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james clear with atomic habits book

10 Ideas for Getting 1% Better Every Day With Atomic Habits

Improve in anticipation of the 2023 Atomic Habits James Clear LIVE tour down under

james clear with atomic habits book


“Improving by 1% isn’t particularly notable – sometimes it isn’t even noticeable – but it can be far more meaningful in the long run.” -  Atomic Habits author, James Clear


Imagine the joy of becoming a “new improved” you in one year.


Incredibly, if you can get 1% better every day for a year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time the year is up. A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination.


"Each habit is like a suggestion, 'Hey maybe this is who I am.'" - James Clear


However, as Atomic Habits author James Clear says, the change is almost unnoticeable on the day.


“If you save a little money now, you’re still not a millionaire. If you go to the gym 3 days in a row, you’re still out of shape…”


But, over months and years, the 1% change can deliver an impact that is enormous.


Fresh from our exclusive September 2023 Global Headline events James Clear LIVE, when Atomic Habits author toured venues across Australia and New Zealand, let’s explore the idea of getting 1% better every day by tweaking so slightly your good and bad habits. 


Free Download: 10 Leadership Qualities That Will Help Solve Challenges in 2023


How the effects of habits multiply


One of our favourite James Clear quotes is “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” 


Much the way money increases thanks to compound interest (when interest on savings is calculated on both the initial amount and the accumulated interest), a 1% improvement on a habit sees a steep upward curve in results over time. 


As James Clear says, “If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses and see how your daily choices will compound 10 or 20 years down the line.”


How your habits can compound for you or against you


Getting 1% better at something won’t be apparent immediately, but your habits can compound positively or negatively across all aspects of your life.


In Atomic Habits, James Clear says these include:

  • Productivity compounds – one extra task is a small feat on any given day but counts for a lot over an entire career.
  • Knowledge compounds – learning one new idea won’t make you a genius but a commitment to lifelong learning can be transformative.
  • Relationships compound – being a little bit nicer in each interaction can result in a network of broad and strong connections over time.
  • Stress compounds – over years little stresses can compound into serious health issues. 
  • Negative thoughts compound – falling into the habit of negative thoughts affects how you think about yourself and others.
  • Outrage compounds – a long series of microaggressions and daily aggravations can lead to outrage spreading.  


10 ideas for getting 1% better every day


So, what small changes can you make today that will change the course of your life? Here are some ideas to get you started....


Learning Challenge: Commit to reading, watching, or listening to educational material for at least 30 minutes each day. This could include books, podcasts, or online interviews (such as those on Growth Faculty’s membership platform). Aim to gain new knowledge or skills that are relevant to your industry or personal interests.


Career Challenge: Develop a daily habit of setting specific goals and prioritising tasks. Create a to-do list each morning and focus on completing the most important tasks first. This will improve your productivity, efficiency, and overall effectiveness in your professional life.


Health Challenge: Incorporate 15 minutes of physical exercise into your daily routine. It can be as simple as going for a walk, doing bodyweight exercises, or practicing yoga. Consistent exercise boosts energy levels, reduces stress, and promotes overall well-being.


Relationship Challenge: Dedicate quality time each day to connect with your loved ones. This could involve having meaningful conversations, engaging in shared activities, or simply expressing gratitude and appreciation. Small gestures and genuine connections can strengthen relationships over time.


Mindfulness Challenge: Practice mindfulness or meditation for at least 10 minutes every day. Find a quiet space, focus on your breath, and observe your thoughts without judgment. This daily practice can enhance self-awareness, reduce stress, and improve mental clarity.


Communication Challenge: Work on improving your communication skills by setting aside time to practice active listening, as promoted by author and speaker Michael Bungay Stanier. Engage fully in conversations, ask thoughtful questions, and strive to understand others' perspectives. This habit fosters effective communication and deepens your relationships.


Networking Challenge: Make it a habit to reach out to one new person in your industry each day. Connect with them on professional networking platforms, attend virtual conferences, or schedule coffee meetings. Expanding your network can open up new opportunities and valuable connections.


Financial Challenge: Spend 10 minutes each day reviewing your personal finances. Track your expenses, create a budget, and set financial goals. By consistently monitoring and managing your finances, you can make informed decisions and work towards long-term financial stability.


Creativity Challenge: Allocate time each day to engage in a creative pursuit or hobby. Whether it's writing, painting, playing an instrument, or any other form of creative expression, this practice nurtures your imagination and fosters personal growth.


Gratitude Challenge: End each day by reflecting on three things you're grateful for. Write them down in a journal or share them with someone close to you. Cultivating gratitude helps shift your focus towards positivity and increases overall life satisfaction.






10 ideas for getting 1% better at ridding yourself of bad habits


Positive transformation (i.e. the new you!) is not just about gaining new good habits, but also ridding yourself of your bad habits. While they may be stickier, small wins every day can make the difference.


"Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy." - James Clear


Try these ideas to kick you off......


Bad Habit: Procrastination Challenge: Commit to tackling the most important task or the task you tend to procrastinate on first thing in the morning. Start your day with a focused effort on completing that task, setting a positive tone for the rest of the day.


Bad Habit: Unhealthy Snacking Challenge: Replace unhealthy snacks with nutritious alternatives. Each day, make a conscious effort to choose healthier options such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts, and gradually eliminate the unhealthy snacks from your daily routine.


Bad Habit: Excessive Social Media Use Challenge: Implement a daily time limit for social media consumption. Use apps or features that track your usage and set a specific time allocation for social media each day. Gradually decrease the allocated time to regain control of your screen time.


Bad Habit: Sedentary Lifestyle Challenge: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Start with small increments, such as standing up and stretching every hour, taking short walks during breaks, or using a standing desk. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your physical activities.


Bad Habit: Negative Self-Talk Challenge: Practice positive affirmations and self-compassion. Each day, identify one negative thought or self-critical statement and consciously reframe it into a positive affirmation or a compassionate statement. Over time, this practice can help rewire your thinking patterns.


Bad Habit: Poor Time Management Challenge: Develop a daily routine and stick to it. Create a schedule that includes specific blocks of time for different tasks, including work, personal activities, and relaxation. Use productivity techniques like the Pomodoro Technique (setting a timer for 20 minutes and going for it!) to improve focus and manage time effectively.


Bad Habit: Overspending Challenge: Implement a budgeting system and track your expenses daily. Review your financial transactions, identify areas of unnecessary spending, and make a conscious effort to reduce or eliminate those expenses. Consider adopting money-saving habits, such as meal planning or buying in bulk.


Bad Habit: Unhealthy Sleeping Patterns Challenge: Establish a consistent sleep schedule. Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time, ensuring you get enough sleep each night. Create a relaxing pre-bedtime routine that includes activities like reading, meditation, or listening to calming music to improve sleep quality.


Bad Habit: Lack of Boundaries Challenge: Practice setting and enforcing personal boundaries. Each day, identify a situation where you need to establish boundaries or assert yourself. Clearly communicate your needs and limits to others, and gradually develop a habit of prioritising your well-being.


Bad Habit: Negative Influences Challenge: Surround yourself with positive and supportive individuals. Each day, consciously seek out and engage with people who uplift and inspire you. Reduce exposure to toxic relationships or negative environments that hinder your personal growth.


Getting 1% better every day is the simplest of ideas but it’s a powerful framework for making substantial and long-lasting changes to your life. As James Clear says, time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It "will multiply whatever you feed it."


Read also How the Atomic Habits 4 Laws of Behaviour Change Can Apply to Your Business


To master the qualities of successful leaders, make learning a lifelong habit.


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