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What will the Budget mean for you?
Claer Barrett and guests discuss how the chancellor's budget will hit your pocket. Is the new income tax change really as good as it sounds? And how will it affect you if you're self employed or a landlord. Finally, we unpick the pension contribution rules and spell out how much you can contribute.
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Aired 3 months ago 31:12
The Wonderful Secret Powers of a Health Savings Account
There's a competent vocabulary that here over and over again, invest in your 401K, invest in your IRA, invest in your Roth for retirement, which of course is a good thing. Nobody can argue that, but we don't talk a lot about a special savings account that can tandem high deductible health insurance plan called a health savings account or HSA and this account it has some super special secret powers that can benefit you now. And in the future I'm Shauna come to gave this millennial money today. We're talking the secret powers of a health savings account. Millennia money, which Shawna Ondon gain. It will expand your brain. You wouldn't own just one pair of shoes or pants. So why would you only own one pair of glasses? I mean, that's crazy lingo. I wear makes it easy and affordable to find quality frames that speak to you and your style. I ordered a new pair and I just love how they came out. They shaped my face. They're super stylish, and I won't with a black pair this time, which is a color. I don't normally pick, but I'm so happy that I did each fashion Ford frame comes with free prescription lenses and free shipping. Yes, free and if you're not sure about a particular pair, you can try to pairs of glasses for up to ten days using links free in-home trial and service or just take advantage of their virtual try on tool. That's what I used. I loved it. You can shop there glasses starting at seventy nine dollars lingo. I wear dot com. Slash my money to get twenty five percents off your first pair. That's lingo with two is see what they did. They're very sneaky l. i. n. g. o. eyewear dot com forward. Slash my money or use the income discount code my money to get twenty five percent off, but hurry this exclusive discount for my podcast listeners ends at the end of November. So it came to my attention after the last podcast episode, somebody reach out to me on Twitter and let me know that I said something offensive about the Middle East on my last podcast episode and I sincerely want to apologize by far immense. No disrespect at all. One of my very best friends is from the Middle East. And if I said something off the cuff, I really apologize. I think in my excitement to talk about an amazing story and an opportunity that I've been interested in for a long time, I really wasn't thinking my words out clearly correctly, whatever the right word is. So I do want apologize if you're listening to that episode in something, maybe hit you a little bit wrong. Hopefully you will continue to tune into the podcast. And I'll try and do a better job of not letting myself get carried away on episodes. I also wanted to let you know in case you haven't signed up. I sent an Email out every single Sunday called this Sunday, seven list. There's a link to sign up in the show notes. And really what I do is I just feature seven things that I am digging from the week recipes, music, cool stories, articles that I read about any maybe new apps that I'm that I'm loving. I just feature all of that in that Email, it's really short to the point lily. Just a list of the seven things that I'm super excited about four that week. So I went absolutely love to have you join me on that Email if you've got something that you think I should check out as well. Hey, send me an Email so I can share it with everybody else because that's what we are just a giant community, and I appreciate you all tuning in listening way more than you could ever know. This has been. By far, I think the best therapy which sounds crazy. How could this speech therapy? Because I'm sitting in a dark room with a lot of foam around me and I'm seemingly talking to myself, but what makes me really happy in relief cited to continue podcasting is that I know you're listening and whatever I'm saying is helping you. The stories are in rich in your lives and you throw out there in your crushing your financial goals here from so many listeners that are paying off debt that are buying houses. They're starting businesses that are having families that are even to shifting your mindset around bunny and thinking about money in a different way. And that makes me really excited that I'm able to bring that information to you and create a platform where you can tune in every Tuesday and Friday and hear me Babylon about money. So again, I just really wanna thank you for for being. Listeners, and I really working on some super exciting stuff for the end of the year into the next year. January is going to be a kick asthma on those cast. We're going to devote the whole entire month to knocking out goals, getting rid of your fears and we're gonna do some really interesting things that we have not done on this podcast yet. So buckle your seatbelts up because the rest of this year into next year is going to be an exciting time for us and really excited to try new things on this podcast and to keep thinking about it different and and to keep bringing you different content and different stories so that we're not just here talking about money every podcast. But today's episode, I really thought, you know, I wanna focus some of the purely on some money, ideas, tips techniques, different things that I think aren't talked about a lot. And certainly the topic of today's podcast episode is. One of those and it actually was spewed on from spewed on. That doesn't sound right inspired by an ask. Shana question from Beverly, who asked me to talk about some things that maybe we don't hear about often maybe some savings accounts or some money ideas that aren't commonly covered in articles. And so I thought, well, you know, this kind of goes along with beverly's question. And my question to you is, did you know that there's a type of savings account that has a triple tax advantage now that might not mean much to you? Intel go a little bit more in depth about that as you know, probably if you've paid any sort of attention to your paycheck that the government got a lot of our money and fully. So they do a lot of stuff for us. Many would argue that maybe they don't do enough for whatever the argument may be, but. We all got a pay taxes one way or another. But of course, we're always trying to find ways to maybe limit that tax dent and how savings account is one of, I think the best types of saving vehicles if it works in your situation to kind of have your cake and eat it too. So the way it works is you have pretax contributions that go into this account interest in earnings, build up tax, free and withdrawals for qualified healthcare expenses are also tax free. So there's a lot of bang for your buck there and. They're a lot of articles or a lot of conversations about health savings plans because I think it's just not as sexy if I'm going to be honest, it is really sexy. I mean, it's, it's, it's a very powerful savings vehicle, but it's not a sexy is talking about budgeting and building your emergency fund and investing. And you know, all of those kind of like more common things that we hear about very often. But most of you probably just went through open enrollment for healthcare or you're going through it now it's coming up in the next few weeks. So you're starting to take a look at your health care plan and there can be a lot of frustration I've seen with so many of my friends on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter, lots of complaints about the cost of healthcare just keeps going up and up and up and up. And particularly if you're self employed. I am. I don't even know how to put words around how expensive the healthcare can be. It's just it just like boggles my mind. I just shake my head every year. Like of course, the premiums going up. Of course, you want more money. Of course. I mean, it makes sense. Why would it ever go down? So I don't even go into it with that expectation, but it's really easy also not to think in in depth about your healthcare, maybe whatever you had last year worked. So I switch and you don't spend too much time thinking about it. And yet if there was something to happen to you health wise, it would really matter what your deductible is would really men or what your out of pocket costs are. I mean those things matter because that could be a lot of money. And I think there's also a trend if you work for a company where you're seeing that they're paying less and less towards health care or. The options that they're offering maybe aren't as attractive as they've been in the past. A lot of companies now have healthcare plans have higher deductibles, and so when you look at it again, it probably doesn't mean anything to you because most the times we're just looking at. We're purely looking at the premium. How much is the premium, but I'm going to caution you to to pause maybe think about it a little bit differently. So this episode, it isn't argue about the state of the healthcare in the US even though I'm sure that would probably be a pretty good episode and you know, you've seen some things change. Maybe some things aren't as good for your wallet as they've been in the last few years, but maybe you're at an amazing company and they're committed to covering your healthcare. And if that's you, you are a lucky, count your lucky stars because there are many of us that would absolutely trade with you. But the trend is particularly, I would say, smaller companies with fewer employees. They're really feeling the pinch of healthcare, and they're trying to figure out how to obviously financially benefit themselves, meaning that they're not covering as much of the cost. But then that's. Leaving you the consumer in a in a tough spot. And you know, God forbid, you would land in a hospital and have to come out of pocket for a few thousand dollars to cover the cost because we go back to this podcast, many times the stat I believe is a twenty seventeen stat, but it shows that fifty seven percent of Americans have left than a thousand dollars saved. So. That's not a judgement where whatever you have saved, wherever you're at is where you're at. All you can do is going forward. Try to make small steps to me better that savings. But the reality of that number is wherever your aunt, let's say your deductible is five thousand dollars will sure if you're gonna go to the urgent care, you're gonna go to your doctor your annual points. He probably not gonna hit that deductible, so you're gonna have to pay a few hundred dollars here and there. No big deal. But if something major happens, you have to go in the hospital or you have to have surgery, you're gonna hit that doctoral like really fast. In fact, we were in the hospital two weeks ago with Jeff who he's doing better now, but he had this freak accident, not even accident. I mean, really, we don't even know what happened where he all of a sudden could not move, and I'm telling you could not move, couldn't move from the chair. To the sofa without excruciating pain, and I didn't know what to do. And so there was like this whole comedy of errors of me trying to move him and obviously he's heavier than I am. And so I finally got him standing up and I literally just propped him against the wall and call the ambulance. Ambulance came out. Unfortunately, they didn't do their sirens, which Jeff is really upset about, but not to joke about about healthcare issues, but they took him off in the ambulance followed behind them, and we spent ten hours in the ER and we don't really know what was wrong with him. There were a couple of things where it's like, well, it could have been. Those could have been that could have been. This is a lot of pain for many hours, but the point on my story is I just looked on our health insurance website at what the actual build cost was. Now, this isn't what we have to pay out, but the build the build b. i. l. l. e.. Cost from the emergency room was like thirty five thousand dollars. That's crazy. It's absolutely crazy. Now, of course, that's not what we're going to have to pay, but I just look at that and it blows my mind. Sure. They gave him a lot of meds and he had some scans and things like that, but you know it, it's just it's expensive. So there's really no way for me to sugar coat that except just. The wariness of if shit happens, stuff happens. It could be very costly. But the cool thing about a high deductible health care plan, which we don't talk about a lot is that it can be paired with this health savings account and they're pretty good combo. They're two different things. So you have your high deductible healthcare plan. Plus you can also create a health savings account. You don't have to, but you can. So before we get all the secrets, let's talk about some of the facts because I wanna make sure that you've totally got this down. Pat budgeting and saving money is already hard enough, but making sure the money's growing over time is so much harder, and let's get real. 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The portfolios comprised of some of the largest and best known dividend paying US companies and historically outperform the market. So you can achieve your goals even faster. You can learn more about emperor and clean your six month free trial by visiting emperor invests dot com slash money. Again, that's emperor invest dot com. Slash my money. So. Like I said, each say sapper tame account that you can open if your health insurance plan is what they've called HSA compliance. What has to say that it is HSA compliance and it needs to have a minimum deductible of thirteen hundred fifty dollars and a maximum out of pocket costs of six thousand six hundred and fifty four individuals. If you're single and a minimum deductible of twenty seven hundred for families with a maximum out of pocket costs of thirteen thousand three hundred. This is in twenty eight teen. Those numbers change pretty much every year, but it's a round about the same. So this doesn't apply to everyone, but I think it's important to know about because healthcare changes so frequently, those good to know about these alternate saving vehicles. And you might be able to sit up an HSA and you don't even know that you can do it or you don't even know what it is. So this is a real guy of information packed episode, but I'm gonna try and break this down. The can really under uncover. Her with the secrets are just like a Roth or an IRA. You can contribute zero bucks to your HSA or up to the max and twenty eighteen which is thirty four fifty for single or sixty nine hundred. If you have a family plan so you could contribute anywhere in the middle of that or absolutely nothing depending on your budget here is where it starts to get fun. You can use those funds to cover your out of pocket healthcare expenses. I'm going to include Lincoln the shuts the fullest, but they're things like co pays prescription meds, contact lenses, contact solution, all sorts of things like that that you just go to the store and you were contacts, basically my whole life. So I'm just used paying for contacts Musa paying for Slough Shen and all the crap that comes along with it. But with an HSA plan, you're able to pay for that through the HSA plan. So this means. That you can use pre tax savings you put in the age of say to help fund the expenses, you have to pay before you hit your deductible. Does that make sense? So let's say I would have to pay. By thousand dollars. That's my deductible. That means I have to come out of pocket for any healthcare expenses to that amount. But if I've got thousand bucks saved at my HSA pre-tax, I can use those funds to pay for any of the expenses that have up till I hit that five thousand dollar Mark or above. It doesn't matter. I'm just I'm using the deductible as an example. You can. You can use your HSA to fund way pass your deductible. So I still have to pay. Yes, one where they're right. I'm either paying with money in my Bank account or I'm paying with money that I have put in my HSA on a pre-tax basis, but the beauty is if I put it in on a pre-tax basis. Right. Do you see I'm getting either a tax deduction or I'm not paying tax on that money. So it's lowering my taxable income, which is great. This is exactly what we want. This is the reason we put money in our for a one k. and r. I raise to do the. The exact same thing to kind of work that magic in our favor, and I am. I am moving money from essentially if you can think about it this way, my right hand pocket to my left hand pocket. So I'm just sort of transferring the money, but I'm getting tax benefit for it. So that's good. We like that. So how can you make this thing? Powerful. How does this thing actually work in your benefit? Well, in a recent study from Hello wallet, and I'm quoting from this study just four percent of HSA holders in the sample group that they sampled for the study actually invested their HSA assets. So you can actually invest the money that you put in your HSA or you can leave it in basically like a cash account. So it's just kind of sitting there really isn't earning interest. But the study found that the majority of HSA holders either saved their assets in the savings account option or just spent the age of say money to cover their healthcare costs. So the majority of people are either just parking lot in the savings account, which basically earns zero interest or they're just putting the money in and then they're using it to pay for the health care expenses. Just five percent of HSA holders in the study contributed the maximum allowable amount to their HSA. That makes sense. If we're having trouble saving more than the thousand dollars, it would make sense that we're also potentially having some issues saving age say, okay, I get it. So the argument that was, can you win big by investing in your HSA but not touching any of the money to retirement? So how then maybe does that compare to investing in your 401K? See so the HSA has a few options. You can put the money in park it in the savings account or invest the money, or you can put the money in and then literally just turn around and use it to pay for all those healthcare expenses. And most HSA plans come with a essentially like a debit card that you use when you go to pay for these certain expenses and not too good thing because they can keep track. Of the receipts, and you can keep track of those expenses. Because if you were ever audited by the IRS you would actually have to prove that you have used your Asia, say funds to fund all your health care expenses. So it's a little bit of a pain in the bite. You gotta make sure that you keep your receipts, but if you're using the HSA debit card, it kind of tracks all of the expenses so you can kind of keep up on that. You don't have to freak out about that too much. But why does this matter while the HSA has that triple benefit that I go back to the pretax contributions, the tax free growth and the tax free withdrawals for your qualified healthcare needs. Fantastic. So interesting though, in an article in morning star from twenty seventeen. Some of these numbers I'm gonna give you the current, so don't fixate the numbers just think about it kind of conceptually, but they give a great example of this. So let's let's just run through this example. I'm going to try and break this down so you can visually understand this even though we're. Just just playing with audio here. So let's say that you are in the twenty five percent tax bracket and you contribute the maximum family contribution tear each assay, which in twenty seventeen with sixty seven fifty and use for thirty years. And let's pretend you earn a four percent annual return fairly low annual return, but still good. You would have three hundred thousand seventy eight dollars five seventy three at the end of that period. So you could use that money to cover your healthcare costs in retirement, and the qualified withdraws will be taxed free. But if you needed the money for anything that was non healthcare related, you would just pay ordinary income tax on the withdrawals. Just like you would from your 401K or your IRA. So you've got some benefits there, but it also said that in contrast, if you use the HSA to fund your out of pocket healthcare costs and you put those dollars and. A taxable account. Instead your taxable assets wouldn't compound at the same rate because the tax breaks aren't as good. Okay. So I you're putting after tax dollars into your tax Bill count. I know this is confusing, but I'll break this down. So your initial investment is smaller. Your Nishel investment would be five thousand sixty three dollars versus the sixty seven fifty four HSA person. But if you buy and hold a security that owns four percent pays no dividends Bob up LA and you're gonna have to pay long term capital gains on it. You would have two hundred sixty one thousand one forty eight. So you'd have more than one hundred thousand dollars less than the HSA investor after thirty years. So just comparing like, look, if you put the same amount of money in your HSA versus an after tax. So the money in your HSA's pretax versus aftertax amount in an other taxable count. How do you end up at the end of the day? What does it look like for you? And according to this example and MorningStar, this person would have on average somewhere around one hundred thousand dollars more in the age of say, that's pretty compelling that's after thirty years. So that person has had this account for a long time. They're consistently putting the maximum amount in, but it makes for an interesting argument, I think at least it gets you thinking about there are alternate ways to build cash for retirement. It doesn't just have to be a 401K or an IRA or Roth. There are lots of different things or you can tan them things. You can have multiple things. There's no rule against multiple things. There is some discussion about tax deductible and different things like that, but we're not gonna get into all that. So if we're talking about the side, we also talk about the downside. What are some of the downsides while HSA's can have fees? And typically those fees you can invest in might have higher expense ratios, which is really just the cow much fun costs that you're investing in versus your 401K IRA. So that's a given and every HSA is going to be a little bit different. So you're gonna need to check out what your different investment options are. You also have to pay taxes in penalty to withdraw money for non healthcare related expenses. Prior sixty five versus fifty nine and a half for IRA withdrawals. Plus the penalty is higher for non healthcare drls prior sixty five, it's twenty percent versus ten percent for your IRA withdrawals prior to retirement. So there are a few negatives to think about, but the article also notes that it's it's not a disaster to over invest in HSA because you're in retirement withdrawals for non healthcare expenses are treated just like a 401K. So after sixty five, anything that you would draw from the HSA is just the same way as your 401K you're just gonna pay current tax rate on those monies. Okay. Not a big deal. So I think here three interesting things that maybe you don't hear about the age, say very often one you can use your HSA to cover long-term care costs. Does not matter to you. Now you're not even thinking retirement to you is probably like Shawna that is so far. Off. I'm not even thinking about it. I get it. I get it. I get it, but I also want you to have in the back of your mind, like a framework for how you move through life and how things can get more expensive and maybe where some of the big money pits are as you move through life. And one of them certainly is long-term care costs. The older you get the more it will cost and healthcare is going up. It's going to be super expensive. We're all living longer. In fact, most of us probably going to live into our hundreds queue. I do not. I cannot imagine like one hundred five version of myself. That's that's not a pretty picture, but that might be the reality for most of us because technology and medicine is advancing. And so it's quite possible we could live along time and if we have healthcare needs that aren't covered by our health care plan, we gotta pay for one way or another. So you can use your HSA to pay for those long term care costs, which is good thing. You can use the HSA to pay for expenses after sixty five again sandwich rawal rules from your 401K your IRA. So it could work in tandem as your 401K or IRA if you needed more cash. But the fun one really is going back to, let's say you contribute every year to HSA, but you don't touch the money. You use other money that you've got your Bank account to pay for your healthcare, but let's just say you need a new roof on your house somewhere down the line. It's expensive. As long as you saved your healthcare receipts for those years that you were essentially paying out of your Bank account out of your pocket. You could actually take out the exact same amount from your HSA and use those funds to pay for the new roof. Get it. So the moral, the story, I think is the superpowers behind the agents as you've got a lot of options. It's not gonna your primary savings account. Certainly your primary retirement account, but I. Argue, the quote is primary anymore. There isn't. I think I think we have to think about it like all these different buckets. We've got different buckets of money working for us and collectively those buckets together are what going to help us fund all of our different money goals. So I wanted to think about that because that's really what I've seen work for people that's was been most powerful for me. It's what I've seen be most powerful for. Majority of people that I've ever worked with where we're looking at their finances like, okay, what are all these different buckets that we can get we can get working for you? So I think it can't be overlooked growing. Your wealth means really having your ears to the ground, always learning about new saving vehicles, new opportunities. It doesn't mean they're perfect for you and your goals, but they might be and if not, now maybe in a couple of years, so you never know you never know. And now you know enough about health savings account dangerous at a cocktail party, which is what I like to army with enough information to be really lethal at like a cocktail party or trivial pursuit, but hopefully enough that if you have access to an HSA, you can figure out how to maximize an and you can figure out now, is this something that will work for me or not? Because like I said, many of you might have health care plans that are HSA compliant and you just don't even know about it. So. So that's something where you're gonna wanna look at your health care plan. Maybe talk to your HR if you have an HR department and find out is my plan HSA compliant. And then look at it and say, doesn't make sense for me does not make sense for me. Hey, thanks so much for joining us on this episode of millennial money. I'll be back on Friday with fresh episode for you check out. But in the meantime, if you love this episode and you found value in the content we share with you, I totally predate it. If you do me a favor head on over to itunes rate and review the podcast, I promise to be your BFF for life.
Aired 3 months ago 143:36
James Clear On Why Habits Are The Compound Interest of Self-Improvement
Your habits are the way that you embody of particular identity. So every morning that you make your bed the body, the identity of an organized person someone who's clean every time. You go to the gym you embody, the identity of someone who's fit every time. You sit down to write you and body the identity of someone who's a writer, and so in that sense every action you take a vote for the type of person that you believe that you are. And as you take these actions, you build up evidence of a particular identity and pretty soon, your beliefs have something to like root themselves, and that I think is the true reason why habits are so important. That's James clear this week on the retro podcast. Roll hot cast. I think it's fair to say that we all want to live better. This is something. Everybody aspires to do. So how do we do that? Well, doing so requires overcoming bad habits. But here's the thing. The kicker most of us struggle mightily with replacing those bad habits with good habits. And I think a lot of people despite the very best intentions and upsetting the wrong goals for themselves. And we then go about employing the wrong strategies to achieve those goals. And it becomes this rinse and repeat process that typically leads to failure at least long-term, and ultimately leads us mystified and very much discouraged. But this week's guest would say the problem, isn't you? The problem is your system. This process that we undertake a moving from where you are stock on satisfied, whatever to where you aspire to be that person, you wish to be no, you can be it is in my mind, both very much an art and science science helps explain the root causes of our behaviors and how to modify them but applying these principles and putting them into practice. Well, that is very much arts. My name is rich role. Yes. That's my God. Given name people always seem to find that curious for some reason. Anyway, I'm your host. And today, we explore the tricky fraught terrain of behavior change, and we're going to do that with James clear James as an author speaker and an expert on habits decision making and continuous improvement. James his work is used by teams in the NFL, the NBA and major league baseball. He has been featured in the New York Times entrepeneurship time and on CBS this morning. His website. Jay. Glare dot com receives millions of visitors every month. And from what I understand hundreds of thousands of scribe to his popular Email newsletter, which you can also find change Claire dot com. In addition. He is the author of a great new book, it's called atomic habits. It's a New York Times bestseller, and it's essentially this extensive deep dive into evidence based self improvement strategies that focus on the transformative power of making small changes small changes and how to make them which is something I can say from a lot of experience is a super legit. His book is killing it right now. I think it was something like number thirteen on Amazon the other day, and it's well deserved. Because basically when it comes to habit formation. This guy is the dude got a bunch more to say about our conversation particulars before we excavate this fascinating and important to rain. But I are you self employed. Do you have a job that fails to provide health insurance? Well, if this is your scenario, I can tell you that I feel for you. Because when I left law firm life, I and my family, well, we went without health insurance for much longer than I care to admit or remember, and that is something that's super embarrassing to to talk about it's kind of a masculine. But here's the thing. I wasn't alone. And if you happen to find yourself in this very same precarious position. Neither argue even if you're committed to figuring it out navigating our Byzantine healthcare system, it's very difficult, and it's a big, and quite unfortunate reason, why self employed people are three times more likely to go on insured, which is terrible. In my case. I got super lucky there was this guy. He's called no Alang. He's a fellow Stanford grad triathlete, and he was a fan of the podcast way. Back in the early days. I know reshuffle to me he had recently quit his job using the process of founding startup, and for whatever reason he was very intent on getting together. So I met up with him when I was in San Francisco one day, and as we were kind of getting to know each other a little bit. He asked me what I was doing about my health insurance, and to my best ability to recall, I think my reply was fairly. Early sheepish and squeamish, and then he proceeded to tell me all about his new company, which was essentially created to solve this very dilemma, it's called stride health. And what they do is. They basically hold your hand, they guide you through the morass of healthcare. They help you find the very best plan to meet your needs and your budget. They handle the entire and rolm process for you. And they take care of you all year long. And here's the crazy kicker. They do all of this for free. I was immediately sold on this idea and Noah and his team have been taking great care of me and my family ever since that meeting we live in an increasingly freelance based economy, which shoop or cool to see especially so many young people working project to project, and among the many things that I love about stride health is that they support people who work independently which is really cool. Yes, they deliver a lightning-fast intelligent experience for finding the best health plan. If you don't get coverage from a traditional employer, you get a personalized healthcare forecast. They help you keep your doctors and stride handles all the hard stuff like getting you the best tax credit from healthcare dot gov. But the thing that really sets dried apart is how they support all of you all year round when you actually need to use your coverage, and that's a big deal and beneath all of this is this amazing intention that stride has to make it easier and more possible to strike out on your own and to pursue your work life balance, which is amazing. Get coverage before the deadline, which is earlier this year, December fifteenth they have more plans now the same prices as the government websites and personalized guidance and support every day of the year this year, they've added exclusive dental plan and vision plan that will save you forty five percent and stride, his active nationwide. That means you can buy or switch your health insurance through stride. No matter where you are in the country. So to check it out, go to stride, health dot com, Ford slash rich. Roll today to save hundreds of dollars a month. It's easy coverage in ten minutes or less built just for people like us stride, health dot com, Ford slash rich role. So stride should alleviate any stress anxiety. You may be feeling around the whole healthcare thing. But that aside way too many of us now more than ever live in a perpetual state of anxiety in our personal and professional lies a big part of this podcast. My mission is helping people wake up. To the idea of taking care of our minds, and I like to share tools to alleviate the stress and restlessness that if left unchecked can really be debilitating, and I know all too, well, how hard can be to just get started. Which is why I'm excited about this episode, which is all about healthy habit formation and why I'm so excited to partner with com- a number one app for sleep meditation and relaxation, it was even named Apple's two thousand seventeen after the year. Com. Gives you the tools you need to live a, happier, healthier and more mindful life, just five minutes com can change your whole day if you had to calm dot com for slash ritual. You'll get twenty five percent off Akam premium subscription, which includes hundreds of hours of premium programs, including tons of guided meditations on issues, like anxiety stress focus and relationships, including a brand new meditation each day called the daily com for those of us that struggle with restlessness. They have a slow. Leap stories function, which these are basically like bedtime stories for grownups, the really cool and so much more. For a limited time ritual. Listeners can get twenty five percent off calm premium subscription at com dot com forward slash ritual includes unlimited access to all of coms amazing content. So get started today at comb dot com forward slash ritual. Okay. James clear. This is a great one. This conversation explores a tremendous amount of terrain. We talk about the psychology and neuroscience behind behavior change, it's about why most people optimized for the finish line when they should be focused on getting to the starting line, which is a really cool discussion. We talk about the problem with goals. Why most people set themselves up for failure by creating overly ambitious goals, why establishing systems or critical and the need to focus on practice over. Performance. It's about moving beyond motivation because you're far more likely to act yourself into feeling than to feel yourself into action. Or as I always say mood follows action. But I think the real Jim here is James's dissertation on why we should zero in on identity over everything rather than goals because it's a much better long-term practice to inhabit the practices and characteristics of the person, we aspire to be this one is powerful. It's also super practical. And I think it's going to really help you re frame how you think about and act upon your ambitions to become the person you want to be so break out the pen and paper, and please joy my conversation. James clear. UPS guy literally just showed up like ten minutes ago. He's putting the dog and he delivered another copy. So he sent me to interesting had you on the list and Casey may be sent you a backup. She knew that. This was all now, you can you can donate one 'grats on the book. Yeah. Thanks sixty. But yeah, it was I mean, it's three years from start to finish than it. Also, just for your first one there so much learning the goes into pretty much every part of the process, I'm flying blood and just learning as I go. So there's that was called Hosters law where it's like everything takes twice as long as you expect even if you take this into account. Publishing all my God. The timelines on this thing and saying, you know, so it's quite it's quite something. It's huge accomplishment. The book is great and excited to break it down with you go. Thanks for coming out here today. I think the best way to launch into it is to define our terms. I mean, let's talk about before we even get into the nuances of all of this. Like, let's define what a habit is. Sure. So there a couple is the think about it. But I would say just quick definition a habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to be performed more or less automatically. So you can do pretty much on auto pilot. But another way to think about it. I think this is the useful way to define a habit is that as you go through life, you've face different problems than some of those problems are big and some of them are small like he needed tire shoes. And whenever you face a problem. Your brain starts looking for solutions to that. And as. You come across solutions to the recurring problems in life. You start to automate those. And so every morning you wake up and you put your shoes on and you got this little problem. The is of and pretty soon after tire shoes one hundred times or five hundred times thousand times you can do it pretty much without thinking. And so that's another way of thinking about habits is that they're kind of these like automatic solutions. We fall into for whatever the recurring problems we face right behavior that becomes habituated. Yeah. And you know, like, they're the interesting thing about this is you don't necessarily have to have the same habit. Solve a recurring problem. Like if you come home from work each day, and you feel stress exhausted one person might s- play video games for an hour. And that's a way to resolve that problems. They get in the habit of doing it. And they just walk over the controller that I'm think about another person might go for run for twenty minutes or meditate for ten minutes. Third person might smoke a cigarette and all of those are just solutions to that problem that you're facing and. That I think is another powerful lesson is that your original habit is not necessarily the optimal one. And once you realize that then it kind of becomes your responsibility to become a little more wear what those habits are and think about can you shape them or design them, right? And so have it is the physical manifestation. It's a behavior physical manifestation of. Your psychological makeup, your your emotional body and your conscious or unconscious mind Ryan like habits flow from what is already built inside of us on some level. Right. So to kind of deconstruct what have it is how to change it what good habit with a bad habit. How to flow from good from bad to good? It it demands. I would imagine. You're the expert here, you know, a real analysis of life how our brains function to look at psychology. You have to look at neurology. You have to look at the science and understand the human mechanism in its holistic form. I think that's true. And you bring up a really interesting point and one that I wanted to answer think about in the book because the so in the book layout this four stage model for how it's work. And the reason the second is there it's all about craving and prediction in other words, like you come across a cue or some kind of context and the new interpret in a. Way. And that's where we're getting to this point that you're just making which is that the had only comes after the habit is the behavior that follows your prediction or your interpretation of how you should act in a given context. And for one person they might see their couch as the place where they read for an hour each night. And so their interpretation of that context is should open a book for another person. They might see the couches the place where they turn on Netflix for an hour and eatable vice cream, and so that's a different interpretation of the same physical Q. And so in that way habits kind of follow this lagging measure of how you predict you should respond to the different context. Yeah. And I like how you couch it in the context of of of habits being a solution to a problem. They're not the problem themselves necessarily their reflection of what's going on inside of us. Their solution to whatever emotional state. It is. I mean, a habit is a way of of. Adapting to an environment or solving a problem. Yes. That's right. Yeah. It's a way of solving a recurring problem on you come over it again. And again, then pretty soon you're falling into that that pattern right? So a lot has been written about habit change. You know, you go to any books to her certainly in the airports. There's no shortage of of self-help primers on how to change our behaviors how to develop healthy effective habits. And now you're coming into this sphere with a little bit of a different perspective. So maybe it would make sense to kind of canvas conventional wisdom on on habit change, and and perhaps your like different take on how we approach this church. So I mean, I think there are variety of little insights in the book that are maybe different or just a slightly slightly different angle on a common takes. But I'll just go over some of the big ones row quick. So. There are many different fields I draw on for the book. And I think that I like to call myself idea agnostic, and what I mean is I don't really care where a good idea comes from as long as it's a good idea, practical or useful so nerve science Balaji psychology, and so on, but the most common area that people talk about habits in his psychology. And they're kind of two big movements or bodies of research that happened over the last hundred years the first was behavioral psychology. And so the started with classical conditioning Pavlov's dogs and things like that. And then be of Skinner's work with a kind of the Q like the light would go on inside the little skip. Right. And then the rat would press a lever. And then they get a pellet. And so this kind of linking the pellet to the light. And so you have a Q a response, then a reward and Skinner defined this as stimulus response reward. So once you start to link the cute of the reward, they realized that they could shape pretty much any kind of action. And do Higgs book power have it kind of popularized. This brought it back into the modern spotlight this idea of q routine in a reward. So that's the first kind of major area the second is cognitive psychology. And this kind of took off in like the fifties and sixties and his continued into the modern day. But Sakala just started playing with what Skinner put together and realize that will it wasn't just the queue in the reward that shape people's behaviour. Also, our thoughts, and moods and emotions are beliefs kind of our internal states shape behavior to and this was a question that I kind of had rolling around in my mind are working on Tomek habits was will how come the same person will respond to the same q in a different way at different times. You know, like if I walk into the kitchen, I see a play cookies, that's like visual cue. And in one case might be like, oh, this is a good. I should go eat them. But you can just as easily magic situation where I just finished eating dinner in the other room. And I walk in see a plate of cookies, and I'm like, oh, stuffed. I don't wanna eat anything. So what's going on there? The Q is the same. The reward is the same. Why aren't you taking the same action? And I think it's because of that internal process you're interpreting the cue differently based on your current state. And so the model that I lay out in the book of the four different stages that have goes through it tries to combine these two major fields. It includes the Q and the reward because those are important for shaping our behavior. But it also includes an additional stage era about our interpretation of the reward because your internal moods and states and feelings can change and as they do your behavior does as well. And so I kinda wanted to model that I felt like encapsulated all of that. And that's one of the major different right? So you added two steps to this. Now, it's q- creating response for award. Right. Right. And so that allows you to kind of more deeply probe into that that aspect. Of contextualising, these cues it actually brings up to I think important things. So the first is the contextualising the Q what you just mentioned it allows us to understand. Why do you why accuse get you to do anything? It's because of how you interpret them. If you believe the Q is attractive than you, take an action. The second thing that does is. It helps clarify what the reward is. Like, why is something rewarding? Why do you find it rewarding? And one of the reasons is because it satisfies the craving that preceded the action. So. One way to put this that perceived value motivates you to act actual value, motivates you to repeat so it when you buy something on Amazon, you don't actually buy the product like you, don't you don't buy the book because you don't actually have it yet. What you buy is the image. The product creates in your mind, and you buy your expectation or the perceived value of the sales page. It's only after you get the book, and you read it, and you're like, oh, this is really good. That's when the actual value it satisfies that craving before and it reinforces O'Hare this was enjoyable. I should do it again next time. So you kind of have both of those on on each side of the the behavior. Cravings generally derived from very primal instinctual reptilian brain instincts that we have typically and these function on an unconscious level in in almost everybody. I mean, when you're when you're surfing, Amazon, and you hit by on something like you said, it's not it's not necessarily driven by this interest in this product, advancing you along your trajectory. It's probably more likely because you feel uncomfortable in that moment, and the dopamine rush of buying that thing will make you feel you know, we'll we'll change your emotional state and give you some sense of of comfort driven by your hormonal state. Right. And this goes back. You know, you talk about this in the book book and in the writing that you do. We want people to love us. We wanna be perceived well by others, or we think these material things are going to you know, fulfil that that spiritual hole that we have emotional need and all these drivers function on a level where we're not really aware of how they're impacting our behaviors and habits throughout the day. So how do you kind of think about those things? Well, in a sense, you could say that every behavior is driven by the desire for a change in state. And so when you smoke a cigarette or eat, a bag of Doritos or pick up your phone what you really want is not the nicotine or the calories from the Doritos or the the likes on social media. What you want is to feel less anxious or to feel approved or to not be bored anymore. So it's really the desire to change that state that you're in that mode. To act and the behavior, and in many cases, a lot of our modern technologies example, this you didn't we didn't evolve. You didn't come out of the womb with like a desire to check Instagram. Right. Like there's nothing ever lose nearly wired. There is just a modern manifestation of an ancient desire to gain respect and approval or to not be abandoned by the tribe, or to feel approved in you know, in some capacity, and so we kinda have those like deeper, primal drives. And then the secondary layer on top of it is just the modern manifestation that behavior and how we're resolving the moment. Yeah. I mean, it's really it's interesting that the more this is like a subject matter. That's so important because the habits that comprise how we be h-have and navigate our day are determinative of our entire experience as a human being not only do they determine whether we're going to be you know, quote, unquote, successful or fail. Players. They literally dictate every aspect of our of our experiences humans so on some level. Like there is no subject more important than really understanding how behaviors work. So I applaud you for taking on such a monumental. This is not easy to understand. And I think also it's it's it's something that we can easily kind of fall prey to to intellectual is doing and feeling like, okay, I understand this. But yet still find ourselves incapable of actually implementing the knowledge into the behavior change that you're trying to you know, sort of speak about and and instigating people. Yeah. Well, so first of all, I totally agree. It was incredibly difficult topic to choose especially for my first book, I ended up. My solution was just trying to like work harder at it. There's a there's a quote from Elaine day baton that kind of became my my mantras I worked through where he says of many books reader thinks this could have been truly great. If only the author was willing to suffer a little more life mantra need to suffer a little more. Yeah. But, but yeah, I ended up writing I think like seven hundred twenty seven hundred fifty pages, and then cut it down to the final two fifty because it just it ended up the scope of the behavior change and human behaviors just so wide that you know, anyway, I ne- I felt like I needed to cover all the bases. And then figure out what are the actionable steps and your point that it's easy to just theorize or get kind of like caught up in your head about this rather than translating it in something actionable. I think that's a crucial thing. And it's one thing that I pride myself on my writing is that I'd try to be scientifically based, but also highly actionable, and that was the idea behind the four laws of behavior change that are in the book because I wanted to kind of get people like a set of levers or toolbox that okay here like the four lovers you can pull to try to make have it's easier or to to make bad habits harder. Yeah. And I wanna get into those those for those four laws, but before we do that. Why don't we? I want I'm interested in what got you interested in this subject matter begin with I find that most people who walk that path of becoming obsessed with a certain subject matter idea tend to be people who are trying to solve that equation for themselves. So that part of the influence in a sense every article written and this book is just a reminder to myself. My publisher told me there's something to the effect of like we write the books we need ourselves. And that's it's funny because you know, when I write about habits, a lot of people assume I have my habits of dial in because I'm the guy riding, right? But I'm writing about it to learn about it. I'm writing about it to try to improve I consider my readers and myself to be Pierce. Right. We're all just kind of experimenting and operating and working on stuff. And the only difference is I just share the lessons when I learn them. So. Yeah. I I definitely had an internal desire for that. And then there have been a variety of areas in my life where I've had implement that athletics photography writing and building business, of course. And all of those have been kind of like test labs for me to put the ideas into prototype. So why zero in on this on habits? Yeah. Well, I think that a little bit of it comes back to what you just mentioned a few minutes ago about how important habits are I didn't know this at first. So I was a baseball player for many years, and as any athlete can tell you. They're all kinds of habits that you have a practice rituals things like that. And I was benefiting from that, you know, my strength coach told me to do something or my coaches would hold me accountable to certain habits in that would help pull the rest of my life in line. You know, I always do better in school when I had sports as well. It would like give me something to anchor my day around. And so I knew that it was working, but I didn't have a language for it. And so it was only until maybe five years after my career ended finished graduate school. And I started like looking into this stuff a little bit more that I started to come across the science of habit, formation and behavior change and developed a language for it. Then started right about it. So I kind of implicitly knows important but didn't discover that the actual way to write about until later. Now the second. Thing here, though, is that I as I dug into the topic more. I started like unearth these layers and realize, wow, this is actually even more important than I thought and this comes back to the point he made a few minutes ago, which is that habits are one of the phrases of like to use that pretty much any of the results in your life are lagging measure of your habits. Right. So your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits your Bank account, the lagging measure of your financial habits, your clutter is a leading measure of your cleaning habits like the outcomes are just the the manifestation of the behaviors that preceded them. Right. So you kind of get what you repeat in that way. Well, that makes sense people understand that that's important. So that's one reason why it's are crucial. But there's another thing that to do that is even more central even more important. And that is that your habits are the way that you embody a particular identity. So every morning that you make your bed you embody the habits of. Hume body, the identity of an organized person someone who's clean every time. You go to the gym you embody, the identity of someone who's fit every time. You sit down to write a sentence or page, you body, the identity of someone who's a writer, and so in that sense habits are like every action. You take is going to vote for the type of person that you believe that you are. And as you take these actions, you build up evidence of a particular identity and pretty soon, your beliefs have something to like root themselves in it's like man, you know, showed up at the gym for four days a week for the last three months, I guess like on the type of person who doesn't miss workouts. And that I think is the true reason why habits are so important once I realized how beliefs and behaviors are connected that this like this two way street, then I've started to think all right. Maybe this is really something not only does it deliver those extra. No results the clean room, the, you know, bigger Bank account, but also the internal results of shaping your sense of self image. And what you believe right? So. So let's drill into these four laws. You've got. Just break them down. Okay. So I've hinted at this process so far, but the four stages that any habit goes through Q craving response reward. So there's some type of q a raw data. They get your attention than you predict or interpret that data in some way, which motivates you to act take response, and then somehow that behavior either benefits you or does not benefit you. And that's what gets you to close the feedback loop. And update your prediction for the next time decide if you want to continue that although a caveat to that I would imagine is that there is a you're saying either benefits your at doesn't. But isn't there an argument that it's it's benefiting you somehow maybe not in a good way? But you're getting something out of that. Like if you have a habit that's unhealthy some bad behavior. And everybody tells you you got to stop doing that. You're you're getting some positive result from that. Even if. It's twisted, you know, or unhealthy. There's something inside of you that compels you to act that way because because you're getting something out of it. The actual point. Yeah. Like, whether it's masking some pain, or whatever it is there. There's a reason behind that all behaviors those that are repeated service in some way, I guess we'd say I'll have it serve you in some way and one way to think about this is that every behavior produces multiple outcomes across time. So if you take a bad habit or an unhealthy habit like eating doughnut or something the immediate outcome is favorable at sugary. It's tasty. It's enjoyable in the moment, that's how it serves you. That's the reason why you repeated the ultimate outcome. If you repeat that every day for the next three months or year. Whatever is you end up gaining weight or your healthy. Or so on for good habits. It's often the reverse, right? Like, sometimes, you know, the benefit of going to the gym in many people's eyes the immediate outcomes. Unfavorable sweat. I have to work. It's effort full. It's hard in sacrifice. I don't get to watch TV. I gotta go there. Instead the so the media comes unfavorable the ultimate outcome. If you repeat that habit for two. Months or year? Whatever is your fit and healthy. And this is one of the key challenges of building. Good habits and breaking bad ones is figuring out ways to take the long term consequences of your good habits or of your bad habits and pull them into the present moment who feel a little bit of pain right now. So it serves you less and to take the long term rewards of your good habits and pull those into the present moment. So it feels good. This is one reason why you know, it's great to choose. What's the best form of exercise? Well, maybe it's about the one that you enjoy because of it feels good in the moment. Now it serves you have a recent a repeat it. Yeah. Humans are not wired to prioritize long-term rewards over immediate gratification. That's why you know, have it change in the interest of setting you on a long-term positive trajectory is much more difficult than defaulting to the immediate gratification. That's leading you astray and intellectual as Asian of. It doesn't really help. It's not like everybody you smoke. Looking knows it's bad for them. But they can't they can't stop even though the long term benefits of stopping our evidence. And indisputable for some reason, we lack the ability to harness that motivation to implement that behavior change. I so I think that's a good way to define what a good habit is. And what about it is is that bad habits think about it in the long term? Good habits serve you in the long run bad habits. Do not even if they serve you in the moment. And so. There. Sorry to interrupt new. Is there is there an argument to be had that that? We would be benefited from removing judgments on habits altogether. And and and kind of avoid classifying them as good or bad into setting. These behaviors serving you in a certain way, like let's take all the passion and emotion out of this altogether. And look at it from just a forensic point of view would that be good way of of helping people. I don't know make the make the transition from one to the other of looked at that. I think so and part of the reason is that in order to change behavior design it in any meaningful way, you need to be aware of it first. But usually when people become aware of their habits or think about them, you know, like, you might smoke or bite your nails or something on autopilot. But then if you start to think about it what you feel guilty about it. You know, start to judge yourself as soon as you start to judge yourself. Then you're not in a great position to change because you would ends up happening. Lot of the time. This happened actually with a couple of campaigns. That have tried to scare smokers into not smoking by showing them pictures of black and lungs or scare obese people into not eating as much by talking about the the detriments of being overweight. What happens is people get really anxious stress feel guilty and worried and then they resort by resorts. Their preferred habit for dealing with that, which means they end up smoking more eating, more, whatever. So yes, I think there is a benefit to looking at it in an unemotional forensic way. And one way to do that is to say there are no good or bad habits. They're just behaviors that serve you in a particular way. And the goal is to try to find a behavior that serves you in a better, way and. I still use the term good and bad because I think implicitly most people know what we're talking about when we say that like in we use it never day conversation. But from a practical standpoint is just in the the effort and energy used judging yourself in feeling guilty about things is not well-spent productive. And so if that is a way that helps people get over that that I think that's useful. Yeah. There's also certainly a hierarchy of habits to what I see a lot of. And I'm interested in in your experience working with so many people on those is people honing in zeroing in on a behavior a habit that they wanna change, but they're kind of identifying the wrong one like if your goals to lose ten pounds or the behavior. The you want to change the habit that you want to change is going from sedentary to being a runner. For example. You're going to run your first five case at this goal. But you have a victim mentality. And you think the world is against you and everything bad in your life is somebody else's fault. And you're not addressing and redressing. The habits that are fueling that identity. You can run as many five ks marathons as you want. But ultimately, you're channeling your energy in the wrong direction. Right. Yeah. The. The energy is focused on like this the thing that makes the last like two percent difference. Another thing that makes ninety five percent difference. Right. You see this and all kinds of places. I mean, the example you gave good, but just take someone who's trying to get in shape. I mean people will what ton of protein powder. Should I get would need leaves? Do I need. What what are the best weightlifting shoes? And all that stuff is like the last two percent difference that it's mostly like, don't miss workouts and get your Repson. Yeah. But ultimately, I think that those people aren't even really interested in the answer. They're just stuck in analysis paralysis like they want to change their behavior. But they wanna have all these questions answered. And they want to know exactly what they're doing before. They'll even go take a walk. Right. So how much do they really want to change that behavior? They're flirting with the idea of behavior change, but they're all too mentally not at the place where the ready to commit to anything. And so that makes them feel like they're doing something when they're actually just reinforcing that paralysis this is what in the book. Call the difference between motion and action action can actually deliver a result but motion is related to that. But never will you know, like going to the gym and talking to a personal trainer about signing up. That's fine. That's related to getting in shape. But it doesn't matter. How many times you talked to a personal trainer? You're never gonna get in shape. Whereas like doing ten squats that actually can do something. It's like talking to the trainers motion doing squats as action. And yeah, I think a lot of times people get trapped in motion they get trapped in analysis paralysis because it's is a way to feel like you're making progress without running the risk of failure. Right. And it's it's more complicated in nuance than that. Because going and talking to the trainer is an important step. If you've never done anything like that before. Yeah. That's it's not like you shouldn't do it. Yes. Just that. It's not the only thing right? If that if that's the thing if that doesn't create the momentum to take the additional step. And and and set in motion a consistent flow of repeatable actions over time, then this is why think identity is such a crucial issue with habits is that true behavior. Change is really identity change. Because you're you're not really looking to go from the type of person who doesn't run to the type of person who can run a five K. That's fine. That's good the outcome. But the goal is not to run a marathon. The goal is to become a runner. The goal is not to write a book goes to become a writer, and once you identify as that type of person in a sense, you're not even really pursuing behavior change anymore. You're just acting in alignment with the type of person that you already believe that you are right. Oh, it's like one thing to say. I want this. It's something different to say. I am this. Yeah. You're right. A lot about this. And and we can drill down on goals and the importance or lack thereof of goal setting. But ultimately what really moves the needle is. Making a decision about the person that you want to be an starting to construct your life in a way that reinforces that identity that you ideally is in yourself. So it's less about a finish line. And it becomes all about process and the journey. That's right. You know, like, your what I said earlier about how habits are method to embody a particular identity. That's really what we're looking to do. Here's how do I become the type of person that embodies this each day? How do I become the type of person who doesn't miss workouts? And that's another reason I like small habits because if you have a really busy day and things are crazy, and all you can do is five push-ups if you're oriented around the result around the outcome is easy to dismiss that. So why would I even bother doing five push ups not gonna get me in shape, but some days it's not about the result of the training. Somedays? It's about reinforcing being that type of person. Like, yes. Life was crazy and things are really busy today and the best like. Adou was getting five push ups in, but I'm still the type of person who doesn't miss workouts, even when it's not ideal. Right. And in the long run that can come for a lot which is the kind of twisted thing about small habits, which is that even though they're small they can still be meaningful. And if they're meaningful they actually are big. Yeah. And that really gets at the foundation of of this whole thing, which is that every great achievement is about small habits alternately, and you know, as are in this culture in which we live. It's all about you know, shoot for the moon and like set these huge goals be out day shis and find the shortcut and all of that. But every successful person will tell you. It's about the tiny little imperceptible non sexy things that they do every single day and have been doing for the last ten or twenty years that got them from wherever they came from to the place that everyone is fires to be the crazy thing is habits are have. It's the foundation. In for mastery in in any area. And it's often the people who are at the peak of particular area that have the best habits that have the most things automated dialed in. You know, imagine I was thinking the story of Josh wait skin who wrote the art of learning and his he gave an example of he's doing Tai push hands. Martial art. And I when I think about doing something like that. I'm like, all right. I'm going to be grappling with this person. Like, you know, I'm fully engaged on the the wrestling component. But he had practised it so many times new all the moves. So well that he was able to more or less put that part of it on autopilot. And he would just focus on his opponents is and when they were getting ready to blink. Then he would make us throw. And that was like how he found his advantage that someone like me who hasn't done that. That sounds insane that you could even like get to that level. But the point is in order to master area. He is already habitually everything else. He knows how to do the throws on autopilot Hino's, whereas featured b- on autopilot news, whereas weight should be shifted. And because all of that is. Obituary, he actually has the mental capacity available to focus on the thing that makes the last tiniest bit of difference at the highest level. Yeah. I think that's true for anybody. No. I mean think about everything LeBron can do on autopilot. I mean, he doesn't have to think about shooting dribbling where he's out on the court like all of that is just internalized at this point. And he can think about the offense of set or the thing that happened three possessions ago that he did to set them up for what he's gonna do now. But most basketball players aren't even at that level because they haven't habitually I have you seen the documentary free solo yet you saw hike it. So for people that are listening haven't seen it. You should go out and see immediately, Alex, it's Alex Hanell free soloing L cap. And even if you think, you know, the story assure you that this movie will leave you with sweaty palms in your mind blown those rock climbing. Documentaries crazy, but this one is next level. And it speaks the reason I bring it. Is it speaks directly to what you're talking about? Which is a level of process at mastery. That is is rare even at the highest levels, and you think of Alex master. But when you really get to understand the level of focus and attention -ality and the amount of years that went into that accomplishment. You understand it on a whole different level? And you talk about mission on me, you see when he's climbing wall. He knows every every hold every every maneuver every footstep, and there's actually only maybe three or four problem areas. The whole wall that he really had to double down on to make it work and all the rest of it was so wrote for him. And if you were to ask him, he's he doesn't have to he's not he's not intellectualize ING this. You know, it's it's so built into is that that the execution of climbing. That wall is just a reflection of. A lifetime of preparation and focus. That's followed in the wake of that. Success with him going back to his van and doing polo because he is somebody. That's who he is. It's identified it wasn't about. Yes. That goal and the goal is audacious and he was successful in that goal. But he was he was successful in that pursuit. Because this is who he is fundamentally at his core. I remember hearing story about Brett farve lateness career. And there was a particular crossing pattern skies running across the field and the linebackers interviewed after the game was defending against the pass. And he was like nine hundred ninety nine times out of a thousand every time this play run based on my positioning the pass is going to be going in front of the linebacker. And so he saw the play and read it and jumped up to intercept the pass and farve somehow implicitly noticed all of this and threw behind him and hit the receiver in stride in the end up giving the first down this big play right happening. Microseconds? Yes. All of this is for the average person you'd stand out there in the middle of the play and just would look chaos arose moon around so fast and stories like that. And like, Alex, and these other ones telling the only way you can get to that level of the only way he could even notice that is because every other thing about that play was already on autopilot he'd run it. So many times that he could see the one thing that was different and make the adjustment on the fly and those stories, of course, are incredible and inspiring. But they also make me realize that I don't know many people fully understand what it takes to be at the top of field. Like that to you have to literally live it. So that you can internalize all that stuff. I mean, the higher that you get on the curve, it's like the less margin for air that there is and you need to work. I mean Olympia will work for four years shave off to hundreds of the second. And that you have to have that level of commitment because the one you're going against the world's best the margin is so small. Crime and yet anyway, I think habits play a central role in that. I think that they are they are crucial because the more that you can bitch allies, the more you free up your mind to focus on the things that could make that last bit of difference. Sluts talk about habit change, we were attempting to launch into these laws, and we haven't even gotten. Break these down. Okay. So therefore laws behavior change, make it obvious. So that's about the Q make it attractive. That's about the craving. Make it easy. The response and then make it satisfying, which is the reward. This is all about adopting a quote, unquote. Good habit. Correct. And then you can invert each of those four for breaking bad habit. So for bad habits. You wanna make it invisible? We'll make the Q invisible and make it unattractive make a difficult and make an unsatisfying. And again, these are like a toolbox for thinking about what can we practically do on daily basis for building? Good habits and breaking bad ones, so obvious. So one way to think about this is with a strategy environment design and the idea is just to restructure your physical environment to make the queues of your good habits obvious and the queues of your bad habits invisible. So let me give you an example both. Personal example. So I I I realize that for most of my life, I brushed my brush my teeth twice a day, but I wouldn't flaws consistently. And when I looked at the habit there were two issues. One of the problems was the floss was just tucked away in the drawer in the bathroom. I wouldn't see it. And so because it wasn't obvious. Sometimes I just forget the second thing sounds silly. But I didn't like the feeling of wrapping flaws around my fingers, there's just like uncomfortable. And so anyway, I took the loss out of the drawer bought a little bowl and got some those premade fosters and put them in the bowl instead it right next to brush, and now I brush my teeth put the toothbrush down pick of loss or up to it right away. It's obvious, and that's pretty much all I needed to do to build that habit. Now, I've been doing it for I don't know five years and never really had to think about it. This is the most important thing. I think there's a lot of people, my friend. Dan, Butin are included who don't hold a lot of confidence and belief in a single human beings ability to. To implement positive behavior changes with sustainable, unsold long-term results. It's just that's why there's so many self help books people struggle with weight, and fitness, and you know, you name it profession like all of these things. It's so hard, but the best way to fundamentally address these things is to change your environment. So that it's conducive to the healthy choice. So whether it's in your teeth, or re reimagining, what an urban landscape is. So that's incentivizing people ride their bikes and not drive cars and not drink sodas but drink water like structural systemic changes in our environment that make the healthy choice. The productive choice. Not only the obvious choice. But in some cases, the only choice or the choice that is at arm's length at all times. And that goes with Radicati radically the unhealthy choices removing those from arm's reach so that they become more difficult to access. Yes, it's huge. I mean, imagine the impact of living in an environment where or working in environment where there are a hundred little things like that. They're all kind of nudging in the right direction or nudging away from the wrong direction. Here's another example for breaking bad habit. So again here you just inverted rather make it obvious. Make it invisible I've noticed that. If I buy a six pack of beer, and I put it in the front of the fridge like either in the door or like right in the front of the shelf all opened up will have one each just because it's there, but if I take it, and I put it in the back of the fridge like lowest shelf all the way in the back. I can't really see it when I opened the door. Sometimes it'll sit there for like a month. And so it's interesting, you know, I'm like did. I do I want to be or not because in a way I. Do. But only if it's really presented to me. Right moved it like five inches. Yes. Really seriously. It was probably like, yeah. It's probably twelve inches back. I could tell you as a recovering alcoholic my drinking days. I would not have. I would have had to take more extreme measures. So that actually raises a good point, which is that many of these strategies that talk about in the book are very effective for good habits bad habits, even though we just agreed not to use that term, but not necessarily for true addictions. Yeah. And this is something I wanted to really get into with you, which is the difference the qualitative difference between a quote, unquote, bad habit and something that would qualify as an addiction. I think that line gets blurred. And certainly it's a spectrum. But I think there's a very different approach that you need to take when somebody is truly falling prey to addictive behavior patterns versus something. That's just habituated. Yes. So we'll get back to the laws behavior. We're gonna want by the end of this. We'll go. So. The technical definition for addiction. And by the way, I don't consider myself an expert on addiction is a behavior that you continue to repeat despite negative consequences. So you know, that it's bad for you. You know, it's not serving you. But you still can't stop yourself from doing it and those I do agree. It's probably on the spectrum. So on one side of the spectrum. You have a behavior that you do just one time. And then the more that you repeat it you shift down than some point. Maybe you cross over this threshold and you get to a habit. And then if you go even further you've got behaviors that you keep doing again, and again, but you don't learn from them, and we'll call that in addiction. And so it's kind of like the feedback loop is broken you go through the queue you have the craving you take the response. But instead of there being a rewards of its serving you in some way, really all it does is just satisfy the craving and it, but it's not good for the rest of your life. The feedback loop isn't necessarily broken. It's just that. It doesn't matter. You know, the cravings addicted. It is typically I mean, there's again denial as a spectrum as well, but on some level whether conscious or unconscious they're aware that destroying their lives. But it simply doesn't matter. They're still going to pursue this path of destruction. No matter where it takes them. And I can just tell you from my own personal experience as somebody who has always prided themselves on having. A large capacity to endure work somebody who has a, you know, a reservoir of self will who had been successful in many ways by virtue of a strong worth at work ethic. I was confounded and brought to my knees time and time again by my inability to leverage these skills that I thought were my secret weapons to this problem and the more that I applied self willed determination decision making power might -bility to dedicate myself to a goal the deeper that whole got had to completely up end. How I saw the world and come to this place of not just acceptance and breaking that veil denial but also surrender like understanding that I was powerless over. This thing was really the first base of trying to figure out a new trajectory forward, and it's very. Counter-intuitive weird. And it doesn't make sense to most people unless you've gone through this process. It's like a letting go as opposed to like. Like some sort of driven willingness to like fight it. So like, you could apply, determination, and grit any other area of my life. I've had success using those skills. But for some reason, this this it just it made it worse and worse and worse and worse further and further isolated me from everybody else because I thought I can solve this. I don't eat help. I'm going to do this on all these other areas of my life have worked out when I use the strategy. There's no reason why the strategy won't work here. And it just destroyed me. So I mean, obviously, very complicated. And I don't know that. So I just made the distinction of the strategies in the book, I think a really good for bad habits not necessarily for addiction. Although I don't think that it would hurt for to use those strategies for diction. But I don't know that it's going to be like a little mattress all the pro. Well, it may help with the denial part of very minimum. Yeah. So there's a secret chapter to the book that's not included in the final manuscript. But that you can get at atomic habits dot com, and it's called the biology of bad behavior, and it discusses what scientists are doing to kinda rewire the brain addicts. So some of them are pills like cocaine addicts or using drugs back Lafon that was originally developed for back spasms that some addicts say when they start to take it. Suddenly there cravings in diction like vanished, more or less overnight. I don't know that it works for all of them. And that's kind of the story with a lot of these drugs for addiction right now is that some people have really amazing results. But not every patient does. Then there's a second strategy has been National Geographic covered it last year. It's starting to be used in Italy. And I think it's making its way around the world where it's this TMS machine. This magnetic stimulation for the brain, and essentially the if I as I understand it the. Prefrontal cortex of the brain is responsible for a variety of decision making centers and your ability to resist temptation, and in addicts they find that this particular area is kind of deactivated to a certain degree. And so when a craving arises you have trouble resisting. And so you'll go in for this magnetic stimulation affectively they placed the magnet over that portion of that region. The brain stimulate the neurons, there was some electrical impulses and. People walk out, and they feel like they don't have cravings anymore. Yeah. Which is kinda crazy. So I don't I don't know where this is going to go. And I I'm very wary to say that like, oh, this is a magic trick. And all of that is interesting, and it's going to be really cool to see how this stuff plays out. There's all kinds of amazing studies happening with psychedelics at the moment and treating addicts with that. But I always kind of default to this fundamental perspective that addiction fueled as Gabar Mata would say from some childhood trauma or some psychological framework where a person feels broken in some regard and is compelled to engage in that destructive addictive behavior as a means of state change, right? Which is what we were talking about earlier. So you can eliminate the craving and eliminate the behavior or the substance, but that predisposition remains and it will continue to find another avenue to satisfy itself with some behavioral. Or whatever to sell whatever that wound is or that that sense of incompleteness or inadequacy or whatever it is that is that is really the driver behind the addictive behavior because the the the substance or the behaviors the solution to the problem, and you can until it becomes the problem it self and you can remove that. But you're still left with that fundamental predisposition that needs to get addressed. Do you feel like running or writing has been SU there's something else has been the thing? That's there for you. Yeah. They're they're helpful and their curative in some regard. But ultimately, they're not the solution for me. I mean, I I've been so for a long time twelve steps the secret society, you know, is that's how I've got sober and have states over, and I'm still, you know, a very very active member of that program. And that to this day is still my number one priority. And the minute. I started lose sight of that. Or forget that or take it for granted is when I start to lapse back into into that realm, and there's no stasis either, and you know, this is something you write about it understand. Well, like, there's no like, oh, I conquered that now I'm moving onto this with addiction. It's it's it's either regressing progressing with every thought you entertain our behavior that you engage in. So you have to be very mindful of it and gauged in the behaviors in the activities that keep it at bay in order to be healthy and functional. So I don't go around thinking about drinking or using drugs. Very often it rarely occurs to me. But I have a whole battery of other negative behavior patterns that will manifest all kinds of character defects that I wouldn't qualify as addictions, but our habits that I'm constantly trying to master or change. Well. This is kind of an interesting intersection with the second law to bring it back to some of those. Because the first law we talked about making obvious and doing some of these environment. Zion changes the second law is about making it attractive. And what I mean by that is. When you interpret a behavior seizing when you interpreted behavior or Q as being attractive as being something, you should move toward then you have reason to perform the action and you're motivated to do it. So. In many cases, the behaviors that are motivating to us that are attractive to us are dependent on the people that we are around. So one way to think about this is that we are all numbers of tribes. Some of the tribes are big some of them are small like big ones might be what it means to be American or what it means to be French or something like that and small ones could be you know, what it means to be a neighbor on your street or a member of your local crossing, Jim or a volunteer at your local high school, or whatever, but all of these tribes large and small have set of shared expectations that for what it means to be part of the group, and when you belong to that tribe when you have friends there when you feel like you wanna fit in with that group have it's that align with the shared expectations of the tribe are very attractive, and you want to do them and habits that go against the grain of the shared expectations are very unattractive, and so one of the ways to make it's more attractive is to join a group where your desired behaviors normal behave. Peter to be with a crew where have it's that you want to build our just normal everyday. I mean, that's that's really an extrapolation of the first law, you're extending your physical. You're you're creating a productive physical environment. And now, you're extending that to your interpersonal environment. So you're surrounding yourself with the physical environment that's conducive to the healthy behavior healthy habit. And now, you're surrounding yourself with the people that reinforce that. And make it more difficult for you to behave. Otherwise, I mean society leans heavily on us. You know, I mean, there's a bunch of habits that people do each day you doing think about like you get onto the elevator. And you turn around face the front or you. You that role? Anyway, I know right. You go to go to a job interview. And you wear a suit and tie or a dress or something. Nice. There's no reason it has to be like that. Right. Like you could face the back of the elevator. You could wear a bathing suit to job interview. But we don't do that. Because it violates those shared expectations. It goes against the grain of the group. And so so many of our choices are like that. And in many ways, when we're young a lot of our habits are not chosen their inherited their passed down to us by whatever group that were a part of and then part of the process of becoming an adult is you grow up, and you get into your twenties and thirties, new decide these groups that I inherited these behaviors are these the ones that serve me are these the ones that I want, and then, you know, you kind of go through the process of of changing that and in many ways asking people to change their habits is actually asking them to change their tribe, and that that can be hard, especially if you have to do it on your own. You know, I mean, that's one of the. Helps to have a new tribe to go to because of people have to choose between having the habits they want and being alone or having the habits. They don't want and being with people being having friends belonging. We'd often rather be wrong with the crowd than right by ourselves. Yeah. And I think we're seeing this being played out culturally in this interesting moment that we're having right now where across all forms of social media. The things that people are saying in the political sphere are as much signalling to their own group to reaffirm their position within their tribe as they are an attempt to convert somebody from another tribe, which doesn't work generally. But it's interesting to see that social dynamic writ large because it's at such a heightened state right now. But it's really no different than the guy who. Hanging out with his Jim buddies wants to be part of that crowd and really wet himself in into that subculture and identify with that and be approved of by that group. I wrote an article recently called y facs change our minds and. Humans need a reasonably accurate view of the world of the facts to survive. You know, if you couldn't accurately see where the car was moving down the road. And then you walked out you get hit by one and wouldn't pastor jeans along and so on. And so you need to have some reasonable baseline, but within that there's actually a fair bit flexibility. And so people don't just hold beliefs because they're true and accurate and factual they also hold beliefs because they can help them belong because they signal to their social allies that hey, I belong to the tribe, and in in many cases being abandoned by the tribe is more of a death sentence than having a belief that is slightly inaccurate that especially one that doesn't impact your personal life right now. And so then we fast forward to modern society, and you get this manifesting in all kinds of right? Right. Right. Right. All right. Well on this on this idea of of making it attractive and surrounding yourself with with the people that that. Affirm- and approve of and and encourage the kind of behavior that you're trying to manifest within yourself. There are two it seems to me there are two kind of operating systems here. There is the the positive reinforcement that you get the approval mechanism. But there's also the negative accountability. Right. Like if because if you stray then you're going to be held accountable for that in the same way, you're going to get a Pat on the back for towing the line or being part of the group. Is there one that you've seen that is more powerful than the other or they both necessary. How does that work? Yeah. That's that's a tough question. Jonathan hate at. I think he's at NYU. He has some interesting research on this. And I don't know that he's performed themselves. But he was the one that I saw present it about the importance of punishments and consequences in societies in general. And like, we need to know that there is a punishment for breaking the law or something in order for people to stay on course. And so I'm not sure exactly how that applies to habits. My gut reaction is that. You probably need both on the long run. But that extreme punishments in consequences. Those like fear driven. Consequences rather rewards really give people to move in the intermediate in the short term and the belonging in the positive rewards are more likely to sustain large on. So I would say that's generally how I would bucket them. I think it was Tim Ferriss who came up with a case study. Experiment of creating a gym where I think I think the idea was you pay all the money up front for the year. And they take a picture of you without your shirt on looking terrible. And if you don't if you miss a day, or whatever like, then that image goes on social media, so sort of like, the stick, you know, more powerful than the carrot at least in the short term. I've heard about ones or they you pay like, you know, I don't know what the exact number would be maybe it's like a hundred and fifty dollars a month. And then every time you go to the gym, you get five bucks. Go every day for thirty days, you pay nothing. And you know, if you go three days a week. So that's similar incentive. In the book. I think I have an example of this guy Thomas Frank entrepeneurship, Colorado and he wanted to build the habit of waking up earlier. And so he created a little automated Twitter post that would go out at six AM every morning or six oh five he wanted to wake up at six AM. And so if he didn't get up at six at six o five who posted Twitter and say, I'm not upright now because I'm lazy the first five people to respond to this. I'll pay twenty five dollars. And and so that every day wake up at six and the first lady do is push that back to the next. Yeah. That's a genius. I mean, you definitely would wake up some horrible tweak going out that reflected poorly on you. And yeah, the other example, that comes to mind is the I think it's Tim Ferriss as well. Which was the if you fail like a certain amount of money goes to an organization that you despise either variety of services to do that. Now once called b minder another one is called stick. I think it's STI C K K. But yeah, you put like, you know. All right. My goals run this half marathon. And if I don't train three days a week, then I'm putting five hundred dollars on the line. And you commit it. And you can't get the money back unless your friend releases it to you, right? And if you don't do your training, the money goes to charity, whatever. Yeah. Cool. All right. The next law is is easy. Okay. So make it easy. Many of our behaviors are just about convenience. You know? Like, I started doing this thing recently where. A leave my phone in another room outside of my office for an until lunch each day. So I get a block of three or four hours in the morning where it's not around. Now, these numbers keep going up every year, we get more and more addicted to our phones, but the average adult checks are over one hundred fifty times a day now. And if the phone is next to me on the desk, I'm like everybody else. I look at it every three minutes or five minutes or whatever. But when I keep it outside of my office. I have his home office all have to do is walk up the stairs and go to a different rooms like forty five seconds away. But I never go do it which is fascinating to me. Because it's like, well, I was checking my phone every five minutes if it was next to me. So you would think I wanted to do it. But I never wanted it bad enough to walk forty five seconds upstairs. And modern society has done this weird thing where so many of the behaviors and technologies are so friction Lewis now, they're so convenient that we find ourselves doing them just with an inkling of desire. We don't actually really want. Them. But they're so easy that would just fill space with them. And so this law the third law is about trying to get that to work for you. When it comes to build and good habits, reducing the number of steps between you and the good habits, an increasing the number of steps between you and the bad ones. So you wanna make it difficult for that? And one of the metaphors I like to use a like a garden hose. So imagining a hose that's like bent in the middle. There's a little bit of water trickling out. If you wanna get more water through the hose, then you have two options, the first is you could just crank up the valve and force water through, but that increases friction and increases tension in the system, the other options just to unfold the bend and let the water flow through naturally, and that also gets more water to flow through, but it reduces tension reduces friction and so much of the conversation about building. Better habits and cheating performance is all the mental equivalent of cranking up the valve. You need to work harder. You need to have grit persevere hustle grind. And it's not that those qualities are bad. It's just that it increases tension in the system, and what you really want is to create a setup where it's easy to do the things that pay off in the long run. And you have the mentality of on the type person who will work hard attention, where I'm more sustainable gentle solution than you know, rising grind versus remove these things that are in your way every single day that actually are pretty easy to remove or create distance between to make it easier for you to do the thing that you're trying to do you really trying to prime your environment to make the default action easier, and sometimes you can do that with environment design stuff that we talked about earlier other times you can do it by taking actions a head of time that pay off in the future. So like say you're trying to build a better sleep habit. They're variety of one time actions. You could take today to make it easier to get better sleep every night after this new could test different mattresses and see which one leads the best night's sleep. And by that one you could purchase blackout curtains. So that your room is dark, you could buy earmuffs or earplugs. So that you can sleep more soundly get a sleep mask. So that you can sleep on the road or in hotels, there some of those things like the chili pad or some of the stuff that you know, will cool the temperature of the bed to more I deal rate or you can get a tent and sleeping your backyard. Like, I could sleep outside. You could also buy there's this little device. Call now, let timer and costs like ten dollars on Amazon, and my friend near a all he he bought one plugged it into his second adapter you plug into outlet. And then you plug the device into the timer. And so he plugged his internet router into it and set the timer for ten pm each night, and it would kill the power to the internet tell so then it's like, well, Netflix doesn't work. I can't browse the web. It's time for everybody to go to bed. That's interesting. And so imagine if you just did I mean, I'm just listed off seven or eight things there. But, you know, imagine if you did five of those will now, suddenly you're in an environment where getting better sleep as a habit is much easier. And those are all just one time choices that paid off for you in the future. And there's a bunch of stuff like that depending on the habit. I mean finance habits are good example, automated savings or automatic deposit into your 4._0._1._K or stuff like that. I mean, you know, you wanna make this brainless. So that you can as much as possible. So that you have the energy leftover to do the hard thing. It's weird. How we've created this world where now we have to spend so much energy trying to. Systems to the systems until like to like override our DNA and impulses to engage in these things that we think we've created to make our lives better. And yet at the same time are creating all these downstream problems. I mean, the the obvious candidate cellphone. It's like this thing is so scientifically devised and designed to captivate us and trigger all of those, you know, impulses that we so deeply seek that you can't blame anyone from. I mean, it's like you're scrolling. And you're like, I didn't even know I was scrolling become so bread into us. And now we have to go way out of our way by all these other devices to protect ourselves. I just saw the other day. I don't know if you saw this somebody came up with these special sunglasses that you can put on and it makes all screens look blank. So when you're wearing that actually. Screen just makes everything look white, man. I'm like, that's really cool. And it's also insane that we have had to that. Person thighs in our building this company t twenty like this is not what they're worried about. You know what I mean? I mean, this is just a good argument for simplicity minimalism. I think being a minimalist, which I I don't know that I consider myself a staunch minimalist, but I definitely adhered some of the principles. It's not about having the least number of things about having the optimal number of things and many of the items that we choose are surrounded by daily life. They is way more than the optimal number now. We're being bombarded by notifications text messages and all kinds of stimuli that we're fighting things that we did not fight before. Yeah. It's getting it's getting really tricky. And it's weird. How? The the things that foment these bad habits like the cellphone or whatever app that is your favorite app like the amount of money and science that's gone into our video games. Right. Like, it's just all about like, keeping you wed to it for as long as possible. Why is it that we can't channel all of that scientific genius? And put that into things that that are producing good habits. Instead like all of that you go to Vegas casino. It's completely orchestrated to like keep you there as long as possible, right? It's it's it's an environment that is promoting a bad habit. Why can't we create environments with that amount of intention -ality and money and science into promoting good habits? Yeah. I mean capitalism. I think is the overriding force here. You know, like, it's not just casinos airports, for example there. Are you know, really well paid airport designers that will come in to lay out a new terminal that will specifically decide where the walkways should be. So that you weave through the maximum amount of stores and pass the right restaurants at the right time, and you know, to spend the most money while you're there. And so anyway, my point is just that capitalism is the overriding incentive the people who do this stuff. And so the person who can figure out how to make a lot of money from good habits. We'll have a strong reason to do it. But until people figure that out you end up kind of we work for these companies that do it during the day. And then as individuals we want to redesign it for tonight. Right. Like, all these YouTube. Exactly like, my kids are not watching you to right? Which is you know, jobs. Didn't let his kids have an ipad that kind of thing. Right. Yeah. And we need more of the just read the other days. Well, there was a there somewhere. I think it might be Russia. Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but someplace where when you go to the train station or the subway instead of having if you if you did like ten burpee. Russia. Yeah. Yeah. We need more of that. It's great. I know. So anyway, all right one more thing easy. So. The simplest way to do. This is to scale down as in the book. I talk about this thing. I call the two minute rule, and the ideas, just take whatever have you're trying to build and you scale down to the first two minutes. And I had a had a reader did something similar to this. He ended up losing over hundred pounds and one of the ways that he did it was he went to the gym. But he wasn't allowed to stay for long them five minutes. So stay sounds kind of crazy. But for the first six weeks, he went and he showed up and did like half an exercise, and then he would leave and go home and to most people they hear that. And they're like, well, you know, it's kind of ridiculous. You're wasting your time. You're not actually getting in shape from that. But the point is he was mastering the art of showing up and a habit has to be established before it can be improved. You know, like until you become the person who shows up every day. There's nothing to optimize were so worried about figuring out the best diet plan or the best business idea or the optimal way to, you know, both my bench press or whatever. That were we search for all these perfect plans. But we don't do the thing that is fundamental to all of it, which is just showing up and the two minute rule is one way to do that, you know, like you wanna do thirty minutes yoga will let's translate that into take out your yoga mat? Or if you wanna read thirty books year, let's translate that into read one page, but whatever the first two minutes are the behavior down master that master the art of showing up make it as easy as possible to get started. And then once you become that person, and you're going to the gym every day or you're reading one page every day while night, you have options choices new upgrade and improve from there. Yeah. To to upsurge nations on that the first is it goes directly to something. You talk about all the time which is. Focusing on. Optimizing the starting line versus the finish line. Right. Like, we all think about the finish line. We set goals that are all about the finish line. And we overlook how important the starting line is and the more we can kind of we can have in the back of our mind that destination that were aiming to go towards, but the more we can root ourselves in what's required to be at that starting line. Then. Then it becomes digestible, and doable and sustainable needle start the race campaigns. It people are all worried about the outcome. I mean, everybody wants to you know, whatever the outcome is run marathoner and six figures lose thirty pounds. It's all finish line focused, but you have to standardize before you optimize like you have to make the standard in your life before you have the chance to optimize it in turn into something more. Yeah. And I think it goes to the second one I was gonna make it goes to this idea that I think I think a lot of people they. They really overestimate what they can or should do in a single day. And they completely underestimate what they're capable of in a long-term window, and I'm not I don't mean six months. I mean, five years ten years. But when you when you over when you over estimate, the daily routine, it ultimately leads to burn out for most people because it's not sustainable, right? And if you can narrow that down, and and and put it into these small chunks like you're talking about and and create a situation in which you habituate gradually. And you create a lifestyle that's oriented around being able to maintain and build an optimized on that. That's where you're going to see the results way down the line. I think that's true. And it's hard. I mean, this I mentioned this in chapter one of the book, it's hard to feel that in on daily basis. Right. Like it. I use the metaphor of it's kind of like heating up an ice cube. Like, you you're in a room. It's cold. You can see your breath. You've got this ice cube sitting on the table in front of you. It's like twenty five degrees. And you heat the room up twenty six twenty seven twenty eight twenty nine thirty. Nothing's happened ice cube still sitting there thirty one and then thirty to one degree shift just like all the other ones before and suddenly hit this phase transition the ice cube melts. And it's not that life is always like that. But it often feels like that people put in a little bit of work they scaled down to this little behavior. And they think there's nothing happened here. It's like seeing an ice cube from twenty five to twenty seven degrees. And so then you get you feel like I got to do more. Right. I need to try harder. I need a bigger goal. I need to be more emissions because then I'll get a bigger result. But people don't realize that like showing up and doing something small for three months or six months and then complaining about not having results. It's kinda like complaining about heating ice cube from twenty five to thirty degrees. Not melting out not melting in the the work wasn't being wasted is just stored. You know, like you, and that that is a hallmark of any process the compounds, which is the most powerful outcomes are delayed. But when you're in the thick of it when you're in the moment, it's really hard to feel that feels like nothing's happening. Feels like you're wasting time. And that's that's that's why it's so important. To understand that this is about identity because if you're only goal focused, then you're you're not going to be able to stay in it because you'll get you'll get dissuaded or or disappointed or or whatever. But if this is fundamental if you made a decision that this is who you are. I am this person that does this. Then you're not so wed to the day in day out results, you're not tab. You're not tabulating spreadsheet every day about whether you're moving forward or not. So this is maybe a good time to bring up the fourth law behavior change because this is a perfect example of it. So the fourth laws to make it satisfying. And what you really need is to make it immediately satisfying and the ultimate manifestation of that is the reinforcement of your desired identity, if you are focused on losing thirty pounds, and you go run for a month. And they like my body hasn't changed scales. The same will not you don't have any rewards to see. But if you're focused on becoming the type of person who runs three times a week as soon as you step out the door. And take two steps you reinforcing that identity. So you can feel good in the moment. And even if it's in a small way that's crucial for getting habits. Stick misses something that I referred to as the cardinal rule of behavior change, which is that behaviors that are immediately rewarded get repeated behaviors that are immediately punish avoided. And it's really about the speed of how quickly you feel satisfied or feel good. You know? It's kinda like if something feels good right after you finish it. It's a positive emotional signal to your brain. Or it's like, hey this was enjoyable you should repeat this again next time, and so in that sense, positive emotions, cultivate, habits and negative emotions destroy them. And you really wanna find a way to feel good feel successful Zinzi finish. Yeah. That's interesting. How important is momentum in all of this? Because I know that as diligent as I am about my training and my working out. I think most people would agree if you're in. The habit of like going to the gym every day. And you've you're you're seeing results you're part of that community. And then something happens, you got a business trip or whatever like some some wrench gets thrown in your plans, and you miss a day or two or maybe three days that becomes so hard to go back when it was so easy to go every single day prior to that. And that's where you see people completely fall off the wagon. And then six months goes by year goes by and haven't gone once. Yeah. So psychologically, there's something very strange that's going on with that that that makes that momentum something so special and mystical that that really needs to be like respected and cared for because it's so powerful. It's kind of like Newton's laws applied to habits, you know, objects that are in motion stay motion objects at rest at rest. But so there's a a wise lesson there in what you're you're mentioning which is. First of all all habits streaks ended some point. You know, like everybody slips up at some point and the mantra that I like to keep in mind for that for myself as much as anybody else is never miss twice. So if I work out the gym, Monday Wednesday Friday, and I'm this on Friday because of business trip or whatever then I need to put all my energy into making. Sure, I get in there on Monday. I don't wanna miss twice in a row. It's pretty much. Never the first mistake. That ruins you. It's like the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows you can get back on track quickly there. I think I have a line the book something like missing once as a mistake missing twice as the start of a new habit because then it creates its own negative momentum. Right. Yes. Right. Exactly. Yeah. It's like what's the next right action. You know? And if you are if you are density based you'll say, well, you know, I'm a writer. So I write this is what I do. Yeah. You don't take two days off? I mean, this diets are like the most common example is we're really talking about here is this kind of all or nothing mentality. That people have where it's like, well, I did the diet for five days. But then my friends wanted to go to happy hour, I've been Jade a little bit. And so I guess aid just too hard. So I'm just giving up just like, well, you know, what the next time. I haven't I'm going to sit down to eat make a healthy choice. Exactly. Maybe it's not perfect. But at least it's not Burger King. I wish I hadn't been shaped. But never missed twice. So I'm gonna make sure that next time I get back on track and eat a healthy meal. So I do think momentum plays a role there. There's also a second note about momentum in this comes back to like video games. And some of the stuff we talked about earlier and cardinal rule behavior. Changed I mentioned a lot of times momentum is built on the speed of the feedback cycle. So we have so far in this conversation in talking about habits from like this larger macro level of like a habit like going to the gym or writing or something like that. But really, biologically speaking. This process those four stages your brain is going through this endlessly and all the time and in the fraction of a second. So take something like turning on the light switch you walk into the room. Q the room is dark creating I predict that if I turn the light on it'll be better and reduce on certainty. I wanna be able to see response. I flipped on the light. Switch reward the room now lit, and I can see and all of that happens in you know, a half a second. And so your brain is going through those cycles all the time. So in a sense, you're kind of always going through these little behaviors and those little micro cycles can build momentum as you go through something if they're tight enough, and you have signals of progress you're getting positive feedback. And this is what video games are incredible at as you go through any level there. Little counters in the corner. Your score is going up, you're collecting more rubies coins. Every time you grab power up or a weapon or something Lou jingle or chime even the pitter-patter of steps as you like advance through the scene. Is the signal that you're making positive progress and would video games can do that? It's very hard to do in daily life is they can keep you right on the edge. So that you're challenged just enough, but still making progress like if you are really killing it on a certain level. They start to take away some of those power ups and give you more difficult challenges to face. If you're struggling they'll give you more coins and rubies, and you know, like help you along a little bit. And so they are always making sure that you're making just enough progress through the level while still being challenged enough to be engaged. And that is like a I mean, this has been shown with with research variable rewards and keeping on this razor's edge of difficulty is one of the peak ways to maintain motivation and momentum and want to stay engaged with a habit and technology makes it easier for us to do that. Which is one reason those behaviors and games are so addictive. Yeah. I mean, it's genius. It's just being channeled for less than productive out. Outcome for human animal. Right. Like it. It just makes me go back to that point of like, why can't we take all of that? And create. Healthy eating or fitness, apps or or an or an app that would work within the structure of a professional organization to enhance productivity. So I I think it's possible. But I think that it probably won't take the form that people would expect in many cases, the most affected behavior change apps actually change behavior through like a trap door. And this is just me theorising right now any proof of this. But like if I think about what is the most effective exercise app. That's been created in the last decade. Well, it's probably not actually an exercise app. It's probably something like Pokemon go because that got people that got millions of people to walk five or ten miles a day. But it wasn't an exercise app at all. And I think that there's something maybe there for people who do have good intentions who want to change the world a positive way and are really serious about changing behavior. Think about what those trapdoors are where things that actually motivate people saving money. Making more money winning the appraise approval in respect to their friends. Earning a higher score on the leaderboard. And if you can figure out how to have a secondary healthy behavior happening as they do that that might actually be something that could really stick and get millions of people to do something different. Yeah. Explain that idea of the secondary healthy habit, so Pokemon go. The real thing that people are trying to do is collect these Pokemon and get a higher score and whatever. But the secondary habit is to do that you have to go walk around the and see where they're hidden throughout the park and all that type of stuff, right? And so it's not none of the people playing that think I'm gonna walk five miles today. Yeah. They just think I need to find. And it goes back to your your original law, which is you know. Creating a system that promotes the healthy behavior without people even necessarily being consciously aware of it. Right. That's alternately. How you move the needle happens. All the time. You know? I mean, we've talked about multiple negative or maybe less healthy examples with cellphones and things like that. Where we we aren't really thinking about like, oh, I wanna sit on my couch and browse Instagram for three hours Nobis, waking up thinking that. They're just thinking, oh, I got more likes. What am I friends up to and blah, blah, blah. So that's kind of a secondary action that comes from that. And this is just twisting it or flipping on a little bit. And think about how we can have secondary actions that are healthier. Yeah. All right. So what's the difference between focusing on creating a good habit versus focusing on a Radicati or overcoming a bad habit? Like where should the focus and intention go? Yeah. That's a great question. I haven't been asked that before. But I think. There's there's some important like keys, so all let me start with a bad habit. I think the most effective place to focus on breaking a bad habit is the first and the third stage of my four step model. So the first ages making an invisible since reducing exposure. So I talked about like hiding the television, for example, or really common example, people here like make sure you don't have any sweets in the house like remove processed food pantry. So in many cases, again, not for true actions. But for just these bad habits that we have we just do them because they're around us. So it's like, well, if you want to spend less money on electron IX, don't follow all the tech review blogs, you know, you're constantly being prompted to to buy something. Or if you want to lose weight don't follow bunch of food bloggers on Instagram. You know, you're like continue have to overcome that stimuli. So the more that you can cut out that stimuli and reduce exposure to the negative cues. Maybe that bad habit loop. Never get started. And so that's one affective way. I'd skip over the second stage because our interpretation of cues the prediction that we have it happened. So fast at lightning fast as soon as you see that food blog on Instagram, you immediately think about your mouth watering and wanting to eat something and being able to like shortcut that and circumvent that it's possible. The one of the things that you would have to do is kind of reframe your mindset and make that thing that previously meant something means something else would you can do. But it's just it's hard. It's this is operating on the unconscious mind, right? So you can rewire your neurology over time new habits that create those new neural pathways. But that's a steeper mountain to climb in. It takes a long time. If you join a, you know, if you if you previously pork, but then you join a religion that doesn't allow you to eat, pork. And you start to belong. To that group, and you develop friends there and stuff will then. Yeah. Maybe at some point you'll see pork is very unattractive. You've re framed how you interpret that q. But it's it might take awhile to do that you need to actually build the friendships and have a strong reason to stick with with that new belief system. So anyway, I'm going to skip over the second stage because I think it's more difficult for bad habit. And then the other area where I think you can focus is the third step which is make a difficult in the case of breaking bad habit. And if you can increase the friction enough, you won't fall through so one examples I like to give Victor Hugo famous writer and author. He he signed this book deal to write The Hunchback of Notre Dom any just kind of like goofed off for year e pet friends over and had a bunch of parties, he went and travelled out to restaurants in really do a whole lot and the publishers got annoyed with them. And they set this all to mate, and they were like, listen, you need to get this book done six months. We're going to cancel the deal. So he had his assistant come into his his room and took off. All of his clothes out of his closet and put a chest. And they locked him up. And the only thing that he was left with like this large Shull this like robe. And so he didn't have any close the refutable for having friends over for hosting parties. He couldn't travel outside of the house. He put himself on house arrest. And so my point there was he made it difficult to procrastinate humidity difficult to do the behavior didn't wanna do and ended up working. He got the booked on like two weeks early five half months, and then you know, The Hunchback Notre Dame. Yeah. I mean, it goes back to to being intentional about your environment. I heard a similar story about Jonathan. Franson. I think it was when he was writing freedom maybe, but he rented like a crappy like the the most unappealing office like little like like almost like a hotel room in a terrible building like Santa Cruz with like, no view or any. And all it was was like like. Like a horrible table. And a really uncomfortable chair. And it was like nothing on the walls. Nothing just to go. No distractions. Just write my Angelou does something similar thing. She for many of her book, she rents a hotel room, and she leaves her house, drives there and rights. Nothing else. A lot a lot of screenwriters in Hollywood do that go to fancy hotels and order room service. Yeah. I mean that makes sense. So so back to this idea of of. Focusing on building good habits versus. So that's where I think focus for bad habits for good habits. I really think all four are affective the stuff that we talked about earlier with making attractive and joining a new tribe. I think that's the most difficult of the four because you're asking someone to to change their friend group or to find new friends, at least, I don't think you have to abandon the people that are in your currently in your life. You change your abbots. But it's just easier to adopt a new habit. If you have some friends that are also doing that new thing is there any research on the difference between an in-person peer group like joining a running club or whatever verses like being on a Facebook group where like you're somewhere where that community doesn't exist. But you have this peer group that's available to you through the laptop yet. It's a good question. I have not seen studies on it. It's possible. Something has been done. I just haven't seen it. But I think that having a group like, you know, your member of a community on read it or. As my group or something like that. It's probably better than not having it. If nothing else, you're kind of like seeding, those ideas in your brain that maybe you wouldn't be getting from your your physical environment. But what I'm really interested to see who knows when this will happen. Maybe it'll be ten years. They will be one hundred but some kind of augmented reality or virtual reality solution as just hot definitely coming. I was just talking to someone the other day about this. She has this idea this company where it's virtual reality. And you affected -ly use it for like self-improvement or behavior change you just throw the goggles on. And now you're suddenly in a room with ten other people who are trying to build the same habit that you are. So it's like a Facebook group accepted. Feels like you're in person. Right. Everybody knows that being in a Facebook group doesn't feel like what it feels like to go to your local gym. Yeah. But what if suddenly it did if it did have more that feeling it felt almost real then I dunno. I'd be interested to know. Like, you could live anywhere. You live in the middle of the woods and suddenly have access to what feels like an impersonal group. Get the accountability from that. Yeah. Well. I think there's no way that's not happening. Agreed. I mean, they'll be a lot of crazy not-so-good stuff with that technology, but I can see all kinds of benefits with that kind of thing. Yeah. What about this idea of of the way in which the adoption of good habits begin to crowd out the bad habits? So that was going to be one of the next things. I went to add the good habits peace there to two things. That's one of them. In many cases, building a good habits kinda like, you know, how plants like crowd another out. And so as as the good habit is formed kind of naturally crowds out the bad one. So let's say, for example, that you both want to get in shape, and workout more. And you wish you watch less TV or something. Well, if usually watch TV for three hours when you get home from work each day, and you just get home from work and change in your workout clothes and go to the gym instead, and you just focus on the habit of going to the gym. You don't even really need to think about the television one. It just doesn't. Happen automatically because you're at the gym and you're working out during that time. So there are lots of times when stuff like that will occur where the creation of good habit will just naturally crowd out about one. And another way to think about this. As behaviors often come in bundles like the they're related to each other. Right. Like, you go to the bathroom, and then you wash your hands. And then after you wash your hands, you dry, your hands and drying, her hands reminds you that you need to throw the laundry in the new think about oh, we're out of detergents, though, need to go to the store in like, they're all kind of connected. And in many cases, both bad habits and good habits can kinda come in these bundles. And so if you start to do something else that like pulls on one thread in the bundle than the whole stack about habits like it's not a binary one to one equation. If you if you start going to the gym, and you start to see results, then you're going to be more interested in eating healthy. And then you're going to be more interested in getting a good night's sleep. And then, hey, what's this meditation thing, and before you know, it like your life is completely different? That's why I think exercise is like one of my keystone habits one of the crucial ones for me because I I had like this post workout high or I can focus for like an hour and get some good work done or think clearly I tend to eat better naturally. Just which is weird. Right. You would think oh, you workout. So then he could waste it. But I don't wanna waste it. Kind of feeling. I sleep better at night 'cause I'm tired, which means I wake up in the morning. I have better energy and no point was trying to build better sleep habits or energy habits or folk. Habits nutrition habits at all just kind of came as this natural side effect and exercise is a common one. I mean, it's mine, but it's also common to many people one of the other ones. Well, there's still like visualization is one that you hear from a lot of performers like comedians or something they'll they'll go through the same visualization routine or athletes before they step onto stage or step out to perform. A daily walk is a really common one amongst creatives. There's a book called daily rituals by Mason Curie where he talks about the rituals of a bunch of scientists and composers and writers and probably like seventy five percent of it was out hall and drugs, and then the ones that are clean daily walk as the ones that are still producing at a high level twenty years later, you know. Have you heard what David sedaris does know? What is it? It's insane. He I mean, he's bananas in the best way. But he has some very weird behavioral quirks. And I think this must be driven by some kind of bizarre OCD, but he lives like in the English countryside. And for some reason, he just became obsessed with the amount of like litter that was everywhere. So he would he started out like in this goes back to like creates taking a walk like you go out and any pick up litter. And now he he walks every day for like, eight hours, picking up litter all over the place every single day. Like, it's some weird compulsion where he just feels and when he travels, and he goes out of town like he does it in whatever. Is not for like an hour like eight hours. I was like, well, there's something very unhealthy about that. But at the same time, I was left wondering how does that inform? His creative process. Like, this is like giving him some kind of steady low state activity. It allows him to free associate a certain way that perhaps contributes to the incredible writing does I don't know. I don't know the science behind that. But I have had similar thoughts to the one. You just add which is maybe like going for a walk kind of gives your. Yeah. The steady state or like, maybe even gives your non conscious something to do. And then you somehow get out of your own way a little bit because you're busy doing that stuff. And like making one foot move in front of the other. And that opens up the floodgates for an interesting idea to hit you, right, but okay. So I didn't know that that was going with sedaris thing. But I had heard that at some point that has this. I heard a great story, which is that he. So goes around picking up garbage for like eight or nine hours, and he's done it so much that he got this award from the Queen of England for picking it up. And he thought that he was going to have a private audience with the Queen for it. And so he goes to Buckingham Palace, and it turns out there like four thousand other people that are being honored for their civic work as well. And anyways, just talking about like how how he thought he was going to get to spend an hour with the Queen. And instead she like shook his hand for half a picture in the. All right, anyway, we're we're we we were talking about. Okay. So there was no daily. Routings prodding out and the oh, okay. Let me wrap up the visualization going for a walk exercise, and then meditation is a common keystone habit. That people talk about specially CEO's or whatever they get their ten minutes meditation entertainments, and they feel like the rest of the day kind of falls in line. And then another weird one that I've heard about from. So my readers budgeting or specifically paying off debt when people pay their debt off it starts a ripple and other areas start exercising, and southern you know, this was part of it. But it seems to it's such a heavy thing to kind of just carry like a dull low grade. Burden weighs on you. Without you, even really being consciously aware of it. And when you're carrying something like that around or you're under undue financial duress. It's hard to be creative. It's hard to be your best self because it's this thing it's weighing on you all the time. So so those are some of the keystone habits, the only other point I was gonna make about crowding out bad habits and focusing on good ones is that figuring out ways to feel successful in the moment that immediate satisfaction. That's a really strong place to focus for building. Good habits. There's some examples products are really good example of businesses are good at this. So like chewing gum for many years chewing gums been around for a long time. But for most of the time, it was like this bland resin. It was chewy, but it wasn't tasty. And then Wrigley came along in the late eighteen hundreds and they added juicy fruit and spearmint, and double -ment and Bligh shoe would if it did not taste there was bored. I don't know. But they anyway, they finally tasty right away. And. Also chewing takes office worldwide happen Wrigley becomes the the most popular chewing gum company in the world. And in modern society, there's still tons of examples of stuff like this recently couple years ago. BMW added this system to one of their cars where it would pump fake engine growl noise through the speakers. So whenever he stepped on the gas. It would like be more satisfying to read the engine that we're such dumb. Unbelievable Ford is doing something similar. They have like a this little valve system where usually it's blocked in the car soundproofed. But if you really slam on the gas the valve open up a let the engine noise in feel guttural wear alien should just come and take over. This is the end. But the point here and how to apply to good habits is that if you have some kind of media feedback immediate positive feedback. Feel good in the moment than ever reason to repeat it, and we already talked about identity being one aspect of that like as soon as you go to the gym, you can feel like you're the type person who doesn't miss workouts, or whatever that's one little bit of satisfaction have tracking. I don't think you always need to track or measure habits, but for certain areas for the ones that are important, you that can be an effective way to do this to you know, like if you the most simple form is just put like an excellent calendar. Each time, you do a workout or whatever. Well, if you do that every Monday Wednesday and Friday as soon as you finish the workout feels good to record that I write down like all the sets and reps. I do it feels good to close the book and have another workout finished. And of course, there's a million apps now that do that good thing from straw to the aura rang and everything in between the point though, the central points just finding small ways to feel satisfied gives you a reason to repeat the good heaven, the inter- I like this. Idea of batching you use this example of of one way to kind of confront and overcome a bad habit is to. Combine it with a good habit. So there's the example of the woman who. Wanted to watch hunger games. But then she's like she's only allowed to watch it if she's doing it while she's at the gym, so like creating the reward mechanism for the quote, unquote, like less than stellar behavior has to be built into or part and parcel of doing something that is part of the healthy habit that you're trying to bring into your life. Yes. So this is called temptation, bundling and the the researcher Katie milkman, who's at the Morton school, the university of Pennsylvania. She's the one who actually had she ran the study. But she also had that personal example, if she liked the hunger games, but she knew she need to work out more. She was only allowed to read the book at the gym. But it's a larger application what's called pre mex- principle, which is the psychological principle that behaviors that are more likely to be performed will reinforce behaviors that are less likely to be formed a few kind of combine them together. And. My favorite example of this. There's this engineering student in Ireland, and he rigged up his stationary bike at home to his computer. So that Netflix would only turn on when he was peddling. Right. And if you stop pedaling, the Netflix. It goes back to that. Same thing. We've created all these now we have so many things that we have to do to overcome. Links that will go to. But in that case, Netflix was the more attractive or more satisfying behavior. And so use that to incentivize himself to get on the site. Again, the bike and cycle. And it's that delicate balance like if what he had to do to watch Netflix was to daunting, then he just wouldn't watch Netflix right shift to has to be in that like sweet spot where it's uncomfortable. But okay, I'll do it. This is kind of larger overriding theme of our conversation. So far in something that's really important to keep in mind, which is you need to be willing to experiment. You know, everybody's running their race in life separately. And so you have to you can use science to inform your strategy. And that's a good way. It's a good way to have educated guesses and kinda like nudge in the right direction, but you have to perform these end of one experiments to see like what is at this right on that razor's edge. That's just motivating enough that go ahead and do it. But not so hard. I'm like, Aw. Screw it entirely. Yeah. And only you can know that for yourself. And I think sometimes that's frustrating for people because they just want to be handed a book and be like, hey, here's the answer. And as best I could I tried to write that book for habits. But the truth is you need to you need to be willing to experiment and run these kind of personal journeys to figure out what does work for you. Yeah. There's no question about that. All right. Let's talk about goals. Yo-? Some interesting thoughts on goals. The traditional conventional wisdom being like, hey, you wanna score? You gotta set a goal. If you want to know where you're going so goal. No goal is to big don't sell yourself short. And what's the problem with goals? Okay. So I before I come off as someone who completely hates goals. I think those are useful. I think they're useful for setting a sense of direction. But once you know, what direction you're moving in. Then I think it's best to put the goal in the shelf and focus on the system focus on the process in the habits. And the this was first idea that was kind of like thrown out to me or I saw this dichotomy between systems and goals by Scott Adams who wrote the Dilbert comic. And I think he's a little more adamant about it than I am. I think he says goals are for losers and stuff like that. Which I think is entirely true. But there is there are couple interesting problems of goals. So one problem is the winners and losers in any particular domain often have the same goals. So. So every Olympia wants to win the gold medal every candidate who applies for job wants to get the job. So if they all have the same goal by definition, the goal cannot be the thing that makes the difference between the people who get it and those don't, but you're not going to win the gold medal. If you're if you don't have a goal to win the gold medal. So I think we could say that goals are necessary. But not sufficient, and that's why I think they're useful. They're useful for setting center direction. You know, like every Nick Saban Alabama show up they know from day one the goal is to win the national title. And this is one of the beautiful things about sports that it's so black and white like that it's so clear cut that. Okay. We all know what the goal is. Now, we can say let's not talk about the national title at practice every day. Let's just focus on the process in the system. But there isn't really a national championship of tech startups, or you know, of a lot of other things in life. And so for that it's like a little a little Messier because people often need those milestones to know that. They're still pointed in the right direction. So I think it's good for that. But I think that generally speaking we have become a very goal and outcome obsess society and part of that is because that's what the news shows us every day. You know, like you're never going to see a new story. Those like woman eats salad and chicken for lunch today. It's only story. She lose story probably four. But it's only after the outcome has occurred that it becomes a story and social media has just like magnified this even more because all we do is just see people's outcomes and results highlights all day long. I think because we were inundated with results and goals. We think having a big goal having the result having outcomes what we should focus on. And so we spend ninety percent of our time thinking about obsessing over planning these goals and only ten percent of our time actually worrying about the process and should probably be reversed. Well, I think. What goals do? Well, is they create clarity of purpose? Right. So. Yes, sports is a very black and white template where goals make sense startup culture. Well, you know, what is the goal is? You know, it's more unclear but I think every successful startup or startup entrepreneur has some kind of true north, and that may not be financially rooted, it may be and changing the world or whatever it may be. But there needs to be a directional guidepost. So that. The team or the individual can cohere around a trajectory. And so I think it makes sense in that regard because it's a reminder of like where you're going and why but I agree with you that once you set the goal, then it becomes about systems. Like, you should sort of forget about it and be. And focus all of your attention on like, what is the next thing that you're doing right rather than like talking about this thing that you know, may not happen for ten years or twenty years. I mean. It may just of the Olympic gold goal. But you know, the person who wins the gold medal probably set that goal. When are eight years old, right? So it's been this true north that's kind of gently. Guiding them in a certain direction for a very long time. Yeah. I mean, just add a couple things that so let's say that you are that tech startup, and you have some clear goals about what you want the culture to be or the the direction the company to be where people should focus each day. The interesting thing is that the goals can be useful for that clarity. But really they don't determine much in the long run your true culture as a company is not the goals that you put on paper or the mission statement that you put on the wall. You're true cultures. The shared habits the team if it's not a habit among the organization, it's not actually part of your culture's, just something you did one time a thought building exercise, and I think that that kind of puts goals in their proper place, which is yes, it's very useful. For us all to know what direction we're trying to row in. But unless we're actually rowing unless we're actually doing the habits, then it's not really part of this. And so that's one thing. The second thing is that achieving a goal only changes your life for the moment temporal, right? Whereas identity has a permanence to it. There's a there's an example us with this for cleaning your room, you know, like you get really motivated and got a messy room. And so your goal becomes to have a clean room. So you clean it up. But you have a clean room for the moment. But if you don't change like, the sloppy messy pack rat habits that led to a messy room in the first place, you turn around two weeks or months later, and you have a messy room again. And so we think that the thing that needs to change is the result. But actually what we really need to change the process behind the results. We treat a symptom without treating the cause. Right. Well, in your example, you're actually treating the symptom rather than the root cause it's like taking a blood blood pressure medication without changing your lifestyle habits. Right. But I think this is really common when people say goals because they think only about the outcome. The think about the clean room. They think about the milk. Dollar Bank account. They think about the fit six pack ABS, but would they don't think about is what kind of lifestyle. Do you need to live to get that thing? And unless you actually want the whole lifestyle associated with that result. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to make it your goal, you know, but it becomes very easy to get wrapped up in that. Because all we ever see the outcome rather than the process. You also have this interesting idea about the the sort of peril of of good habits, and how that can kind of create a comfort now for people. So I think that we mentioned early on habits of the foundation for I think the habits of the foundation for mastery. You know, so LeBron or whatever like all those examples of automating as much as you can of the the process. But there is a downside to building good habits. And that is that at first you become aware of something that you want to change then you like deliberately practice it for while you put effort in and as you do that you develop fluency and skill ability, and the what was previously difficult becomes easy. And you habitual is it, but once it's a habit. The downside is you stop paying attention as much when you can do something pretty good on autopilot. You stop thinking about how to do it better. And there's actually an interesting study that's been done on surgeons that shows that early on in their career, they go through residency the increase fluency and skill start practicing surgery maybe for a few years and then actually their skills get to peak. And then once they've done it for a while. And they're pretty good at it. It's not that they drop off a cliff, but there's a slight decline in performance because they can do so many of the steps on autopilot. They stopped thinking about did. I make a little air there to make a mistake overlooked one-step. There's a rigidity you become less teachable. Yeah. And you become less cognizant of where you might be slipping by and so one of my favorite examples of this. I mean, this is one of the values of having a coach is that coaches keep you aware of your mistakes when you are no longer to Gandhi is fantastic writer zone. Right. And as a surgeon, he got his everything. Oh, it's insane. His straight. I'm genius. He's fantastic. I also think complications this is best book, and it doesn't get nearly as much press. I think it should. But. He anyway, he hired another surgeon who had recently retired to review the tape of his surgery and tell him like where he was going wrong. And what he was you know, what he could improve on. And I love that. Because surgeons never get coaches, right? It's not a thing in that industry. But you don't have to be an athlete to have a coach like find a mentor or someone who recently retired someone who's ten years ahead of where you're at and have them. Critique what you're up to. And that is a really instructive powerful way to kind of overcome or at least become aware of some of your habits that the downside of some of your habits that maybe you're overlooking or or perhaps develop habits around making sure that you're always tiptoeing outside your comfort zone or habits that encourage you to to always have people around you that will give you that critical feedback and push nudge in just a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. From the comfortable place. I mean, so that may be is what I'm talking about here. As habits are for. They become a comfortable place and usually growth is on the perimeter of that rather than in the middle. And so you need some reason or some way to stay on the perimeter of your abilities and keep stretching rather than staying comfortable, where do you most people go wrong with all of this? I think probably the biggest thing is making a habit too big. So we talked a little bit about the two minute rule and idea of scaling habit down to just the first two minutes of optimizing for the starting line rather than finish line. That's a huge one. The second one would be the all or nothing mentality. We're talked about like never miss twice. I make sure that I, you know, get back on track as quick as possible rather than acting like, well, if I can't run three days a week, then why bother at all, you know, like doing once fine. So that's another huge issue. And then in the long run, the two things that I think are most crucial our identity adopting that type of identity in casting votes for the person you want to become even if it's in a really small way. So you start to see yourself and build up evidence of being that person. And then the second one is social environment. You know, like in the long runs really hard to stick to a habit. If it goes against the grain of the people that are around you. Whereas if you get praised in respected for it people stick to things, even if they don't have a factual basis for them unified on the good reason because the the social component and the belonging is so strong. Yeah. The identity one is huge. You know, I think really. A huge problem is that people are not. Adequately in touch enough with themselves and their impulses who they are where they wanna be like, they're not connected to their interior landscape to the extent that their choice of identity or goal is necessarily reliable because most people are not engaged in that internal process of trying to really understand what makes them tick. And who they want to be and what I see is a lot of people chasing the wrong thing. And they may be very good at executing on that goal or that habit. That takes them. They're only to later discover that whole pursuit was you know, really not what they should have been doing in the first place. Car quote, or he's like, I hope everybody gets everything they ever wanted and realizes that wasn't what they actually needed in the or I can't remember who was this. Like, you know, you spend your whole life climbing this ladder realize it's leaning against the wrong wall, right, which becomes a much broader discussion about you know, psychology, I suppose in general, but. We got we got to start to close this thing down. But. Why don't we? If you could leave us with a couple things that people can take away to perhaps, you know, kind of tweak how they look at and think about the habits that they're trying to change in their own lives and some simple steps to get them started and taking making better citizens. Sure. So I'll give you one mindset shift and one practical application. So the mindset shift and this kind of lies beneath the entire conversation. We had today is to just try to find a way to get one percent better each day. It doesn't need to be something radical. It does need to be something huge. But have it's are easy to overlook both good and bad on any given day because they don't seem like very much the difference between studying Spanish for an hour tonight. And not studying it all seems like nothing is like what it's still. Didn't learn the language and the difference between eating a salad versus eating a burger and fries seems like nothing because your body looks the same in the mirror and the scales. The same at the end of the night. It's only once your habits of compounded over two or five or ten years that the full impact of those one percent choices one percent better. One percent worse becomes fully apparent and if you can understand that concept and internalize it then you can start to see the importance in your daily actions and in your daily habits, and why those are so critical. So that's the first thing is just try to find a way. Get one percent better. And the second thing just a practical application. I would encourage you to try to apply the two minute rule. Think about whatever happened. It is you're trying to build and scale it down to just the first two minutes of the behavior. What is the thing that you can do that can initiate it? Don't think about it as like the overall habit. Think about it like a gateway habit or an entrance ramp to highway. How can you automate the beginning of the behavior? And this is this is may be an important distinction. About habits a lot of the time. We talk about habits as we use the phrase habit for things that aren't actually habits like we'll say something like I want to build the habit of writing every day. Technically, we define this at the very beginning of this. Owed a habit is a behavior that can be performed more or less automatically. And it's autopilot writing about the most effort full concentrated thing that you can do right? Like, you're you're going to be thinking carefully. You're not gonna be on autopilot. So the the habit part of that would be I sit in a chair at a desk with a Pat paper in front of me or laptop the habit is the first two minutes. Right. How can you automate the ritual of getting started? And then let the consequence in the the effort, full concentrating work. Follow naturally the same way with the example, give about my reader the habit was showing up at the gym or for running a lot of people. A lot of people have heard stuff like this before K take small steps. But even when you know, you start small it's still really easy to start to big people are like all right? I want to build the habit of running. So I guess I know I should start small so only run for fifteen minutes. But even that's like way bigger than one talking about scale down. Just the first two minutes automate the ritual getting started putting on your running shoes stepping. Out the door and locking the door. And if you can automate that make that haven't you do a day in and day out near the type of person who always gets their running shoes on steps all the door. They're going to be a lot of days where you great advice. Great advice. All right, James clear. I think we did it the law. Samantha richie. Appreciate it. You'll get. Yeah. I feel great. I want to say do we say at all we could keep going, but we could. There's a there's a lot in the book that we didn't get to cover which might seem incredible. Given how much we covered here, but book is very thorough. Thank you enjoyed it. There are some sections that I find really interesting like there have a section on jeans and habits and like choosing person talk about like genetic factor. We can talk about Stu it. All right. There's a there's like a running joke out on the internet. Always say like, all right. We're wrapping this up, and then I. Two hours later. All right. So so here's my thought on jeans. In many cases, the genes that are well, we often don't like to talk about jeans biology because it seems like a fixed characteristic right by saying that like, oh your genetics. It seem nobody likes to think. Like what's out of my control? Why bother but the truth is the usefulness or the applicable pretty of your genes is highly dependent on context. So being seven feet tall is in an incredible advantage. If you're trying to play basketball and an incredible disadvantage, if you're trying to gymnast and just as that is very obvious with physical traits. It's becoming increasingly true as we develop more understanding of the link between genes and psychological traits or what we call your personality, and so for certain personalities certain habits or certain environments might be predisposed to being really successful enjoyable or not the I think there's a lot to to improve in this area. There's a lot for us still. To learn. But so many ways we might just be in the infancy of understanding this, but one of the best measures are most robust measures of personality is the big five in this kind of like mapping personality traits onto five different spectrums. The most common one that people know is introversion next version, but there are other ones as well. Agreeable nece conscientiousness, and so on and each of these five traits has been linked to some kind of genetic underpinning some type of DNA, and so one of my favorite studies on this. Researchers took babies that were in the nursery, and they played harsh noise on one side of the nursery. And some of the babies turned toward the noise and some of them turned away, and as they track those children as they grew up their life. They found the ones that turned toward the noise. We're more likely to grow up to be extroverts and the ones that turned away. We're more likely to grow up to be introverts extroverts are in the mosh pit. Introverts are at home watching Netflix. So again, I think there's still a lot to learn. But there's definitely something going on here. People for example, who have higher levels of agreeable nece tend to have higher natural levels of oxytocin as well. And so you can imagine how someone who's high agreeable nece might be more likelier. It might be easier for them to build a habit of writing. Thank you notes or of organizing social events where people can be warm and hang out and kind and considerate. And so on there that kind of personality, and so there may be predisposed to that kind of habit. We're gets interesting is if you can understand yourself at a more, I guess, I'll even call genetic level, then maybe you can start to design habits that fit you better or designing environment that fits you better. So one of the examples I gave him the book. And again, I'm just kind of I'm still like toying with some these ideas is. For people who are low in conscientiousness, which is one of those five traits. That means that they're less likely to be orderly or less likely to be organized. So if someone is like that, they're predisposed to be that kind of person, it might really help them to be in an environment to have an environment designed where things are already orderly or primed or set up because they're going to be less likely to be the type of person that would just remember to do it or to make a to do list to do it and so on and so maybe if you knew low in conscientiousness, you should shift more of your energy and attention to environment design. Yeah. That's that's super interesting. I mean in the book you talk about. Michael Phelps who has a physique that's perfectly suited to him swimming, very fast. And then you have this Hickel long distance runner who they have the same insieme. But you know, the proportionality of their bodies are lately different. And he's well-suited a long distance running. They could not swap places and the point being that from a far the casual observer will say well, of course, he's good swimming look at his body. I can't do that. But the the greater point that you're trying to make is if we can develop self awareness around what suits us best in our predispositions and gravitate towards those environments and those opportunities, then we're putting ourselves in a position where the expression of our genetic makeup can advance us and fuel us and put us in the position that is best for us. Right. I don't know if this is going to end up being possible. It's it's possible that there may be. A few key traits. Like, the if for measuring intelligence is a hot topic in difficult to do because there are many different types of intelligence. But if for example, being having winning the genetic lottery in intelligence happens to be like, a cheat code, and it helps you succeed in any area of life. Then maybe maybe this what I'm about to say isn't as accessible, but what I think could be possible. And is a really inspiring notion to me is if we could appropriately map, your personality jeans. Then maybe we could better suit people to environments where they could be excellent. And that would be a wonderful thing for everyone to be able to feel and experience what it's like to be excellent something it's like to be world class or to succeed. And in many ways, it's just a matching problem, you know, like what if Michael Phelps grew up in a family that was all runners and never swam. And he never got exposed to that. Well, there probably is a guy. Yeah. Around right now who has a physique that's even better suited for the two hundred butterfly and has never been in assuming pool. Right. And it's like, we don't know because we're ping pong balls bouncing around, and we kind of find our own water level of venture -ly some of us do, but it leaves you wondering we'll how many people aren't finding that perfect outlet where the world you talk about luck you've written about like luck. And use Bill Gates an example, like there's a lot of luck involved. He was born in America. And he was in the timing was right. Everything was perfect for him to be the person that he ultimately becomes. But how many people out there have that potential where the world doesn't converge in a way that allows them to express whatever gift is a native within? And my hope is that there are enough niches throughout the world that there are enough ways for people to fit in and find their their thing where they can be excellent where they're like perfectly suited for that. And it's just this matching problem that we don't right. Now, it really is like ping pong balls has just luck. I mean, it's it's luck. The Michael Phelps grew up in the right in the right environment. The right family the right situation for that. And that doesn't discount any of the hard work that he did he keyword is. But off he was in the he happened to also have been matched with the right thing at the beginning, including like, the perfect amount of psychological trauma to fuel the competitive nature within him like, it's all of it. Right. And I think we're headed towards a future where? And genetic testing are going to be able to answer some of these questions for people, and that's fraught with all kinds of other perils. But there is something interesting about that. Well, in the meantime, you kind of leave people with this question, which is what are you well suited to suffer for right, something like that paraphrasing. I think which is a way of kind of prompting that self enquiry a lot of people try to figure out like, yes. So in that chapter after a set of questions you can go through to try to figure it out for yourself. What are you most appropriately matched for what environment would suit you? And one of the key questions. I think is where's an area where you can handle the pain of the work better than the people around you the area where you are more. Well, equipped to suffer is the work that you were made to do which is an interesting way to think about it. Right. Like most people think about oh, we'll wears it just easy where do I succeed, but every area requires hard work and effort to achieve some level of success. So the question is not where is it easy? The question is working I handle the pain. Yeah. Yeah. It's it's a different lens through which to look at it. But I think that I think that's I think that's right. You know, for some people for whatever reason people who grow up and become great writers writing suffering, but they can handle it for some reason navy seals like it's not easy to be one. But the guys can make it somehow they can handle the suffering of it. Yeah. They're they're well, suited and prepared and willing to undergo that for some reason. And I think I use that line something similar that at the end of that chapter which is at the peak of any field. What you're going to find our people who are both well-suited and well trained, not just one or the other. They have the environment matching, and they have the hard work in the effort, and the perseverance right habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. I love it. That's one of my favorite lines. I think it encapsulates the core idea. Right. That like if you're willing to build a small behaviors and layer one percent improvements on top of each other. They will come pounds and multiply the same way that money multiplies through compound interest the effects of your habits multiplies repeat them over time. And that can be true for you or against you. And that's why it's crucial to understand how have its work. So that you can, you know, make sure that they're they're multiplying in your favorite rather than to your detriment. You heard it here people right from the source. I love it, man. Thank you so much, really. Appreciate your wisdom. The book is fantastic. I think it's gonna help a lot of people so excited for you. Are you going out on a big book tour you're gonna be around where people can come in here? You talk and stuff like that. Yeah. Thank you. I'm so grateful and. Pleased to hear the enjoyed it. So thanks for that. And we probably will do a book towards some point. I'll definitely be in New York for the launch on October sixteenth. But in the meantime, people can find the book and learn more about it at atomic dot com. Right. And James, clear dot com at shames Claire pretty much everywhere on the internet. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty much just James dot com is the place to go. Check out. Some my articles. I've got it organized by category. So if you wanna just bounce around would interest you and then their links to social media and all that other this newsletter with like eight zillion people who subscribed. Read your stuff, right? Yeah. That's James dot com slash newsletter. But but yeah, you can just James dot com and atomic Abbas dot com. That'll have it all for you. Cool talking to him out. Great. Thanks, rich. That was awesome really enjoyed talking to jeans to learn more about what he does. And who he is go to James, clear dot com hit them up on Twitter or Instagram at James underscore clear. And let them know what you thought of today's conversation and pick up his new book, atomic habits. I wanna thank health I q for sponsoring today's episode health. Like, he was the life insurance company that understands puts into action. 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