Truth Be Told: Your Big Dreams Require Little Changes

Robi Kate Miranda
5 min readFeb 6, 2022
Photo by Sajith R from Pexels

Based on James Clear’s book entitled “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”
Date Read: January 13 -February 5, 2022

Photo Courtesy: James Clear

Have you ever dreamed big? I bet you have!

Most of the time, when we dream big, we think about doing enormous things as well. We often forget that these big dreams and breakthroughs require just 1% change and improvement with the things that we do.

Book in One Sentence

  • Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years.

Who Should Read It?

  • People who want to develop good habits.
  • People who want to get rid of their bad habits.
  • People who have big dreams (and want to achieve them through small changes in their everyday lives).

Favorite Quotes from the Book

  • “The quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits.”
  • “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”
  • “Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it.”
  • “Breakthrough moments are often the results of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.”
  • “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
  • “There are three layers of behavior change: outcome, processes, and identity.”
  • “Habits are about becoming someone.”
  • “Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it because habits reduce cognitive load and free up mental capacity, so you can allocate your attention to other tasks.”
  • “Habits are formed in a loop — cue, craving, response, and reward.”
  • The four laws of behavior change are:
  • Make it obvious (good) and invisible (bad).
  • Make it attractive (good) and unattractive (bad).
  • Make it easy (good) and difficult (bad).
  • Make it satisfying (good) and unsatisfying (bad).
  • “Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.”
  • “Environmental design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your own life.”
  • “We imitate the habits of three groups: the close (family & friends), the many (tribe), and the powerful (people with status & prestige).”
  • “Surround yourself with the people who have the habit you want to have yourself.”
  • “People will naturally gravitate towards the option that requires the least amount of work.”
  • “Habits must be established before they can be improved. You have to standardize before you can optimize.”
  • “By utilizing commitment devices, strategic one-time decisions, and technology, you can create an environment of inevitability.”
  • “Success in nearly every field requires you to ignore an immediate reward in favor of a delayed reward.”
  • “Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities.”
  • “Success is not a goal to reach or a finish line to cross. It’s a system to improve, an endless process to refine.”
  • “With a big enough “why” you can overcome any “how.”
  • “Your actions reveal how badly you want something.”
  • “The truly great among us are the ones who not only work hard but also have the good fortune to be exposed to opportunities that favor us.”

Personal Insights

  • Most of the time, when we dream big, we think about doing enormous things as well. We often forget that these big dreams and breakthroughs require just 1% change and improvement with the things that we do.
  • Setting goals should be partnered with setting the system. As per James Clear, “Goals are the results you want to achieve. Systems are the processes that lead to those results.” Hence, we have more control over the systems we want to create.
  • Before we implement new changes within our system, we must first understand and identify the beliefs that we have and the identity we want to be. James Clear said, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
  • Habits are either good or bad. They are good if they push you to the identity you want to be associated with. Otherwise, they’re bad habits. Only we can define them
  • Whether we like it or not, it’s difficult to become successful in all fields — most especially with the fields that are not in line with our strengths. Therefore, we must maximize our odds of success by choosing the right field of competition. However, if we cannot find a game where the odds are in our favor, we can create one. As James Clear advised, “When you cannot win by being better, you can win by being different.”
  • Be mindful of the environment or group of people you interact with. Whether you like it or not, they will influence your habits and behavior.
  • We have limited willpower and we are not always disciplined. Hence, it’s better if we structure our environment that is in our own favor.
  • There’s no perfect habit, goal, or system. Therefore, we must always reflect and review. According to James Clear, “It enables the long-term improvement of all habits because it makes you aware of your mistakes and helps you improve.”
  • While it’s important to have a definite identity, we must not stick or fall in love with it. Rather, we must redefine ourselves to keep important aspects of our identity even if our particular roles change. We must still welcome change in our lives as long as they’re aligned with our core values and north star.

Application in Everyday Life

  • Once we’re decided on the type of person we want to be, prove it to ourselves by celebrating success through small wins.
  • Understand your current habits by keeping track of it through a “habit scorecard.”
  • To apply good habits, ask yourself: how do I make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying?
  • To remove bad habits: ask yourself: how do I make them invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unsatisfying?
  • Pair your new habit with current habits. This is James Clear’s method called “habit stacking.”
  • If you’re having difficulty getting rid of bad habits, try “temptation bundling” — link an action you want to do with an action you need to do.
  • How to change your mindset? Change the word “have to” → “get to.”
  • Design your environment where it’s easy to do what is right.
  • Put friction on your bad habits.
  • Track your habits. You can become more focused on the process rather than the result.
  • Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery

*Outline inspired by Ali Abdaal



Robi Kate Miranda

Hi, I'm Robi! Welcome to my blog. Read about my advocacies, self-help tips, productivity strategies, and everything in between.