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Atomic Habits for the INFJ

uncategorized Apr 13, 2024

About three years ago I picked up a book by James Clear called Atomic Habits. It was a really strange title and at first I really didn’t know what to make of it – but, as an INFJ, it turned out to be one of my favorite self-help books.

James Clear puts forth the idea that by implementing small habits you can (over time) drastically change your life. He says that there are three main types of habits:

  • Goal Driven Habits – The kind we use pretty often. Like studying or working on something for an hour or two more every day in order to accomplish a specific goal.
  • System Driven Habits – The kind of habit that focuses on the “systems” that will get us to the goal rather than the goal itself.
  • Identity Driven Habits – These are the kind of habits that put you on the path to “identifying” as being “the type of person” who successfully does whatever activity is associated with the goal you are trying to achieve.

Identity Driven Habits

So, let me dig in a bit more on the Identity Driven Habits. Let’s say you want to get in better shape. You would start with a small habit that is easy to complete. Say, 3 push ups. So, you do these push ups every day and over time you’ll start to believe you are the type of person that works out regularly – a fit person. You’ll have a new identity.

Clear says implementing habits in this way is much more effective because if you implement a goal driven habit, then once you achieve the goal you will stop the habit. It’s much better to implement small habits and actually (over time) assume the identity of the type of person you want to become.

So, how does this apply to the INFJ?

Often, as INFJ’s, we want to change the world – like yesterday! We want to skip all of the small steps and just get right to changing our (or others) lives. However, we must realize that with most goals we have to start with just one tiny step. That first step turns into two, then three, and, eventually, the goal will be achieved.

Here is a great quote to help drive home this point:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


We also need to think backwards and reverse engineer our goals. Think about it, what is a very small step that you can take to get you closer to your goal? I know it’s hard to think in small steps, but starting small allows us to build momentum slowly and…

Avoid Overwhelm

Another problem I’ve had as an INFJ is overwhelm. I might start a project and then see 50 things that need to be done. I want to do all of these immediately, and if I don’t get all of them done I feel worthless. Then, I tend to start procrastinating and thinking “what’s the use?”

Avoid these negative thoughts! Instead start with less “to-do’s” and build up over time. Think of the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. Be the tortoise and slowly get things done – implementing great habits along the way. These habits, as Clear proposes, will slowly become your identity and the overwhelm will disappear.


As a final note, it might be good to keep our goals smaller and more manageable at first. James Clear recommends this in his book. For example, if you want to start a life changing non-profit that will help feed millions of people, you could start with volunteering at a local homeless shelter and learning the basics.

One example in my life is my YouTube channel. I started The INFJ Circle with a goal of 1000 subscribers. That was pretty lofty, but not too lofty. It kept me from getting too obsessed and perfectionistic. It allowed me time to learn the ropes of this particular niche and to help people all the more as I got to know them slowly.

Summing Up

Honestly, I’ve burnt out and procrastinated so much as an INFJ over the years. This is especially true for goals that were outside of my control or relied on people instead of just myself. I was motivated, but it all just seemed impossible at times. If you feel this way in your INFJ life then I highly recommend James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. I think it will help you immensely to get in the proper mindset for goal achievement and help to put you on the path to INFJ success!

If you want to help out The INFJ Circle (by giving me a small commission) you can purchase Atomic Habits on Amazon with my affiliate link here. It really helps out and allows me to keep growing the site and channel. Thanks and talk soon!


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