James Clear’s Newsletter

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3-2-1: Inspiration, getting started, and the power of cumulative action

read on JAMESCLEAR.COM | JANUARY 5, 2023

Happy 3-2-1 Thursday! Welcome to 2023.

I kicked off the year by recording a couple interviews about building good habits and breaking bad ones.

First, a special 2-hour interview with Tim Ferriss where we cover not only habit formation, but also questions I like to ask myself to improve self-awareness, ideas for writing and launching books, and much more. You can listen on Spotify or iTunes.

Second, a highly practical interview on the Girls Gotta Eat podcast where we break down the science of habits and behavior change and offer a variety of practical ideas for building better habits. You can listen on SpotifyiTunes, or their blog.

I hope you enjoy listening to those conversations, and now… here are 3 ideas, 2 quotes, and 1 question to consider this week.

3 Ideas From Me


“You have to show up before inspiration will.”

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“Just start.

Start slow if you have to. Start small if you have to. Start privately if you have to.

Just start.”

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A reminder from Atomic Habits as we start the new year:

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

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2 Quotes From Others


Author and screenwriter Ray Bradbury on the power of cumulative action:

“Action is hope. At the end of each day, when you’ve done your work, you lie there and think, Well, I’ll be damned, I did this today. It doesn’t matter how good it is, or how bad—you did it. At the end of the week you’ll have a certain amount of accumulation. At the end of a year, you look back and say, I’ll be damned, it’s been a good year.”

Source: Ray Bradbury, The Art of Fiction No. 203


Steve Jobs on the intersection of thinking and doing:

“My observation is that the doers are the major thinkers. The people that really create the things that change this industry are both the thinker and doer in one person. And if we really go back and we examine, you know, did Leonardo have a guy off to the side that was thinking five years out in the future what he would paint or the technology he would use to paint it? Of course not. Leonardo was the artist, but he also mixed all his own paints. He also was a fairly good chemist. He knew about pigments, knew about human anatomy. And combining all of those skills together, the art and the science, the thinking and the doing, was what resulted in the exceptional result. And there is no difference in our industry. The people that have really made the contributions have been the thinkers and the doers.”

Source: 1990 Interview

1 Question For You

Imagine all your responsibilities and obligations vanish overnight.

What would you miss doing? What would you choose to add back to your life?

If you’re searching for more time this year, start with a clean slate and choose what to add to your days rather than starting with a full schedule and trying to figure out what to eliminate.

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Until next week,

James ClearAuthor of Atomic Habits and keynote speaker​

p.s. How Excel nerds start the N


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