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  • Writer's pictureJorge Diaz

System Building: How Important Habits are for Personal Success

Reading about "habit-building" changed my life. At the same time, applying new habit building systems to develop a reading-habit has also resulted in the best investment I've ever made. It is like a closed circle: reading about habits -> reading habit

The thing with this "circle" is that I didn't go specifically after a goal. I just set up "a system" (my reading system) and repeated it day after day. At the end of the year, I'm still shocked I made it to 84 books.

Systems. Simply "Systems"

"(...) We do not raise to the level of our goals; we fall to the level of our systems. And so often we are ambitious and set these lofty goals for ourselves, and we wonder why it doesn't work out?
It is because we don't have a system behind it, we don't have the habits, behind the goal (...)"

For years I've tried to read a lot, but unsuccessfully. Thing is I always focused on the books, instead of the reading habit itself. It is all a matter of aiming towards the specific system that is capable of throwing the results you expect to achieve with the goal. You want to be good at lifting weights; you have to do it every day. You want to build a successful business; you have to work hard every day and package all bad and good days together.

I remember now, ironically, that my dad, who worked at an underwater rescue saving company, used to say that "it is worthless having a diver eating a beef steak before going into the water. Diet and physical preparation was the result of having a system in place, not of a specific situation setup".

Focusing on systems, instead of goals, has proven to be one of the most effective ways to build long term success. Habit-building systems are incredibly useful here are a couple of books that will change your way of understanding habits:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This is one of the top 5 books every entrepreneur should read. "Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" is a 320 pages book that was published in October 2018 and immediately became a Best Seller. James focuses on presenting a "4 law system" that can be used to design and implement a habit-forming system:

  • Law #1: Make it Obvious

  • Law #2: Make it Attractive

  • Law #3: Make it Easy

  • Law #4: Make it Satisfying

His system is amazingly explained with examples, tactics, and methods that can be applied to both create and break personal habits. Thanks to Atomic Habits, I read a lot today, workout three times a week, and teach my children to do so too, among other things. Thank you, James!

You can download chapter 1 for free at, and also purchase the book from

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

While Atomic Habits provides the tools for building personal systems, there is another book that "complements" habit understanding: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.

Specifically titled "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business", this 416 pages book provides more "business/social-oriented examples" of success that make a fantastic second read right after James Clear's one. How habits shaped individuals, sports teams, companies, cities, and nations, are some of the samples you can find in the book. The content is divided into three parts:

  • The Habits of Individuals

  • The Habits of Successful Organizations

  • The Habits of Societies

The book has more than 5,000+ Amazon reviews, averaging 4.7 and can be purchased at



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