James Clear: Author of Atomic Habits

Episode 334

On today’s episode, we talk with James Clear, who is the Author of Atomic Habits. James focuses on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement. He’s the Author of the #1 New York Times best seller Atomic Habits, a book that has sold over 5 million copies worldwide, has been translated into more than 50 languages and it is truly one of my favorites. We talk about the importance of developing systems and the right system to transform and create habits. How you do not rise to the level of your goals but rather fall to the level of your systems. James shares his own story with us and gives us great insight into how we can all establish habits that last. You are going to love starting 2023 off right listening to this goldmine of an episode on #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am so thrilled to have my next guest. Here we have James clear who was the author of the number one New York Times bestseller, atomic habits. And if you have not read this book, you need to go out and get this book immediately or get it on Audible, or however you choose to get the book. It’s absolutely incredible and so inspiring. So James is a writer, and he’s a speaker focused on habits, decision making and continuous improvement. As I mentioned, he’s the author of this incredible book. And the book has now sold 5 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 50 languages, and is really one of my favorites. And you guys don’t hear me saying that very often, when I talk about some of the books that are out there means a lot to me when I find books that are really actionable and inspiring as much as this one is. So we actually met at a speaking event that we were both speaking at at Pay Pal a few months back, and I had read his book already earmarked to death, thinking so much about habits and sort of how those are really bringing you to be the best person that you could possibly be. So I’m excited to hear more about James’s story and really kind of get more into the nitty gritty of the book. So welcome, James.

James Clear 2:01
Hey, thanks, Kara. Thank you for having me and excited to talk more. Yeah,

Kara Goldin 2:05
absolutely. So let’s dig in, I’d love to hear the story in terms of you know, who was James who is James, but if you can kind of give people some background?

James Clear 2:16
Sure. So if I’m just gonna frame this, through the lens of habits are connected to the rest of our conversation, you know, people are building habits all the time. And some of the habits that were a big part of my childhood, I enjoyed school, you know, I feel like I have a lot of entrepreneurial friends who didn’t like school, I did like it. And it was kind of like a game for me to try to optimize, I kind of like trying to figure out like how it would work. So I always enjoyed learning. And I also enjoyed sports. And those were kind of the two big pillars of my childhood, I played a variety of sports growing up, but then ultimately settled on baseball. And that kind of became like the the one of the main things of my identity for the first 20 years or so of my life. My dad played professional baseball, he played in the minor leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals. And so I kind of grew up, you know, wanting to do something like that, too, or always dreaming about that. And so it’s a big part of my life. And as any athlete can tell you, there are all kinds of habits that you’re building, in the gym or on the field, and so on. Now, I didn’t really have a language to describe, you know, kind of what was going on at the time. But that was my first sort of exposure to practicing some of the concepts or ideas that now I write about. years later, when I was in high school, I suffered a very serious injury, I was hit in the face of the baseball bat. And it was an accident. That hit me right between my eyes and broke both eye sockets and broke my nose. And I was AIRCARE to the hospital, actually was had a couple seizures and had trouble breathing on my own place into a medically induced coma that night, woke up the next day and the process of sort of healing began. And it was this very long process. You know, I couldn’t drive a car for the next nine months, I was practicing basic motor patterns, like walking in a straight line. And so it was this very gradual improvement. And it was the first time in my life. Or maybe I should just say the, the most explicit time in my life, when I was like forced to start really small, and just focus on getting a little bit better each day. Because that’s all I could manage. You know, I just had to focus on the next physical therapy session or the next small milestone. And I think that experience gave me maybe a little bit more of an appreciation for small improvements and how they can add up. Ultimately, I got back on the baseball field and had a good baseball career. But it was a very long process. The arc of that was probably five or six years before I you know, was like fully maximizing my potential after the injury. So again, I didn’t have a winning way of describing this, if you don’t come up to me at the time, I never would have said I’m just trying to get 1% better today or you know, I’m like trying to make some small improvements. But now 10 years after the fact after having, you know, gone through that and written the book and so on. I have a language for describing it and a lot of those cons The apps that I had to practice are now sort of a key part of the things that I teach through atomic habits, my other writing, and I think being someone who practices the ideas, and not somebody who just thinks about them, I think it made the concepts better, I think it made gave me a greater appreciation for it. Because I struggle with all the same things everybody else struggles with, you know, it’s like, do you ever procrastinate Sure, all the time? You know, like, do you focus too much on the goal? and not enough on the system? Yes, absolutely. And so my, my experience of going through that I think, gave me a greater appreciation for where I was failing, or where it was hard for me. And I felt like if it worked for me, or if I could find a way to move forward or find a way to get around this particular barrier, or pitfall that was probably something good to share with the audience, because other people might be dealing with the same thing. So that’s kind of the medium length version of No, I

Kara Goldin 5:53
love it kind of how I got some book. Well, you know, it’s interesting when I was reading the section of the book, so I started a company called hint seven teen years ago, I just wanted to get a bottle on the shelf at Whole Foods. I mean, that was like the baby step, I was not sitting there thinking about taking on big soda, or building a giant company to go flip it. And a couple of years, I think, for me, I looked at the baby steps. And I frequently go back to my time as an athlete, I was a gymnast. And I would always think about, okay, I want to do what that person is doing across the room. And I would study them. And I would ask them questions, and I would try and figure out how did they get there? And maybe I can take some of their habits and some of the things that have worked for them, and try them, maybe they’ll work maybe they won’t work. And that’s what I was thinking, as I was reading your story, like, how does that apply into business? And I think it was really refreshing to hear you sort of articulate that, because it does go back to sort of what’s happened in your journey? And how does that relate to the rest of how you live your life?

James Clear 7:05
Yeah, I think that mindset, you’re describing the both desire or curiosity to deconstruct something, and the willingness to kind of take the pieces apart of that thing that you want to achieve. That’s a really powerful mindset, it can be very empowering in many different ways in life, you know, you can look at the people who have the kind of business that you want to have and deconstruct how that is created, you can be more granular about it and just look at like a particular marketing campaign, or how they launched a product and deconstruct how they did that, and try to put those pieces back together. On my end, as a writer, I can do it all the way down to like, let’s say, I want to write a great sentence for the beginning of a chapter. I might go to the most popular articles on the New York Times that week, and then see how what’s the first sentence for each of those articles? And then maybe I take a bunch of books off the bookshelf, and look, what’s the first sentence of each book? And I’m just trying to see like, is there any pattern is there anything I can learn there, that maybe I could take and apply to the project that I’m working on, and that willingness to kind of deconstruct things, look at the pieces that they’re made up with, and then reverse engineer a path that works for you, I think can be really helpful. The one caveat I’ll add to that is, if you have like a single story of success from somebody, or you see a single example of it working, that doesn’t really mean a whole lot, you know, like there are many different reasons why something could succeed. And so one example is, it’s kind of just noise. But if you start to look across like 100, different examples, and you start to see a pattern emerge, then you’re probably onto something, you know, there’s probably something true about that particular style or approach or strategy. So reverse engineering or deconstructing things and trying to find the patterns across successful people or across successful examples. That can be a really powerful strategy to use. And in many areas of life, not just habits,

Kara Goldin 8:54
I loved your also your sort of description of habits too, because I’ve always looked at that word as one that it could be positive, but it could be negative too. And I think really, what you touch on in this book is changing the habits, figuring out why they’re important, calling attention to them. Don’t forget about your habits. I think that’s something that people do a lot to that they figure they do, you know, nine things really well. And maybe they’ve got this one habit over here, but that one habit could actually really destroy you for wanting to kind of be where you want to be. But I’d love to get your analysis on why habits are important.

James Clear 9:34
So we often talk about habits as mattering because of the external results that can get us and it is true that habits can drive your results in many areas of life. Your outcomes are almost like a lagging measure of the habits that precede them. So your bank account is a lagging measure of your financial habits or your physical fitness is a lagging measure of your health habits or your even silly things. Like the amount of clutter in your living room is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits, you know. So we often so badly want our results to change. But the results are not actually the thing that needs to change. It’s like fixed the inputs, and the outputs will fix themselves. And this is one of the core ideas of atomic habits, something I come back to a lot, which is that you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems. And that’s kind of what I’m getting at with this, which is your goal is the desired outcome. It’s the thing you’re optimizing for what is your system, it’s the collection of daily habits that you follow. And if there’s ever a gap between your goal in your system, if there’s never a gap between your desired outcome, and your daily habits, your daily habits will always win. Like almost by definition, your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results. So if you want a different outcome, if you want different results, the thing that needs to change is the collection of habits that you’re following. Now, I think that’s all true. And habits are maybe the central driver of outcomes in life, it’s not to say that they’re the only thing that matters, you know, like you have luck and randomness and misfortune. But by definition, luck and randomness are not under your control. And your habits are. And the only reasonable rational approach in life is to focus on the elements that are within your control. So habits can drive your results. That’s probably the first or I should say the most obvious reason why habits really matter. But I think there’s a second reason perhaps a deeper reason that habits matter. And that is, your habits are how you embody a particular identity. So every day that you make your bed, you embody the identity of someone who is clean and organized. Or if you study biology on Tuesday night for 30 minutes, then you embody the identity of someone who’s studious, and each individual action doesn’t count for that much. But collectively, you start to shape the story about yourself. And this is I think the the little like punch line or phrase I’ve tried to keep in mind, which is, every action that you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. And so no, doing one pushup does not transform your body. But it does cast a vote for I’m the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts. And no writing one sentence may not finish the novel, but it does cast a vote for I’m a writer. And as you start to layer votes onto the pile, and build up this body of evidence, you have every reason in the world to believe that about yourself and starts to become part of your story. And once you start to like take pride in that aspect of your identity, once you start to believe in it and make it part of your story, I think it becomes a little bit easier to stick to the behavior. You know, like if you take pride in the size of your biceps, you never skip arm day at the gym. Or if you take pride in how your hair looks, you have this long haircare routine, you do it every day. And so the habits that are aligned or connected to our identity are ones that tend to be easier to fall through on. I think that’s the real reason, the true reason habits matter is that they shape the type of person you are. And for that reason, I often suggest like the place to start, if you’re trying to build better habits, is by asking yourself, Who is the type of person I wish to become? And which I which habits reinforce that desired identity. You can do this in the business context too. You know, you can say what is the type of company we’re trying to become? What is the type of culture we’re trying to create? And which habits reinforce that identity? And can we try to build those together. So the first reason they matter is that they drive results. And results are often a lagging measure of the habits that come before them. But the second and perhaps the more important reason that they matter is that your habits reinforce your identity.

Kara Goldin 13:37
So in that context, let’s say that you’ve got this idea of maybe you want to become healthy, I think where people get bogged down is that they want to get healthy. There’s a lot of confusion out there. And you know, maybe there’s diets, maybe there’s you know, different foods that they’re supposed to be eating maybe, whatever that is, but like how do you get to the point where you start to craft what those habits are? Do you look at what other people are doing that have gotten healthy? Like, that’s just one example. I just, I think that that’s where I feel like people get so bogged down, they almost don’t get serious about creating these habits. There’s people that are maybe more organized and type A and there’s like I’m gonna go and create these habits, but there’s other people who run into almost like a fire situation where they, you know, might figure out that they’re incredibly unhealthy or, or they’ve lost their job. And you know, they’ve got to figure out better habits on figuring this out. How do you get there before you run into a horrible situation? I guess too.

James Clear 14:42
Sure. Yeah, there’s a lot going on there. So there are a couple different things to focus on or talk about. The first thing is most areas of life, there might not be 1000 ways to do it. But there’s almost always more than one way and for some reason with habits, I think a lot of the time we end up imitating or mimicking the habits that we think we’re supposed to have, you know, we pick the habits that we feel like society says we should have, or we feel like we’ll be praised for having, or pick the habits that our parents think we should have, or our peers are encouraging us to do, not necessarily the habits that we genuinely want to have. And, you know, like, for example, let’s take the fitness one that you brought up, I consider my workout habit to be like a pretty core habit. For me, that’s if I had to pick like one of my top ones, that’s like a really important one that I try to always stick to. And I like working out in the gym, I like lifting weights, but not everybody wants to work out like a bodybuilder. You know, like a lot of people want to kayak or run or rock climb, or cycle or whatever, there’s like a million ways to live an active lifestyle, and you should choose the version of that habit that is most appealing to you. And that sounds pretty straightforward. When you say it beats, you’d be surprised how often people don’t do that. And so I think the first hurdle is to choose a habit that you’re genuinely interested in, or have at least a version of that habit that is more appealing to you than the other options. So that’s the first place, then once you’ve got this habit that you feel like, hey, this reinforces the type of person I want to be, it reinforces my desired identity. And it’s the version of that habit that is appealing or interesting to me, now we have the issue of scope. And a lot of the time especially for ambitious people, it’s very easy to pick a habit that’s too large. In the beginning, I like to think about habits as kind of having like this activation energy that’s required to get them started and to do them. And you can imagine, like one person says, Okay, I’m going to do 100 pushups a day. And another person says, I’m gonna do one pushup a day. Now the activation energies for those habits are very different. Even though they’re both doing push ups, you know, you can, even if you forget to do your workout, and you’re exhausted, you can do one pushup before you fall in bed at the end of the night. But 100 Push ups, you kind of need things to go right. And if the day doesn’t go well, or things get you know, off off track, then it’s very easy to just skip that day. Now, I’m not saying you should never work up to doing 100 pushups, but what I am saying is that in the beginning, motivation can be a little bit of a fragile or delicate thing. And what you want is to feed this feeling of momentum, this feeling of progress. And so by starting with one pushup a day, yeah, it’s not going to transform your body overnight. But what you’re trying to do is to not miss you’re trying to build up this momentum to generate confidence to create this feeling of progress. And then once you get five or seven or 10 days under your belt, maybe start doing a few more, and then you start feeling good about yourself. And then you get to a place where you’ve done it enough over the course of a month or two or three, that if you missed a day, it’s not going to derail you or wreck the whole thing. It’s just you’re already feeling good about it. This is also a useful thing to keep in mind, if you already have a habit that you’d like and you stick to. But you just wish you wouldn’t skip it as much as you do. The idea that I’d like to encourage myself to remember is reduce the scope, but stick to the schedule. So you may have like a 45 minute workout that you would like to do. But then today, you’re like, Oh, I only got 20 minutes, I can’t do it, why bother. But instead, like, Let’s reduce the scope and stick to the schedule. And then you can look at yourself at the end of the night and be like, You know what I wasn’t able to get my full workout in. But I still did something. And even though the situation wasn’t ideal, I cast the vote for being that kind of person. And I think if you can do that, in the long run, you maintain the habit. And if you maintain the habit, all you need is time. And so there are a couple different things going on there. But I think choosing the version that is exciting to you. And reducing the scope are two of the best places to start.

Kara Goldin 18:24
The other piece that I saw. So when I was drinking a ton of Diet Coke, that was my, my thing before I started hint. I mean, I decided just to break that habit. And people said, Did you start drinking one a day? Or Nope, I was very strict. And it took me about two and a half weeks to really stop that habit. And I don’t know if that’s normal for habits. I think like one of the things that I thought about in your book, too is how long does it take to create a habit? But how long does it take to break one?

James Clear 19:01
Yeah, it’s a good question and an interesting conversation. Strangely, the where I come on this after sitting with it for years and kind of thinking about this writing about it is I actually don’t think there is a normal amount of time for either building one or breaking one. And there are averages that different studies come out with and stuff. But it varies depending on the habit. And it can vary pretty widely. Like the very it can be like a month or it can be eight months like it’s you know, it’s not, it’s not some small range. So the reason I say that, and it becomes very obvious, as soon as you unpack it, imagine somebody is trying to build a good habit. So they’re trying to go for a run each day after work. Well, if you live with a bunch of athletes, and everybody else is already running and stuff, and you can do it with your friends, that’s a much more conducive environment than if you’re going to be criticized by the people you live with and nobody else is working out and they’re not interested and you feel like you’re kind of fighting this uphill battle, same habit, but the amount of time varies wildly, depending on the context. And this is one of the key insights I tried to unravel in atomic habits and provide different strategies. Use for which is you can do a lot of things to kind of stack the deck in your favor. And so by priming the environment to put yourself in a better context, well, then all of a sudden you’re swimming with the current rather than against it. And it makes it much easier to build good habits. And I would imagine that a lot of the people that you see who have good habits, that you kind of think, Oh, I wish I had the willpower they had or I wish they had the discipline they had, they may have willpower and discipline, but in many cases, in probably most cases, they’re benefiting from the environment, they’re benefiting from a good context. That is, it’s like plant planting a tomato plant in like rich soil with water and plenty of sunlight, versus planting it on like a rocky cliff ledge, you know, one of these two things is gonna grow much easier than the other. Yeah, and so you want to put yourself in a good context. Now, when it comes to breaking bad habits, there are three different things you can do. So the first thing is you can just eliminate it cold turkey, which is what you did, you know, just cut out Diet Coke, I’m done, I’m not gonna do it anymore. Second thing is you can curtail the habit to the desired degree. So rather than like checking my phone every three minutes, I will leave it in another room until lunch each day. And then you know, only be checking it more consistently throughout the afternoon. But now I’ve curtailed it in the morning, and maybe I can focus a little bit more. That’s like an example of one that I tried to do. And then the third thing is you can substitute it. So I don’t know if you did this, but I’ll just use it as an example. Rather than drinking diet coke. You know, rather than drinking five Diet Cokes a day, now, I’m drinking five headwaters a day. And by substituting hints for Diet Coke, you make it easier to do that. And I was just talking actually to someone the other day, who the way that they swapped it out was they swapped their soda for sparkling water. And what they realized was that they just wanted like a carbonated beverage, they didn’t necessarily wants the Coke, they just wanted the feeling of carbonation. And you can do that for many different habits. And it’s really the way to do it. Or the way to try to figure out that substitution, is you try to figure out what your current habit is giving you what part of the process do you find rewarding or beneficial or enjoyable? And can you get that reward in a different way. And I’ll just say one more thing on this because I feel like it’s important. And it connects to all habits that we have in life, which is, habits are a pathway for solving the repeated problems that you face. So all all of our habits, even the ones that we would label as bad, they benefit you in some way. Now, they may have other bad consequences, but they provide some benefit. So for example, let’s say you come home from work, and it’s 6pm. And you’re exhausted and stressed after a long day at work, well, there are a lot of different things you could do to address that problem. You know, one person might play video games for an hour, another person might scroll mindlessly on Instagram for 30 minutes. Third person might go for a two mile run, and they’re all addressing the same underlying problem. But some of those behaviors are more healthy than others are more productive than others. And what do you think are the odds that the solutions you’ve stumbled into throughout life are the optimal way to solve the problems that you repeatedly face, like, it’s very unlikely that whatever habits you happen to build throughout your life, are going to be the perfect optimal solution to the problems that you faced. And that’s not a criticism of you, or anybody else is just like, you know, you’re we’re just trying to, we’re all just trying to make it through our days and like, deal with the stuff as it comes up. And sometimes you find yourself with a habit that is not super beneficial. As soon as you realize that, then you can start to look for maybe some alternatives that you can substitute in and solve that same problem or give you that same reward or benefit, but in a more healthy or a more productive way.

Kara Goldin 23:41
Yeah, I know what you’re saying totally speaks to me. I mean, in the case of Diet Coke, I knew I had been told for years, I should drink more water. So I swapped my diet coke for water. And I very quickly realized as I was trying to make the swap that I was not going to stick with this habit of drinking water, because water was boring. And so I started figuring out how to solve that problem, which was slice up fruit and throw it in the water. And that’s how hint was created. So I think if you recognize when you make the swap, whether or not it really is a true swap for you, or are you just doing it because you think it’s better for you and you don’t love it. And you know, you’re not passionate about that kind of exercise or that kind of switch, then you’re not going to stick with it. Right?

James Clear 24:30
Well, it needs to be rewarding. And this is something that I talked about in atomic habits, I call it the cardinal rule of behavior change, which is behaviors that get rewarded get repeated and behaviors that get punished get avoided. And that’s such a simple idea of rewards and consequences or enjoyment or dislike, but those feelings, those emotions, those are what drive you to either do something again or to avoid it again. And this sounds so obvious, but it just we all all humans kind of are wired this way. I mean Everybody likes to feel good. You know, like, we all want to be praised or rewarded or supported or loved or to enjoy something. We like the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction and enjoyment. And so we want to repeat experiences that are associated with those emotions. And we dislike being criticized and ostracized, and, you know, feeling pain, or grief or sadness, or whatever. And we want to avoid situations that are associated with those emotions. And so as much as possible, when you’re trying to foster a new habit, you need to have some element of it, some aspect of it that is enjoyable and pleasurable to you. Because if you have positive emotions associated with the habit, you’re going to be much more likely to want to repeat it in the future, you need to give your brain some reason to mark that experience, and say, hey, when you did this, that got you something that you liked. And so we should do it again in the future. And similarly, a lot of the Battle of Breaking Bad habits is finding either a different aspect of the experience to focus on that you don’t like, or finding a way to pull the consequence into the present moment. So just one quick example in that I was talking to a personal trainer and a fitness coach the other day, and he was saying how the only thing that clients ever talk about is how food tastes. And one of his like approach is to try to encourage people to focus on a different element of the experience. So rather than talking about how the food tastes, let’s talk about how do you feel an hour after you eat it? Or How hungry are you the rest of the afternoon after you have that. And what a lot of people find is food that they might say tastes good, or they have the story, hey, I really like how this tastes, they actually don’t like how they feel like an hour after they eat it. And so once they start shifting what they’re focusing on and have a different element, the experience that they’re using to measure it, now it becomes a little bit easier to avoid it because they have something negative to think of they have a negative emotion to associate with that experience. And maybe breaking that habit is a little bit easier than it was before. So the punchline of all, this is emotions and feelings, the way that a habit makes you feel is a really big part of whether it sticks or not. And so you want to try to make your good habits as enjoyable as possible. I

Kara Goldin 27:16
couldn’t agree more. So what is the number one thing that people who want to improve something do like an actionable today, people are thinking, you know, I just want to be x? And like, what, what is the number one thing that people need to do? And how do people get started?

James Clear 27:34
Um, yeah, it’s a big question. Obviously, it’s going to depend a lot on what category we’re talking about, or what the specific thing is, or something like that. But I think there probably are some overarching principles that you can apply. So the first thing is, the process of behavior change almost always starts with self awareness is very hard to shape your behavior in a meaningful way to be in control of the process, if you’re not aware of where you currently are. So you kind of need like an honest assessment of where you’re at what your current habits are, what your current advantages or strengths are, and what your current weaknesses are, what do you have available to you that you could utilize? And so I think just becoming aware of that is the first part, there are many different ways to do this, you know, you could just ask yourself some of those questions that I just said, and then you could just journal about them or, you know, type out my response to them for for a couple minutes. And that might take you somewhere. There’s an exercise in atomic habits, I call the habit scorecard, where you just go through your day, and you try to list out every habit that you do throughout the day, you know, I wake up, I turn off my alarm, I take a shower, I step on the scale, I go to the bathroom, I brush my teeth, and you just just kind of like go through your day in granular detail. And the idea of that is not really to judge yourself at all. It’s more like you’re trying to observe yourself from outside and above. And you’re just saying, Oh, how interesting that I would do those things. And you almost just by virtue of noticing them and being aware of them, you often will change your behavior, or at least notice areas that you’d like to change. So I think awareness is the first piece once you’re aware, then there’s probably a series of questions that you can ask yourself to reveal what to do next. Like one question that I really like is what am I optimizing for, you know, sometimes people optimize for making more money, sometimes they optimize for free time or time with family. Sometimes they optimize for freedom and being able to choose whatever they want to do each day. Sometimes they optimize for creativity and like being able to pick the projects that they want to work on or like make something new, it can mean many different things. But you need to be clear about what it is that you’re optimizing for. And then I think the next question you can ask yourself is, can my current habits carry me to my desired future? So whatever it is that I’m trying to optimize for, am I on a trajectory that’s going to take me there and what will my current habits potentially get me there? Because if not, if there’s some gap between what you’re currently doing and where you’d like to end up. Again, this is a little bit about encouraging this level of self awareness. And realizing what you’re actually doing well, then clearly something new needs to get built, something needs to change. I also think that a process of reflection review is important, because these questions that I’m proposing right now, they’re not one time things, you know, they’re not like, Hey, let me just ask myself what I’m optimizing for today. And then I’ll be good for a decade, because what you want in three years or five years, like, it probably will be a little bit different than what you want today. And that’s totally fine. You just need to keep checking in to determine if your current trajectory is pointed in the direction that you want it to be. And so for me, I have like a weekly review that I do every Friday. And that’s, that’s mostly business related, like looking at, you know, revenue, expenses, email subscribers, just kind of like tech checking in on where things are at. But then I also have an annual review. And that’s more like tying my habits or my trajectory to my values. And so you know, it’s how many nights I spent away from home versus how many nights was on the road, is that enough with family or not, you know, how how many articles that I write this year, how many workouts that I do this year, how many new cities that I visit, that kind of thing. And the more than I have those periods of reflection review, the more valuable I find them, because I don’t think most people actively choose to get off track. It’s just that we kind of have this natural drift in life. And we don’t notice when our habits have drifted away from the person we’re trying to be, or the values we say we want to have, or the goals that we say we’re trying to achieve. And so periodic check ins, the process for reflection review, I think that’s something that you probably see a lot of top performers have in some form or fashion, because it’s those periods of reflection, that allow them to get back on track and diagnose what’s not working.

Kara Goldin 31:47
Yeah. And I think what you’re talking about is not only applicable to individuals, but also business and running a company, I definitely know that you have, you know, points in the journey where you know why you did something, but you know, if you start to get so far astray, that you’ve got to be able to take a look back and really see is this really getting us to where we want to go. So that is really, really great confirmation for sure. So Well, thank you so much, James. I really appreciate it. Everybody pick up this book. As I said, James also has an incredible newsletter that he barely touched on just now that I look forward to getting in my inbox. So absolutely sign up for that. Thank you again for coming on, James. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. Please give us a review and feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin and if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my book undaunted, which I share my journey including founding and building hint we are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and good bye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the book.com and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of hint water. Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening