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Habits and Results

I've been thinking about a James Clear quote recently. For context, James Clear is the person to follow if you want to learn about habits.

Here's something he shared once:

Even though this was from several years ago, it entered my head again recently, and I can't seem to get it out.

Hence, this post.

As you read this, you may be at a point in your life where this quote hits you square in the face.

Quotes tend to do that. There's no such thing as a good quote, there's a quote heard at a good time.

This particular one happened to come at a good time for me, so I'd like to dissect it a bit because I think it has a lot to teach us.

Let's look at this in two parts: Results and Habits.

Your Current Results

You can choose to go as broad or narrow as you want here, and you can also choose the domain in your life where you care most about results.

Recently, my wife and I had a moment of parenting exhaustion.

It had been an atrocious dinner time experience, the kids (five and seven at the time of writing this sentence) had left the table and we were both sitting there with our hands in our faces and/or on our heads. Defeated.

After a bit of wallowing in it, we decided to get a pen and paper and write a list.

The heading of the list was, "Current Parenting Struggles."

Reframed in the context of this post, the list could have been titled, "Our Current Results."

Seven things made the list.

We then did this fun exercise of each taking a piece of paper and a pen, and ranking the list in order of we independently felt was the most important struggle to address first.

Your Current Habits

We ended up ranking the list the exact same way. Yay, win.

The number one struggle—well, actually the top three categorized as one—was meals and mealtime.

What to feed our children, and what the act of eating that food—or attempting to eat that food—should look like.

We then spent the next hour of our evening breaking down our current habits around meals and mealtime, and building up those habits again from the ground up.

A neat place we landed with regards to mealtime, was to begin a simple habit of lighting a candle before dinner, and blowing out that candle at the end of dinner.

Similar to your results, you can choose to go as broad or as narrow as you want with habits.


On balance, I would say meals and mealtimes have improved for us. Yay, win.

Now back to the list.

It can be daunting to look at the way you're doing something and think about having to break it down and rebuild it from the ground up.

If it feels this way, you likely need to narrow your scope.

I started with a quote so it only feels fitting to end with one:

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