Atomic Habits – How to Make Tiny Changes That Will Produce Remarkable Results with James Clear

Show Notes

The New York Times best-selling author of Atomic Habits, James Clear shares the importance of being consistent, developing life-changing habits and building an email list.

  1. Yes, yes, yes and yes! Thrivetime Nation on today’s show we are interviewing the best-selling author of Atomic Habits, James Clear! James, welcome onto the Thrivetime Show…how are you sir?
  2. I know that you’ve had a ton of success at this point in your career, but I would love to start off at the bottom and the very beginning of your career. What was your life like growing up and where did you grow up?
    1. The first time in my life that I was forced to start small was when I had a very bad injury. I was hit in the face with a baseball bat and it forced me to make micro adjustments and accomplishments.
    2. I started with small habits and worked my way up with my habits. 
    3. I went to graduate school for my MBA and the only normal job that I’ve ever had was an internship in a medical practice.
    4. I got an internship with entrepreneurs and that is where I got an itch to be an entrepreneur. In September of 2010, I made the leap.
    5. Once I started my writing habit, I set standards for myself where I would write two articles per week.
      1. November 12th 2012 I launched my first article and it took me about a year before I got off to the races and began to make some money.
      2. I was gaining traction quickly but it was not in sales. 
      3. 5 articles in, I was able to get news articles to republish them and I got more traffic that way.
      4. It took me 75 articles, with 25 hours per article, before I sold something.
  3. James Clear When did you first figure out what you wanted to do professionally?
  4. When did you first feel like you were truly beginning to gain traction with your career?
    1. When I was 75 articles in, I was able to start selling things.
    2. I do get hired to deliver speeches and it mostly comes from the book.
    3. The people who are hiring me are the readers who are reading my books.
    4. My goal is to help people build better habits and focus on consistency.
  5. So what first inspired you to write the book, Atomic Habits?
  6. James Clear In your book you teach super practical laws for how to make tiny changes that will produce REAL remarkable results…and I would like to take time today to break down a few of the game-changing super moves in your book…
    1. If you want a new habit to stick, you need 4 things to happen:
      1. Make it obvious. 
        1. Available
        2. Visible
        3. Easy to see
      2. Make it attractive
        1. THe more attractive it is the more motivation it is
      3. Make it easy
        1. Scale them down
        2. The 2 minute rule
          1. Whatever habit you are trying to build, break it down to 2 minutes per day.
      4. Make it satisfying
        1. Associated with positive emotions
          1. Pleasure
          2. Satisfaction
  7. James Clear why can changing a few small habits change everything?
  8. James, why are systems more important than goals?
    1. Your goal is your desired outcome.
    2. Your system of the collection of your daily habits.
      1. Your daily habits will always win.
    3. You don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to your habits
    4. What actually gets you results?
      1. Goals help with setting a direction.
      2. Goals are a great filter.
      3. Habits help you 
  9. How can you implement a new habit in your team?
    1. You can use the 2 minute rule
    2. Habits have to be established before it can be improved.
    3. There is nothing to improve if you have not yet started.
    4. Whatever the new habit is, leaders have a position where they can control the narrative.
  10. How can people go about creating a system consisting of Atomic Habits?
  11. James, how do our habits define our identity?
  12. James, how do we go about breaking bad habits?
  13. How can we use visual cues to change bad habits?
  14. What is the 2-Minute Rule and how can our listeners use it to stop procrastinating? 
  15. James, what is the importance of having an accountability partner?
  16. Brett Denton, the owner of in Boise, Idaho wanted me to ask you:
    1. What is your method for research?
      1. Broad funnel type filter
        1. Most of my research comes from reading all of the time
        2. I have a block of time from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm that I only read in
        3. When my notes grow to a degree where I think I have enough, I then begin to chisel it down.
    2. What is the best way in your mind to begin building an email list?
      1. People only sign up for emails if there is value. Value comes from being free and providing discounts. 
      2. I try to write a couple of articles per week that are free that teases people into joining the list.
  17. James Clear Today, I’d love for you to share with the listeners about the kinds of projects that you are up to?
  18. You come across as a very proactive person…so how do you typically organize the first four hours of your and what time do you typically wake up?
  19. What mentor has made the biggest impact on your career thus far?
  20. James Clear What is your favorite old school jam?
  21. What websites do you visit most and why?
  22. James Clear What advice would you give the younger version of yourself?
  23. We find that most successful entrepreneurs tend to have idiosyncrasies that are actually their super powers…what idiosyncrasy do you have?
  24. You’ve got the mic, what is one thing that you want to share with the Thrive Nation before you drop the mic?
Business Coach | Ask Clay & Z Anything

Audio Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:01):
Are you good at setting goals, but poor at achieving them? I mean, are you really, really good at setting goals, but do you struggle to turn your big ideas into big results? Well, on today’s show, we’re interviewing the bestselling author of the book, atomic habits by James clear and easy and proven way to build good habits and break paddles in his remarkable book, James clear teaches tiny changes that will produce remarkable results, right? Like almost by definition, your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results, right? Like, and maybe we could even say like, whatever habits you’ve been using or following for the last say, six months are perfectly designed to deliver your current results. That’s your system, whatever your system has been running recently, that leads to the outcome that you have on today’s show, the best selling author of atomic habits.

Speaker 1 (00:54):
James clear is here to teach you the specific moves that you can use to become habitually successful the kind of person to become successful. As a result of the habits you have, you know, 90% of the time let’s say, should be spent on your habits and building a better system and maybe 10% of the time on checking in on your goals and making sure you’re moving in the right direction. Whereas a lot of the time it seems like the conversation is reversed, that we’re spending all this time talking about building a bigger vision or getting more motivated or whatever. And in reality, it’s the system that drives the outcome. You know, it’s like fix the inputs. The outputs will fix themselves.

Speaker 2 (01:33):
Some shows don’t need a celebrity in the writer to introduce the show. This show does two men, eight kids co-created by two different women, 13 moat time million dollar businesses, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the thrive time. Show

Speaker 1 (01:54):

Speaker 3 (02:14):
[inaudible] a very special occasion

Speaker 1 (02:15):
Because he is here. It is James clear on the microphone, James, how are you, sir? Hello. Good to talk to you. Hey, you are ah, kind of a living legend and one of my long time clients and a great entrepreneur by the name of Brett didn’t raise the owner of Cavell with three different locations in Boise, Idaho. So big shout out to Brett. He’s the one who first told me about your book, uh, right away. Do you have any life, life tips for Brittany just to throw out a life tip for Brett, didn’t feel free to know life tips sounds like he’s reading my book, which is the best that I can hope for. So, um, just, uh, thankful and, uh, sharing, bearing some gratitude. I appreciate the kind words. Now he has told me that he, his, that your book, atomic habits is a life changing book.

Speaker 4 (03:00):
So I want to ask you what inspired you first to write this book?

James Clear (03:04):
Well, um, I came to the topic in a couple of different ways, but my first exposure long before I really knew that, uh, that I was being exposed to habits of learning about the topic was through, uh, an injury. Um, before I was born, my dad played professional baseball for the st. Louis Cardinals. He played in the minor leagues and, um, you know, I sports played a big part of my childhood and I wanted to be an athlete as well, uh, and played a variety of things growing up until my sophomore year of high school, when I was hit in the face of the baseball bat. And it was a very serious injury, you know, I broke my nose, broke the bone behind your nose, which is called a, your ethmoid bone shatter, both eye sockets. Um, taking the stretcher to the hospital, ended up being more serious than that.

James Clear (03:47):
And I kind of lost the ability to breathe on my own. And, uh, I had multiple seizures. I had to be Aircare to a larger facility. And the fallout from that injury was significant. Took me, you know, I couldn’t drive a car for the next nine months. Um, I was practicing basic motor patterns like walking in a straight line at my first physical therapy session. And so that was the first time in my life when I was forced to start small, you know, like I didn’t really have a choice. I had to focus on these little behaviors, things that almost seem like insignificant, but going for, you know, going to bed at the same time each night. Uh, this was the first time in my life that once physical therapy was done, I started strength training at first once or twice a week, and then going to the gym three or four times.

James Clear (04:32):
And, uh, all of these things, whether it was going to sleep at the same time or preparing for class for an hour each day, they were tiny, but they gave me a sense of control over my life. And, and so that was kinda my first exposure to small habits and building them and gradually they, they helped me recover, uh, eventually make it back onto the baseball field. I ended up having a, a good career myself as a college athlete, um, and made the academic all America team my senior year. And so I never played professionally, but that was sort of my first exposure to small habits, being a method for overcoming challenges, maximizing your potential and sort of making the most of, of things. And it was only in the five or 10 years that followed that after my playing career was done, that I started studying the science of habits, more writing about them, and now doing all the work that, uh, that I [email protected], where I write about it. And ultimately, which led to the publishing of atomic habits.

Speaker 4 (05:32):
Now you had that five year window after college where you began writing about it and researching about it. What jobs did you have along the way? Did you have a, some odd jobs or what, how did you support yourself as you were, um, sort of becoming the habit guru?

James Clear (05:46):
Well, uh, so I went straight from undergrad to graduate school, uh, while I was in graduate school, getting my MBA. I stayed in the center for entrepreneurship. So the only real normal job that I’ve had aside from like summer jobs and stuff in high school and whatnot, um, was an internship that I had in a medical practice between my first and second year of grad school. And I was considering medical school at the time and was interested in the field. And so it made sense. Um, and then I finished, I went back for my second year graduated and, uh, I had, uh, an internship in the, or sorry, a graduate assistantship in the center for entrepreneurship while I was in graduate school. And I saw these people starting their own companies. And so I kinda got the itch to start my own thing too. So I graduated in June and in September I had a project I was working on and I finished that.

James Clear (06:38):
And in September I started my, my business. So that was September, 2010. Um, for the first two years, I kind of flopped around, tried a bunch of different ideas that didn’t really work very well. Um, and then eventually stumbled my way into writing about, uh, habits and behavior change. And, um, I was more interested in being an entrepreneur. So I was doing mostly, I was mostly interested in like growing the business, building an email list, building out the web platform, et cetera. Uh, and along the way, I kind of discovered that I liked writing. I didn’t set out to be a writer. I sort of found it as I was writing to try to market the business. Um, for those first two years to answer your question, I was paying the bills by doing just like odd jobs, web design gigs, um, uh, cadence, occasionally some consulting stuff or something, but you know, who’s going to hire a consultant news, you know, 24 and just started graduate school.

James Clear (07:34):
Um, so I did a few things to pay the bills and get by. And then once I started [email protected], my first article went up November 12th, 2012, and it took me about a year to make a full time income from it. But after that first year, I was kind of off to the races. Now for people out there that don’t understand how search engines work. Um, you have to be consistent with the search engine content. I mean, you have to write that content and you have to make sure your website is compliant to all of Google’s standards, but you have to, once your website is built and it’s search engine friendly, you got to keep writing. How many articles have you written? Um, I don’t know the exact number it’s in the hundreds. Um, I haven’t written a foul, but it’s in the hundreds. Um, I wrote a kind of the writing habit that launched my career so to speak was I published that first article, November 12th, 2012.

James Clear (08:25):
And starting at that day, I said, all right, I’m going to try to read a new article every Monday and Thursday, and I didn’t hit perfectly, but for those first three years, I was pretty close. I almost every twice a week, almost every week I was writing art, new articles. And so, um, it was really that consistent writing habit that led to the growth of the site. Um, some of those ideas made their way into atomic habits in one form or another. Uh, the, the book was largely either brand new or a total rewrite, but I would say maybe 10%, the content came from that. And, uh, and ultimately that writing habit led to the growth of my platform and getting the attention of publishers and book agents as well. So I, I don’t, I would not have had the book deal. Uh, if I hadn’t done that, that writing upfront.

Speaker 4 (09:12):
How many articles did you write or how, I guess how many articles did you write and how long was it before you had landed your first customer from your website?

James Clear (09:24):
Um, that’s an interesting question. I haven’t, I’ve never thought about it. Uh, I think

James Clear (09:30):
So. I was gaining traction pretty quickly, but it was not in sales. And what I mean is that I was writing articles and I would say within like five articles or so I was able to get a news outlet to republish one of them. And so that drove even more people back. And so I tried to do that a lot over the first year. Um, I would say I probably had written somewhere between 50 and 75 articles before I got my first sale. Um, and those articles usually took me about 10 to 20 hours a piece. So I was doing, you know, two week was basically a full time job. And then I had all the other stuff that was coming, going on with the business. So, yeah, it was probably, I it’s a little bit hard to answer because if I had optimized for that, if I had optimized for trying to get a sale as fast as possible, it could have been earlier, but instead I had tried that in previous projects and it was, I thought it was a mistake. So this time around, I optimized for, let me try to provide as much value as possible and build the audience, build the platform. And then I know once I have re heaters I’ll have options for, for driving revenue. Um, so I was focused more on growth than on sales in the beginning.

Speaker 4 (10:41):
Now, if it’s okay, I’m going to, uh, Josh, you can hold me accountable here. I’m going to be kind of a bromantic for a second.

Speaker 1 (10:47):
Just James. I have heard that your emails are hot

Speaker 4 (10:54):
Now I’ve heard. And I just I’ve, I’ve heard they’re hot. I’ve heard they’re hot when I, and when I hear hot, this is white

Speaker 1 (10:59):
Right away. I think of Kenny G songbird. I think about the song that probably led to my conception. That’s what it says. Brett said, these emails are hot and I’m going,

Speaker 4 (11:07):
Oh God, are they radios? These are good. And I just want to ask you, because right there on your website, James people can download the free chapter w it’s irrefutable and undisputable that your emails are hot. They’re good. They’re valuable. But how important is it for all the listeners out there who want to grow a platform like you? How important is it to have an opportunity to gather email addresses from website visitors? How, how, how critical is that? Or how critical is it not? Well, I mean,

Speaker 6 (11:37):

James Clear (11:38):
This is true of any advice, I think, which is that, does it apply to your context? So I think the first question is what kind of business are you trying to build? But assuming that you’re interested in building a business, that’s somewhat of a similar structure to mine, um, that revolves having an online platform. I, my personal opinion is that email is the most important platform. Um, now I’ve started to change my tune a little bit in the last couple of years in the sense that I think social media is more important now than it was before, still not nearly as important as email. Um, but I do think it’s, it can be powerful, um, and having a website and that website is its own platform and like ranking in Google, as you had mentioned, whatnot, that also can be powerful, but all of those outlets, the people who follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Instagram or visit my website, I consider those readers, but only the people who are on my email list, do I consider to be part of my audience, part of my community.

James Clear (12:39):
And so, uh, that’s really where you develop a repeated relationship. I think with somebody you could, I will say, I do think that there is one other platform that’s like that, which is podcasting. Uh, I think if you have people who are consistent listeners and they hear you talk every week, that feels very personal too, but more personal than email in some ways, although even though the connection is strong, younger, it’s harder. I think to drive behavior, uh, it, through that you, you don’t, it’s not quite as easy to get somebody to like click on a link in an email, uh, to get somebody to do something in a podcast as it is to click on a link in an email. But, um, but yeah, anyway, the answer to your question is I think it’s essential and I consider the email list to be the backbone of my business.

James Clear (13:23):
And can you explain what problems you solve? I mean, what would people hire you? What do you, what do you do well, um, to use the word hire is interesting. Cause I don’t do any coaching or consulting. I do get hired to deliver keynote speeches. Um, but I more broadly think that that’s kind of like a one off from the book. Like people liked the book, they read it, they found it useful. And so they’re like, Oh, I’d really like you to talk to our business or our department about that. So, uh, so I consider that to be an extension from the writing. So really I would say the people who are hiring me so to speak is any reader who is getting some of their time and attention to, to read the work and in the case of articles or in the case of my books, um, the reason that people do that is because it provides practical value for daily life.

James Clear (14:13):
So I am, you know, there are many, many ways to do that. Of course, like people who write about personal finance, help you learn how to invest your money or how to save more or how to pay off debt or whatever. In my case, the practical application is how do I take better behaviors? How do I, um, how do I build better habits, maintain consistency, be more productive, show up as the person I want to be. Um, and so that’s kind of where my focus is. And so in that sense, it’s one part, very broad philosophy. What, how should I look at life? How should I think about life? How do I consider, uh, effective paths to, to follow? And then it’s another part practical application, all right, cool. I’m buying into this philosophy that you’re talking about, but what do I actually do? And I think that’s probably where I provide the most value.

James Clear (15:02):
Um, if you read a T on the cabinets, for example, I, in a lot of the chapters, I’ll lay out a philosophy or a kind of a big idea, but then the bulk of the chapter talks about how to execute it. It’s examples for how to apply it to exercise habits and writing habits and relationship habits and all kinds of other stuff. And so it’s really the, the granular examples. The, let me spoon feed it to the reader to show them how to make this actionable. I think that’s where a lot of the value comes for many of the readers and listeners.

Speaker 4 (15:33):
You know what I’m going to do, James, I’m going to go into rapid fire mode and then Josh Wilson, one of our incredible show sponsors is here and he has some questions for you too. So get ready for the questions coming in fast and furious here, here we go. In your book, you teach super practical laws on how to make tiny changes that will produce real remarkable results, results that Brent didn’t thinks are amazing. Could you break down just a few of the game changing, super moves in your book?

James Clear (16:00):
So broadly speaking, if you want a new habit to stick, you want roughly for things to happen and not all four of these need to happen at the same time, but the more of them that you have working for you, the better the position you’re in. So those four laws of behavior change are number one, make it obvious. So you want your habits to be obvious available, visible, easy to see this is like put the healthy foods on the counter and the junk food tucked away in the bottom of the pantry. Or if you want to read more, like when I wanted to build a reading habit, I moved audible to the home screen on my phone. So it was the first thing I saw and I put books on my desk and by my bed and just kind of like populated the environment with that.

James Clear (16:40):
So the first laws make it obvious. The second laws making it attractive, the more attractive or appealing habit is the more motivating it is. The more likely you’re going to feel like you want to do it. And part of that is tied directly to the third law, which is to make it easy. So making your habits easy is about scaling them down. I recommend what I call the two minute rule rule. The two minute rule set as take whatever habit you’re trying to build and scale it down to something. It takes two minutes or less to do. So read 40 books a year, becomes, read one page or do yoga four days a week becomes take out my yoga mat. So you make it really easy and small. Got it. And then the fourth and final law behavior change is to make it satisfying. And that’s all about associating your habits with some kind of positive emotion.

James Clear (17:29):
You want your habits to be enjoyable, pleasurable, uh, delightful, satisfying, because that gives your brain a positive signal where it says, Hey, that felt good. You should do this again in the future. So one strategy for that is to select the form of a habit that is most enjoyable to you. So exercise, for example, not everybody needs to work out like a bodybuilder. Uh, some people want to rock climb or to kayak or to go hiking or just choose whatever form of exercise brings you the most joy in the moment, because that will associate that positive emotion with the behavior and make it more likely to stick. So make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, make it satisfying.

Speaker 4 (18:09):
Oh, make it blow my mind. Make it blow my mind. Now, James, what are some, what, why are systems in your mind? Why are systems more important than gold?

James Clear (18:16):
Awesome. Well, so let me put a little finer point on what I’m describing here. So your goal is your desired outcome. So what you want to achieve your system is the collection of daily habits that you follow. And if there’s ever a gap between your system and your goal, there’s ever a gap between your desired outcome and your daily habits, your daily habits will always win, right? Like almost by definition, your current habits are perfectly designed to deliver your current results, right? Like, and maybe we could even say like, whatever habits you’ve been using or following for the last say, six months are perfectly designed to deliver your current results. That’s your system, whatever your system you’ve been running recently, that leads to the outcome that you have. And so I think we could say that you do not rise to the level of your goals.

James Clear (19:05):
You fall to the level of your systems. And so if you want to change a lot of the time, people say, Oh, you need to be more ambitious. You need to set bigger goals and you think bigger, you need a 10 X your vision or whatever. But you know, having the goal is really the easy part. Like I can set a goal right now, 10 million bucks, right? Took me like three seconds or what you see a lot of the time in many domains is that the winners and the losers, so to speak in any given field have the same goals. Like if 20 people are competing for the gold medal, presumably all of the athletes have the goal of winning the gold medal or if a hundred people apply for a job, presumably every job I want to interject something

Speaker 4 (19:47):
Thing. And maybe you disagree. I just want to throw it out, throw it back if you want. Um, you sound like, do you read Mark Manson? Drew read Mark Manson.

James Clear (19:57):
Yeah. I’m friends with Mark.

Speaker 4 (19:58):
Okay. Well we had Mark on the show recently and you and Mark Manson, the subtle art of not giving an F uh, the author, Mark Manson. You guys are the future of self help in my mind. Cause you guys are that practical, real talk. And I feel like the there’s a lot of good things you can get out of Napoleon Hill and a lot of good things at a Zig Ziglar, but I am so tired of seeing people who are sufficiently motivated, going to yet another seminar to set another goal and saying, if I can believe it, I can achieve it. And I’m just in you’re going. But seriously, in order to get to the top of the search engines, you’re going to need to make your website. Canonically compliance and your permalinks are wrong and they go, permalinks are wrong. And then you go, yeah, permalinks says, you say your keywords are wrong and your descriptions are wrong and your site’s not built on HTML. And your site map is missing and you don’t an XML site map. And they go, I don’t got time for that. I don’t have T James clear. I don’t have time for that. I’m talking about believing it and achieving it. What would you agree that you’re kind of like a new form of self help? I mean, you guys are like, self-help 2.0, it’s like that real raw stuff.

James Clear (21:02):
Yeah. I dunno. Maybe I’m just trying to share ideas that are true and useful, you know, like that’s, that’s kind of like true, useful, clear that’s that’s like kind of my, the three things that I want things to be when I, when I write about them. And so, um, the way that I look at this stuff, we’re talking about systems or goals or whatever is like what actually helps me get results. You know, like what, what actually helps move things forward. And I’m not saying goals are totally useless. Like goals are useful for setting a sense of direction. Uh, they’re also useful as a filter. So if people, if you know what your goals are and people come to you and they say, Hey, do you want to, like, I have this opportunity, do you want to join? Or what have you? And you’re like, well, that doesn’t help me achieve my goals.

James Clear (21:41):
So no. So it helps you like say filter out and say no to things. But I, my argument is that, you know, maybe 90% of the time let’s say, should be spent on your habits and building a better system and maybe 10% of the time on checking in on your goals and making sure you’re moving in the right direction. Whereas a lot of the time, it seems like the conversation is reversed, that we’re spending all this time talking about building a bigger vision or getting more motivated or whatever. And in reality, it’s the system that drives the outcome. You know, it’s like fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.

Speaker 4 (22:13):
That is, that is that it was hot. That was hot. Now, Josh, do you have a question for the, the bestselling author of atomic habits here? Mr. Mr. James clear?

Speaker 7 (22:21):
I do James. Hey, thank you so much for taking my question and taking your time. Uh, so I can see why Brett is such a big fan of yours. Um, this absolutely fire stuff here that, that so many of our listeners really need to apply and run out and get your book. Uh, my specific question would be, and the two minute rule, I love that. I love the four points that you brought up. If you were coaching training, teaching your team, a team of people, and you said, okay, well, we want to form this one habit. We want to go after this one thing, how would you start with a team of say, 17 people that worked for me? How would you start in an office environment or an, or in a riot environment, in an office environment? How would you, how would you start to develop a new habit, uh, or, or a new system?

James Clear (23:06):
Yeah, no, that’s a great question. So I do think the two minute rule can be useful or some version of it for the teams in the sense that we say, all right, this is where we’re going to focus. This is what we’ve decided is important for our culture, for, you know, our new strategic initiative or whatever. What’s the smallest unit of that. How can we scale that down and try to focus on mastering the art of showing up and at least doing that each time. This is I think, a deeper truth about habits that people often overlook, which is a habit must be established before it can be improved. You know, like a lot of the times, especially with strategic planning or talking to teams, we’re so focused on like optimize, let’s come up with the best in theory, let’s come up with the best strategy.

James Clear (23:47):
And, um, in reality, there’s nothing to improve if you don’t master the art of showing up. And so let’s find a small way that we can get that habit established. So that’s, that’s probably the first thing. And then the second piece that came to my mind is, um, there’s a great book. It’s a business book it’s called the outsiders, not the book that you read in high school. It’s, um, written by a foreign Thorndyke. And he talks about these eight different CEOs that have kind of performed really well over the last hundred years. And one of them is Warren buffet, but most of the others people haven’t heard of. But, um, anyway, one of the people that he profiles in that book had this very interesting thing where he took over this company starts out with this little office thing. It was in Buffalo, New York, and over the next, like 30 years, he ends up rising up the ranks to become CEO.

James Clear (24:33):
But on that first day, he comes in as the manager of this little office. And then somebody comes to him and says, Hey, we need to do to paint the outside of the building. We need to update the, the facade, like, um, what do you want us to do? And he said, only paint the side that faces the street. And over the next 30 years cost cutting was like a really big part of his initiative, a really big part of his strategy. And the great thing about that story is it became kind of this, um, almost like legend or folklore that could be passed throughout the company where in every budget meeting and every time they were discussing cuss, cost-cutting it could be like, how much do we care about this? Oh, how much that we only paint the side of the building that faces the street.

James Clear (25:16):
And so whatever the new habit is that you’re trying to instill in your company. I think that leaders do have a unique position where you can come up with some kind of story, some narrative, some I call this like controlling the narrative. And it’s some, some story that can represent what that value is so that you can spread that around throughout the team. People need, they need like a heuristic that they can keep top of mind whenever they’re the one making the decisions, because you can’t be there looking over their shoulder at every minute. So some kind of example like that I think is good. A lot of companies actually have used the, um, the British cycling example of getting 1% better each day that I kick off atomic habits with anybody who’s interested in kind of continuous improvement, or we want our sales team to get 1% better or whatever. You can use stories like that to, uh, to initiate the behavior, give somebody to anchor, uh, their behavior on

Speaker 4 (26:10):
Now, James, uh, Brett didn’t have a specific questions. He wanted me to ask you, and I said, you know what, I’m going to do it because you you’re the guy who introduced me to the writing of James clear. So here, here are the questions that Brett has for you. He wants to know what is your research method?

James Clear (26:28):
Um, it’s a good question. So I kind of broadly speaking the real quick summary is broad funnel type filter, broad funnel type filter. And so what that usually looks like for me is most of my research, I read a lot. Um, I’m just kinda not in any like real meaningful, like planned out way. I just am like kind of surrounded by it a lot. I keep a lot of books by me. I keep books by my bed in the living room. Um, you know, whatever, just like, uh, on my web browser, which is usually where I’m at, when I’m somewhere in the browser, when I’m on the computer, I usually have 10 to 20 tabs open and maybe three of those are like Gmail and Assana and like business stuff. And the other ten-ish are usually things that I’m going to read or I’m in the middle of reading.

James Clear (27:13):
So, uh, I’m reading a lot. So I’m taking a lot of information in and each day I sort of have a block of time from roughly like eight to noon where I don’t have any calls nothing’s scheduled. It’s just like thinking and reading and research time. And occasionally when I come across a good idea, I toss that into Evernote or a Google doc, if I’m working on a book manuscript and, uh, I just try to pile as much stuff in there as possible. It starts to take a little bit of shape and I kind of roughly have some headings or different areas, themes that are kind of going on, but I just put all that in there. And when that grows to a degree that I feel like I kinda got everything I want that’s in there. It’s like a, it’s like, I’m the hard thing about being a writer is that it’s kind of like being a sculptor, but you also have to build the rock to begin with before you chip it away and turn it into great explanation.

James Clear (28:07):
And so the statue, so all the research, the broad funnel is the building of the rock. And then I, in the case of attack on the case of atomic habits, the first draft was I think 720 pages. Um, and then the final version is 250. So I built out that huge 700 page version. And then I spend the next, you know, so that maybe takes a year or two years, however long. And then, uh, and then I spend the next six months or a year whittling it down to the, the statue to the 250 page version. So broad funnel, tight filter, final question from Brett Denton here. He wants to know what’s the best way in your mind to begin building an email list. And again, he owns a gym called Cavell fit with, uh, what he’s really doing. Well, he has three locations, things are going great for him.

James Clear (28:54):
Uh, what, what, what, what advice would you have for him, for Brett didn’t the owner of Cavell fit on how to build an email list? Well, um, people only sign up for emails if they think they’re going to provide them value. And generally people think it’ll provide them value if it’s free. And there’s some kind of like interesting idea or insight or content. Now, again, this depends on the business you’re building, you know, like J crew is going to be offering people 20% off discount codes to get them on the email list. They’re not going to be writing blog posts. So it does depend, I don’t know exactly what the best strategy is for someone running a gym. But for me, my strategy is I’m going to try to write a couple articles a week that are free, or maybe it doesn’t have to be two a week.

James Clear (29:40):
It could be one week. It could be a one a month, even if it’s, if it’s high quality and in depth, just whatever pace you can stick to. And so that’s the strategy. And then there are some tactics that are important and, uh, you know, like where do I put the forms on the page? How often do I ask people to sign up? What does the copy say on the actual email form to get people to sign up? Some of that is, is highly context dependent on the business, but it does matter. Um, I will offer this if anybody’s interested, Brett included that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that for the way James is laid out. So you’re welcome to look at the site and replicate, you know, where the forms are laid out or whatever pieces are useful. Um, but, uh, but yeah, so I think it’s both strategy and tactics, but ultimately it comes back to the same thing. It always comes back to, which is providing great value for your target audience.

Speaker 4 (30:32):
Okay. Into the serious questions. And I’ll let you get out of here. Um, your favorite old school jam. Uh, it’s a middle school and, uh, go back to a minute. What, what year were you? What year were you as a high school? Senior. What year were you a high school? Senior? 2004. Okay. So 2004, it could be a year, could be now 1999. It could be 98 to, could be, you know, where your school dances in a gym?

James Clear (30:53):
Uh, yeah. Um, yes, they were in a gym. Uh, and anyway, I’m laughing because I don’t know where you’re going with this aside from maybe asking me what, what song I would pick.

Speaker 4 (31:04):
I’m just asking, what do you remember?

James Clear (31:06):
First memory of this is that my first dance was sixth grade and I, when I was growing up, all my parents listened to were oldies. And so I did not know that music past say 1975 existed, really. Um, and so I walked into that gym and everybody was singing a TLC, no scrubs. And I had never heard the song before. And like, everybody around me knew every word. And so, um, I was introduced very late in life. I feel like to any kind of pop music or new music,

Speaker 4 (31:40):
I just had no idea. How often do you listen to no scrubs now? I mean, is this a, is this an atomic habit? Repeat all the time. Right. I got to make up for lost time. Oh man. Now. Okay. Now, now, now we’re getting into that deep stuff. Do you have a favorite music artist you do like today? A favorite music artist you’re into today?

James Clear (31:55):
Yeah. I have a lot of people that I like. I, the first one that came to me is like, uh, M and M, but just, I have a lot of hip hop that I like the, the thing about him. I don’t necessarily agree with him on everything. And obviously he’s like super volatile, but the level of emotion that is in the music, I just it’s like, I love stuff that feels authentic. And you’re like, when he’s singing, you’re like, yeah, he’s not faking it. Like, it’s not, it’s not an act. It’s not, it’s just like, he can’t help, but let it out. Um, so I like that on the totally other side of the spectrum. I really like Maggie Rogers. I’ve been listening to her a lot recently. Um, and there’s actually a great, this, this ties in actually somewhat well with our, um, with our conversation.

James Clear (32:34):
So that question about my research process and what goes into that and like how I think about it. I really love hearing from people who are dedicated to their craft and are just obsessed with it. And like, they can’t, they can’t help, but do anything except get it right. Like it bothers them if the details amen. And I’m Maggie Rogers is exactly like that. There’s a, she had, I think it was an Instagram post that she put up where one of her songs that has become a hit, she’s breaking it down. She’s showing some of her notes from when it was being recorded. And some of the things that she passed back and forth to her producer and editor and stuff, and the level of thought, that’s going into each note, even to each, like, when do we come in with this chime? Why is it there?

James Clear (33:17):
Can we amp this up a little bit? It needs to be 10% higher or whatever. Like she cares deeply about all that. And I just, I love that stuff. And I think that, um, you, when you see something really great, it’s almost never an accident. Like how much of a success it becomes that might have some luck to it or whatever. But the fact that the quality is great. It’s very rare that someone like stumbles into mastery. Um, and so I, uh, I, yeah, I love that kind of stuff. So I really like her work a lot too.

Speaker 4 (33:46):
Oh man. I can’t wait for the next two hours of this interview, man. I appreciate you so much for being on the show. You’re just dropping knowledge bombs everywhere. Folks go to James to get a clear understanding of how to create these atomic habits, that these little tiny changes that will create remarkable results. Check out the website, James, Again, James, thank you so much for allowing us to interview you here today on the thrive time show.

James Clear (34:13):
Of course. Thank you for having me

Speaker 4 (34:15):
And now without any further ado, three

Speaker 3 (34:25):

Speaker 4 (34:31):
Stop. What you’re doing and think about this for a second. What would happen if your company was suddenly able to generate exponentially more quality sales leads? That would be incredible. What would happen if your company came up at the top or near the top of the Google search engine results? Well, I would just feel overwhelmed with all that business. How many thousands of dollars in lost sales or millions of dollars in lost sales are you missing out on simply because your potential customers can’t find you when they go online to search for the products and services that you offer. I refuse to think that thought because I don’t want any more business, unless you are a dirty communist that hates money. My new book search engine domination will help you grow your business. In my new book, search engine domination, we will teach you the specific steps that you need to take to dominate the search engine results. What do you mean by dominate? You see in my new book search engine domination, we will you the specific steps that you need to take to dominate search engine results, download your free ebook copy [email protected]. I repeat that’s the best SEO

Speaker 8 (35:52):
My name is Amy Baltimore, and I am a CPA in Covington, Tennessee. I’ve been working with the thrive team now for about a year. Uh, one of the first things that they did was to update my website and my search engine optimization. I prior had a website, but I was not being found on Google. And all of my new business was coming through referrals from friends, family, et cetera. And right away, I started to see results of people were calling and coming in saying that they found me on Google. They just Googled CPA near me and there I was at the top of the page. And so, um, it’s been a great help to my business.

Speaker 4 (36:37):
Again, you can download your free ebook copy today at the best S E O book.

Speaker 9 (36:43):
Hey, this is Dustin Huff. I’m with Keystone Harbor Marina. Um, we joined thrive, uh, back in January and have been working with these guys for about seven months. Uh, during that time period, we have, uh, moved up our Google rank through reviews and SEO processes that we’ve, uh, uh, compiled through these guys. Our leads have gone from about four weeks to now 165 a week. So the process works. Uh, I will tell you from experience once you begin, you have to stay with it. As long as you continually do this weekend and week out, month in and month out, you’ll continually grow.

Speaker 4 (37:19):
The system works, but nothing works unless you do. You’ve got to take some action. Download the ebook for free [email protected].

Speaker 10 (37:29):
Hello, my name is Daniel. Daniel’s heating and air here in Amarillo, Texas. The way Google has affected my business, uh, we have got a lot of calls from Google right now. It’s July and we’ve had the best month ever. And it took us about eight to 10 months to get on top of Google. And I’m glad we did

Speaker 4 (37:48):
Remember nothing works unless you do. You have to go to the best SEO today, download the ebook for free, just download that ebook for free and you’ll be off to the races.

Speaker 11 (38:00):
Hi, my name is Christina [inaudible]. I’m the owner and operator of angel, such autobody and detailing in borne, Massachusetts. Um, we have been working with rive and their coaching for say eight to nine months, and it took us about six months, five to six months to get on the top of Google, um, and with their help with the website and marketing, um, and the SEO and retargeting ads with Google. And it has been phenomenal. We just have light and day business coming in phone calls, coming in, uh, walk ins referrals. It’s just through the roof. Um, and we couldn’t be happier at the moment. We are up 50% this year from the previous year. And not only is that part of our own hard work and diligence, but also with the help of thrive and what they’ve done for us and getting us on the top of Google and you know, all their knowledge and coaching. Um, and yeah, so super grateful, super pumped to see what the future holds for all of us. Thank you.

Speaker 3 (39:02):
This is Julia too. So today is your day and now is your time lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands, bring wealth, Proverbs 10, four. I’m here to tell you, you can do it. If you can just motivate yourself to up. The masses had to cut off to you. So on the day you would, I could run through a misshapen tree. I had to prove I had to make cuts to be her daily at noon, like a tidal wave of knowledge monsoon. I conveyed pay them no parades. Those are doubt. And you are you. The next bucket fell the all the next room for the next dr. King, who changed the rules and walls and your way past the one it’s up to you. I remember my days back into the door, boom, boom, like the template. Well with the doubts that try to consume the future that I could pursue. What from the mountain top. Now I can do clue that you have what it takes your success.

Speaker 3 (40:10):
Today is your day and now it’s your year. And now this moment is profound to show a, put the ground, your rope. Might’ve been rough. What you’ve got now is now even shut you out, but you gotta be disclosed with the old bow. Started from the bottom of my weight. I was bent prayed up. Then you got to get it. Don’t quit. It [inaudible]. It should be all went to, but we cannot begin without self discipline to fall on your face. To just sell a teacher up to Kohl’s dot pale with the friend is when the storm is getting up in a scout and only be live with yourself, which he believes in you, but not as much as God does to going through now. He’s got nothing to apply. What you learned. And Chris switch to a bird plow, increase what you burn it in due time you got money to person increase what?

Speaker 3 (41:41):
In due time you got money to sing it sing, increase what? In due time you got money to money. I looked the shutdown, the dowers silver beads that becoming your dream flowers, empowering you to devour all the obstacles that make your sweet dream sour. As for me, I used to stutter, but now I’m on the microphone. Smooth light. If I can do it, I know you can too, but you bust stick to it like postage to Perkins on the call, risks. What? He’s seeing big dreams today. Okay. And now [inaudible], I realized I can’t sing like that, but I can’t talk and, and

Speaker 12 (42:42):
Play the woodblock. Okay. If you guys need me, I’ll just be over here.


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