is cheap, act quickly.


Stop worrying about how long it will take and get started. Time will pass either way.


In life: (1) Some things are not your fault, but they are your responsibility. (2) Other things are not your responsibility, but they are your problem. (3) Many things are neither your responsibility nor your problem, but they make the world better. Take action on all three.


Procrastinating on something important is choosing to delay a better future.


Raise your ambitions. Lower your expectations. The higher your ambitions, the bolder your actions. The lower your expectations, the greater your satisfaction. Change the world and be happy along the way.


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


Build small habits, but make big plans. (1) Keep your daily actions small. Strive to get 1% better every day. (2) Keep your daily mindset big. Think about how you can play a bigger game. Always start small. Never play small.


If you... 1) develop a bias for moving fast 2) consistently ask, “What’s the real goal here and is there a better way to accomplish it?” ... you can accomplish a lot in one life.


Before you begin, think as if you are a lazy person. Assume the competition will work harder. Your only chance is a better strategy. After you begin, work as if you are a dumb person. Assume the competition is smarter and more talented. Your only chance is to outwork them.


You can borrow knowledge, but not action.


Many people delay taking action because they hope to avoid suffering. They keep searching for a path that won’t involve pain or sacrifice or tradeoffs. But some form of suffering is always inevitable. The process of taking action is the process of choosing your pain.


People who get a lot done tend to do things right away.


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.


Life is short. And if life is short, then moving quickly matters. Launch the product. Write the book. Ask the question. Take the chance. Be thoughtful, but get moving.


Today might be the best chance you have to take action. The longer you wait, the more deeply embedded you get in your current lifestyle. Your habits solidify. Your beliefs harden. You get comfortable. It will never be easy, but it may also never be easier than it is right now.


The Overreaction Paradox: When the result of taking effective action is that nothing happens, which makes your effort seem unnecessary and like an overreaction even if it was the right thing to do.


Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.


We do not appreciate how brief and fleeting our lives will be. It is always later than you think. Time is always more precious than you realize. Realize it now and act!


Complaining increases the weight of the burden.


People generally have more control over their actions than their feelings. But we can influence our feelings by taking action. Take one small step. Move the body first and the mind will follow.


If you haven’t started, then taking action is more important than finding the best strategy. If you’re already taking action, then ensuring you’re working on the right thing is more important than working harder. Your effort sets your floor. Your strategy sets your ceiling.


Impatient with actions. Patient with results.


Do not wait. If there is something you wish to do, go do it. Death comes for busy people too. It will not pause and return at a more convenient time.


The most effective networking strategy I’ve found has nothing to do with conferences, cocktail hours, cold emails, or any of the common ideas you hear. 1) Do interesting things. 2) Share them publicly. Like-minded people will come to you.


Your job is to do the work, not judge it.


Before you throw more time at the problem, throw more focused action at the problem. You don’t need more time, you need fewer distractions.


If you work, inspiration will come. If you wait, inspiration will too.


Intellectuals are more likely to fail because they deliberate too much. Good judgment is wasted when it never turns into action. Trailblazers are more likely to fail because they deliberate too little. Effort is wasted by rushing into work before identifying what matters most.


You choose the future with your actions each day.


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.


If you wish you would take something more seriously, do it publicly. Publishing an article pressures you to think clearly. Competing in a race pressures you to train consistently. Presenting on any topic pressures you to learn it. Social pressure forces you to up your game.


Start with who you wish to become. Shift to how that person would act. Shrink to what you can control.


You know yourself mostly by your thoughts. Everyone else in the world knows you only by your actions. Remember this when you feel misunderstood. You have to do or say something for others to know how you feel.


Authenticity is the gap between your thoughts and your actions. The smaller the gap, the more genuine the lifestyle.


“The four idea principles are: (1) Find a human need, an unsolved problem (2) Master all of the essentials of the problem (3) Give a new “twist” to an old principle (4) Believe in your idea—and act!” —Bruce Lee


Success is often a matter of luck and randomness, but it can be encouraged by effort and strategy.

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