Superhuman by Habit by Tynan is quite literally, a guide to becoming the best version of yourself, one tiny habit at a time. Tyne takes you through the process of building habits, choosing which habits to work on, maintaining, regulating, assessing these habits and staying accountable throughout the journey. Tynan has a useful section where he breaks down popular habits. He analyses the pros and cons; the feelings you will more than likely feel if you are going through the process of building these specific habits. If you are interested in building habits and looking for support and guidance, I recommend you download the book!
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Who is this summary for?
Superhuman by Habit by Tynan is quite literally, a guide to becoming the best version of yourself, one tiny habit at a time. Tynan has a useful section where he breaks down popular habits. He analyses the pros and cons; the feelings you will more than likely feel if you are going through the process of building these specific habits. If you are interested in building habits and looking for support and guidance, I recommend you check this out!
About the author
Tynan is a well-known blogger over on Tynan.com, named one of Time Magazine’s top 25 bloggers. He was actually a co-founder of the blogging platform SETT which hosts his blog. Tynan spent a long time traveling the world, often with little more than a backpack. He left with no idea where he was headed and became interested in minimalistic traveling and the nomadic lifestyle. Tynan actually hasn’t lived in a house since 2006, he spends most of his time living in a small RV. As an author of seven books he aims to write about the ‘outer reaches of human experience’.
In this summary
This summary will take you through the process of building habits, choosing which habits to work on, maintaining, regulating, assessing these habits and staying accountable throughout the journey.
”A habit is an action that you take on a repeated basis with little or no required effort or thought. The power of a habit lies in the second part of that definition– the bit about no required effort or thought.”
Tynan explains that taking action without effort gives you the ability to improve upon areas of your life such as health or productivity without draining too much willpower. Instead, this process happens with what he describes as a ‘fixed expenditure of energy’. Tynan points out that although willpower can be built upon, it does have limitations and is not endless. Someone who can channel all of their willpower on building habits initially will reap the rewards later one when the habits become maintainable with little if any willpower.
Tynan emphasises that you should be investing your willpower rather than simply spending it. Over time, a habit will be transformed from an action requiring significant willpower, to one that becomes automatic and doesn’t require a lot of thought.
Without good habits, there are limitations to what you can accomplish both in your personal life and your professional life. Tynan emphasises the importance of establishing good habits in order to feel fulfilled in your life and achieve everything you want. Once a habit is well-established, it can essentially be transferred from your personal ‘hard’ category to your ‘easy’ category. This will release your willpower by giving you an opportunity to work on more ‘hard’ things. Tynan explains that in order to truly establish a habit, it can take anywhere from one to twelve months.
Different types of habits
When thinking about habits, it’s easy to jump to the assumption that habits are bad, you think about things like smoking, or eating junk food. And most people assume that bad habits are the hardest to tackle and the easiest to adopt, how do you simply stop doing something that’s so automatic, and something that brings you a sense of pleasure?
Tynan explains that not all habits are bad, and there are four different categories that habits can fall into; good habits, bad habits, old habits and new habits. Tynan explains that good habits may be more difficult to establish than bad habits, but the shouldn’t be harder to execute.
We all know that bad habits are usually damaging and do not benefit our health or personal growth. Rather than trying to simply give up a bad habit, try replacing it with something new, something that will improve your overall well-being, or increase your productivity and work.
Old habits, things that you’ve done for a long period of time are almost completely automatic and take no willpower, therefore you can have as many old habits as you like. However, every time you want to introduce a new habit, you are placing a significant strain on your willpower. For this reason, you are limited to only introducing a few new habits at a time.
“The ultimate process for self-improvement is to add as many new positive habits as possible, working diligently to convert them into old habits and make room for more new habits.”
Tynan emphasises the importance of habits in the long-term, think about what impact a habit will have on you in years from now or even decades.
”The benefit of a habit isn't the magnitude of each individual action you take, but the cumulative impact it will have on your life in the long term.”Click To Tweet
This is what you need to consider whenever you are deciding which new habits to adopt, which ones need to be eliminated and which ones are worth pursuing when you feel like you are fighting a losing battle.
When you adopt a long-term perspective, it becomes pretty clear that the most important aspect of habit adoption is consistency. If you cannot consistently complete your habit, you have no chance of maintaining it long-term. This is why Tynan recommends being more conservative when adopting new habits. Taking on a new radical habit may seem exciting at the time. But, if it’s extremely difficult to carry out and you can’t see yourself still doing it in a year, then perhaps it’s not a good habit to take on.
Never skip a day
When it comes to the early days of establishing a new habit, consistency is key. Tynan explains that it’s all about creating a momentum:
”Missing two days of a habit is habit suicide. Missing one day of a habit reduces your chances of long-term success by 5% while missing two days reduces it be 40%. Miss three days and you may as well be starting over.”
Habits take time to become established parts of your routine, it’s especially important in the early days that you complete your habit daily. It may not be as critical that you never miss a day once the habit is well and truly automated, but in the first month or so, do everything you can to ensure that you never miss a day.”
”Whenever you are going to skip executing a habit, force yourself to consciously admit that you're skipping, and articulate why you're skipping. But absolutely never skip twice.”
You might have to do it badly
It’s also important to accept that things don’t always go to plan. Sometimes, we won’t be able to complete our habit, but it may be completely out of your control. In some situations, you may not be able to complete your new routine in exactly the same way, but this is not a reason to not do it at all. Using the fitness example, Tynan suggests that when on holiday, don’t simply stop your fitness regime. You may not have access to your usual gym or equipment, nor have the exact amount of time. But a quick jog outdoors and a few sets of press ups and sit ups in any hotel room is better than doing nothing at all. Tynan explains, that in these situations, you just need to do it – even if you do a terrible job.
”Remember the power of a habit isn’t in the individual execution but in the consistency. It is far worse to skip doing something than to just do a terrible job of it.”Click To Tweet
Forgiveness and celebrations
Tynan acknowledges that nobody’s perfect and inevitably you will miss a day. The most important thing when these mistakes happen is to monitor how you react. Instead of letting yourself dwell on your mistakes and let them hold you back or give up, forgive yourself and refocus. Just as success and progress may motivate you, use mistakes to motivate you even more. Also, consider any mistakes you make and try to understand why they happened. Tynan explains that mistakes can often bring attention to something that needed some adjustment. If something’s not working properly, figure out why and adjust.
Just as you need to forgive yourself when mistakes are made, you need to celebrate success. Tynan explains that success is not just found in results, but also in the process and the journey. By focusing to intently on physical, trackable results, you are only adding more stress into your life. And if you feel like your successes are not happening quickly or often enough, you’re likely to give up altogether. Instead, a better way to maintain momentum is to celebrate the progress, celebrate your commitment and the fact that you got up every day and worked on your habit.
Tynan explains that honesty is a fundamental skill when it comes to staying on track with a habit. It’s also required when you are selecting your habits. It’s so important to be open and honest with yourself. Acknowledge any weaknesses you have and aim to address these. Consider a few of the following options; are you unhealthy or unfit? Do you find yourself unmotivated and unorganised? If so then these are the areas you need to address and introduce new, good habits into.
Despite how hard acknowledging your weaknesses may be, it’s absolutely critical in the path to adopting the best possible habits. If you’re already good at something, then it’s easy to create a new habit in that arena. The difficult part is introducing a new habit into an area that you aren’t good at. But, as much as this is difficult, it’s where the most significant and the best changes will occur.
Tynan explains that the first habits you should tackle are the ‘high priority habits,’ you have to care about the habit and be truly passionate in order for it to stick. If you’re looking for habit inspiration, try asking your close friends what they think you could work on, look outside of your comfort zone for things you wouldn’t usually do and take a close look at your social skills, these can be extremely beneficial to work on.
Tynan believes that too many people disassociate themselves from negative events and situations that happen to them. This is because they simply assume that it’s not their fault. However, by taking this attitude, you are never going to learn from a negative experience. Instead, Tynan recommends ALWAYS assuming that you are entirely responsible. Take responsibility for your own future and this will motivate you to make the necessary changes.
”You can do just about anything if you break it down into habits and execute on them. That's not to say that it's easy, only that it's possible. The key is to be honest about what's stopping you from success, take responsibility for it, and create new habits to correct.”
Adding new habits vs. subtracting old habits
Tynan also explains that there are two different kinds of people when it comes to forming habits. Some of us find it easy to add new things into our lives, and others prefer to subtract things. Consider whether you would find it easier to eliminate junk food from your diet or implement a new gym routine.
“It’s undoubtedly a good thing to work on both the ability to be an adder or subtracter. However, there’s no harm in leaning on your strengths when constructing habits.”
When you first begin a new habit it may seem pretty easy and straightforward. Tynan explains that this has a lot to do with excitement in the early days. And while excitement is great when it comes to getting started, it eventually wanes and you find yourself struggling to keep going.
This is where motivation comes in. You need to understand why you want to adopt this new habit, whats your driving force. This is where being honest with yourself comes into consideration. If you are wanting to take on a health and fitness habit, your motivation has to be enough to keep you committed when the going gets tough. There will be days where you don’t want to run in the rain, but if you understand your motivation, then you’ll be able to push through and remain strong.
”Start small, become consistent, and increase at a manageable pace. That's how you optimise for the finish line, rather than the starting line.”Click To Tweet
In a perfect world, you should be able to adopt a new habit and hold yourself entirely accountable. Your own motivation should be enough to do this. But in times that this is not the case, Tynan recommends you ask a friend to hold you accountable. Let them know exactly what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Make sure they understand how regularly you need to be completing your habit and they can check in with you to ensure you are on track.
”There must be consequences for failure. The primary purpose of having consequences is that they make the agreement official and definite. People remember bets, but forget offhand claims.”
Tynan defines six different kinds of habits:
- Positivity Habits – when the way you think about yourself and others is positive.
- Health Habits – eating well, getting enough sleep, regular exercise,
- Expansion Habits – getting out of your comfort zone as much as possible, travel to new countries, experience new cultures or food, write regularly and reflect.
- Organisational Habits – ensuring that your environment is always clean, eliminating clutter and rubbish, having a calendar and a schedule, maintaining your inbox and workload.
- Social Habits – being on time and keeping commitments, deleting people that you no longer want in your life and keeping in touch with those that are important to you.
- Productivity Habits – twice then quit (when you want to quit, push through twice then quit), stop procrastinating, planning, goal-setting reflecting upon your day.
In the beginning, habits need quite a lot of nurturing. It’s not just the simple matter of deciding to take on a new habit and going for it. You have to consider how it’s going to fit into your life and if it’s something you can do regularly. It can be exciting but it can also be overwhelming. It’s important to be logical and realistic when taking on a new habit.
”At its core, though, the practice of building habits is simple. We identify things that we do each day and we adjust them to make them a little bit better. We put our faith in the compounded power of small repeated actions, and we adjust our behaviour to reap those benefits.”
- Habits are something that we all adopt instinctively. A habit is a behaviour or activity that you do instinctively to save time and increase productivity.
- When done so instinctively, you can complete a task or activity without much thought in an almost automatic way.
- Although willpower can be built upon, it does have limitations and is not endless.
- Over time, a habit will be transformed from an action requiring significant willpower, to one that becomes automatic and doesn’t require a lot of thought.
- Without good habits, there are limitations to what you can accomplish both in your personal life and your professional life.
- Old habits, things that you’ve done for a long period of time are almost completely automatic and take no willpower, therefore you can have as many old habits as you like.
- Every time you want to introduce a new habit, you are placing significant strain on your willpower. For this reason, you are limited to only introducing a few new habits at a time.
- Where possible, never skip a day of completing your habit. This is particularly important in the early stages.
- The power of a habit isn’t in the individual execution of any day, it’s all about consistency and repetition.
- Forgive yourself for a slip up and celebrate your progress.
- Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses, these are the areas you need to work on.
- Understand your motivation for adopting any new habit.
- There are 6 key habits that you can take on: positivity habits, health habits, expansion habits, organisational habits, social habits and productivity habits.
- Rather than trying to simply give up a bad habit, try replacing it with something new, something that will improve your overall well-being, or increase your productivity and work.
If you enjoyed this summary then The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a must-read. Again, it’s ideal for anyone interested in training themselves to create new habits and rituals. This book clearly defines what a habit is and how we can shape, mould and change them for individuals, organisations and societies.
If you’re interested in learning more about habit making, check out 50 Positive Habits to Transform Your Life by Michael Chapman is a quick and easy to read checklist of things you can add to your day to improve your life by implementing positive thinking and actions. From fitness goals, mental habits, emotions, lifestyle, personal habits and developments, Chapman covers all areas of life. If you need convincing on introducing these habits, Chapman's book has great personal examples of why adding these simple habits has made his life better and what life would be like without them!
Similarly, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey explores a number of paradigms, principles and habits that can help you become more productive, whether that be as an individual, as part of an organisation or a business.
Guidelines is my eBook that summarises the main lessons from 33 of the best-selling self-help books in one place. It is the ultimate book summary; Available as a 80-page ebook and 115-minute audiobook. Guidelines lists 31 rules (or guidelines) that you should follow to improve your productivity, become a better leader, do better in business, improve your health, succeed in life and become a happier person.
- First of all, try to understand if you are someone who will do better at subtracting bad habits, or if you’re more likely to add in good habits. Consider this: in regards to health, are you more likely to go to the gym, or to cut out junk food? When you’ve established what you are better at, you can get started working on your habits.
- Ask close family and friends what areas of your life they think you could improve on or develop. Sometimes it’s a good idea to get a fresh perspective. Consider what they suggest and work on creating a better habit.
- Remember to start small, just introduce one or two new habits at a time. Give them a really good chance to become well-established before you begin a new one. It’s not a race.
- Try to commit to any habit for 30 days, try and complete the habit every single day, and if circumstances change and you can’t complete it, make sure you do it the next day. Never skip more than 1 day in a row.
- Consider checking out the Today HQ app, this is what I use to track my habits!
This summary is not intended as a replacement for the original book and all quotes are credited to the above mentioned author and publisher.