Summary and book review of “Atomic Habits”: The majority of people try to change their habits all their lives but fail because they try to change everything at once. Through Atomic Habits, James Clear explains how to break this pattern, highlighting the importance of tiny changes, marginal gains or even 1% improvements, which he encompasses under the term “Atomic Habits”, to allow us to get rid of our bad behavior, develop good ones and finally become the architect of our life.
By James Clear, 2018, 306 pages
Note: This guest review was written by Brice – aka the “habit freak”- from the site, Feta Fitness, which aims to help entrepreneurs transform their relationship with food and physical movement to reach their full potential.
Book review and summary of “Atomic Habits – Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results”:
1. The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits
Why Small Habits Make a Big Difference
James Clear tells us that improving 1% is sometimes not visible but it can be much more significant in the long term, what he calls the Law of 1%.
Therefore, an atomic habit refers to a tiny change, a marginal gain, an improvement of 1%.
The idea is: if you can become 1% better every day for 1 year, you’ll end up 37 times better than you were at the beginning of the year. On the other hand, if you become 1% worse every day, you will reach level 0.
What Progress Truly Looks Like
To illustrate his notion of progress, James Clear takes the example of an ice cube.
If you place an ice cube in a refrigerated room at -15 degrees. As you gradually increakise the temperature of the room degree by degree. From -15° to -14°, the ice cube doesn’t move and remains intact. From -2 to -1, the ice cube still doesn’t melt and remains intact. In contrast, from 0° to 1°, the ice cube begins to melt. A difference of 1 degree has triggered a huge change whereas previously this increase seemed insignificant.
This comparison is similar to our habits. They often seem to make no difference until they reach a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance.
Forget the Goal, Focus on the System Instead.
The difference? Systems are processes that lead to the outcome.
Goals show you the right direction, but systems are better for making progress.
A multitude of problems occur when you focus too much on the goal:
- Winners and losers have the same goals
- Reaching a goal is only a momentary change
- The goal restricts your level of happiness
- The goal is at odds with long-term progress
If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem is not you, but your system.
2. How Your Habits Define Your Identity (and Vice Versa)
Changing our habits is challenging for two reasons: (1) we try to change the wrong thing and (2) we try to change our habits in the wrong way.
However, 3 layers make any change in behavior possible:
The outcomes refer to what we get. The process refers to what we do. The identity refers to what we believe in.
An outcome-based habit would be: “I’m trying to quit smoking”
An identity -based habit would be: “I am not a smoker”
The most complete form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes a facet of your identity. When your pride is involved, you fight tooth and nail to maintain your habits.
True change in behavior is a change in identity. You can start a habit out of motivation, but the only reason you will stick to it is that it has become a facet of your identity.
Good habits can make sense from a rational point of view, but if they come into conflict with your identity, you won’t be able to take action.
The 2-step Process to Change Your Identity
How to change your identity:
- Decide what kind of person you want to be
- Pick up “Small Wins” to prove it to you
Ask yourself, “What kind of person could get the outcomes I want?”
If you want to lose weight, it’s probably a person who eats healthy.
Next, ask: “What would a healthy person do? Would a healthy person order a burrito or a salad?”
The Real Reason Why Habits Matter
Habits are important because they help us become the kind of person we want to be. They are the channels through which you develop your deepest belief about yourself. You become your habits.
3. How to Build Better Habits in 4 Steps
Why Your Brain Builds Habits
A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. The process of forming a habit begins with a period marked by many trials and errors.
No matter what situation you encounter in life, your brain must make a decision. The first time you face a problem, you are not sure how to solve it. You simply try several things to see what works.
The feedback loop behind all human behavior is try, fail, learn, try differently. With practice, useless moments are erased, and useful actions are reinforced. This is how a habit is formed.
Habits are simply reliable solutions to problems that occur repeatedly in our environment.
The Science Behind the Mechanism of a Habit
A habit consists of 4 steps: Cue, Craving, Response, Reward.
What you crave is not the habit in itself but the change of state that it provides. Each craving is linked to a desire to change one’s internal state.
The cue is to notice the reward. The craving is to want the reward. The response is to get the reward.
We chase after rewards for 2 reasons:
- They satisfy us
- They teach us
Your brain is a reward detector.
If a behavior does not fulfill these 4 steps, it will not become a habit.
The Habit Loop
The cue triggers the craving, which initiates a response, which is associated with a reward.
These 4 steps – cue, craving, response, reward – create an automatic habit. This cycle is known as The Habit Loop.
Phases related to the problem:
Phases related to the solution:
The 4 Laws of Behavior
Whenever you want to change your behavior, you can simply ask yourself:
- How can I make it obvious?
- How can I make it attractive?
- Or how can I make it simple?
- And how can I make it satisfying?
4. How to Become Aware of Your Habits
The most surprising insight about habits is that we don’t need to be aware of the cue for the habit to be triggered. This is the reason why habits are useful.
It is also what makes them dangerous. Unless someone points it out to you, you may put your hand in front of your mouth when you laugh or apologize before asking a question. And the more you repeat these patterns, the less likely you are to ask yourself what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Over time, cues that trigger our habits become so common that they become invisible: the candies on the table, the remote control on the couch. Our responses to these cues are so deeply rooted that the urge to act we feel seems to come from nowhere. For this reason, we must begin the process towards behavioral change by developing our awareness.
The Habits Scorecard
Many of our performance failures are largely due to lack of awareness.
There are no good or bad habits, but simply effective habits. In other words, effective for solving problems. Any habit serves you in a way and that is why you repeat it.
James Clear then offers us an exercise to identify the habits to keep and those to eliminate.
Exercise – The Habits Scorecard
For this exercise, take a sheet and make two columns. The first column represents your daily habits and the second one measures the impact they have on your daily life. Thus, you categorize your habits according to the benefit they will bring you over the long term by annotating “+” / “-” / “=”.
5. The Best Way to Start a New Habit
The best way to start a new habit is to use the method “Implementation intention”, that is to say, to declare one’s intentions.
Implementation Intention: A plan set up beforehand to know when and where to take action. In other words, how do you intend to set up a particular habit.
The two most common cues are time and location cues.
To declare your intentions, simply complete the following sentence:
“When situation X occurs, I will execute response Y.”
People who make a specific plan to know where and when they will perform a habit are more likely to carry it out.
An “implementation intention” removes vague statements such as “I am going to play more often”, or “I should vote” and turns them into a concrete action plan.
Many people think that they lack motivation when they simply lack clarity.
To apply this strategy to your habits, complete the following sentence:
“I will do [ACTION] at [TIME] at / in [LOCATION]”.
Habit Stacking: A Simple Technique to Revamp Your Habits
No action occurs in isolation. Each action becomes a cue that triggers the next action.
One of the best ways to build a new habit is to identify a habit you are already doing every day and then stack a new action over it. This is called “stacking your habits”.
The formula for stacking one’s habits is:
“Having performed [DAILY HABIT], I will do [NEW HABIT]”
Here is an example of a morning routine:
Wake up> Make your bed> Take a shower.
Let’s say you want to set up a reading habit every night.
Wake up> Make your bed> Put a book on my pillow> Take a shower.
Unlike the implementation intention, which specifies the time and place to perform a given action, the stacking habit technique has the time and place itself.
Your cue plays an important role and must have the same frequency as the habit you want to develop. If you want to perform a habit every day but stack it on a habit that only happens on Mondays, it’s not a wise choice.
The first Law of Behavior Change is to make the habit obvious. Strategies such as implementation intentions and habit stacking are some of the most practical ways to create obvious cues and allow for a clear plan as to where and when to take action.
6. We Place Too Much Emphasis on Motivation; the Environment Is Often More Important
We often choose products not for what they are, but because of where they are.
If you go into the kitchen and see a plate of cookies on the counter top, you will take some and start eating them, even if you didn’t think about it before and you weren’t really hungry.
The most common form of change is not internal, but external: we change according to the world around us. Each habit depends on the context.
The more visible a product or service is, the more likely you are to try it.
Good news, you no longer have to be a victim of your environment. You can be the architect.
How to Adjust Your Environment for Success
Each habit is initiated by a cue. We are obviously more likely to notice cues that catch our attention. Unfortunately, the environment in which we work and live makes the transition difficult because it lacks obvious triggers. It’s easy not to practice playing the guitar when it’s stored in the closet. It’s easy not to read books when the books are kept in the guest room.
When the cue that triggers the habit is subtle or hidden, it’s easy to ignore.
If you want to play the guitar more regularly, place your guitar in the middle of your living room.
If you want a habit to become an important part of your life, make sure that the cue is obvious within your environment. The most persistent behaviors usually have several cues.
Make sure the best choices are the most obvious.
Adjusting your environment allows you to regain control and become the architect of your life. Be the designer of your world and not only the consumer.
Context Is the Cue
The cues that trigger a habit can be very specific at first, but over time, habits are associated with the entire context that encompasses the behavior.
For example, many people drink more in a social context than they would if they were alone. The trigger is rarely linked to a single cue, but rather to the whole situation: watching your friends order drinks, hearing music at the bar, seeing beers get passed around.
Our behavior is not dictated by the objects present in an environment but by the relationship we have with them.
The power of context also reveals an essential strategy: habits can be easier to change in a new environment.
It is easier to associate a new habit with a new context than to build a new habit in the presence of competing cues.
Want to eat healthier? It’s quite likely that when you’re shopping at the supermarket, you’re on autopilot. Try a new supermarket.
A stable environment where everything has a place and purpose is an environment in which habits can easily take shape.
7. The Secret to Self-Control
For a long time, cultural beliefs suggested that our bad habits were the cause of moral weakness. If you’re overweight or a smoker, you’ve been told all your life that you were so because of your lack of self-control and maybe even that you were a bad person. The idea that a little discipline would solve our problems is deeply rooted in our culture.
In reality, “disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in such a way that they don’t need heroic will or self-control. They are less exposed to tempting situations.
So, yes, perseverance, “grit” and will are essential to success, but the way to improve one’s qualities is not to want to be a more disciplined person, but to create a more disciplined environment.
You can get rid of a bad habit, but you will probably never forget it. To simply resist temptation is an inefficient strategy. It takes too much energy.
A more reliable approach is to address bad habits at the source. One of the most practical ways is to reduce exposure to the cue that triggers the habit.
Self-control is a short-term strategy that doesn’t hold up in the long term. You may resist temptation once or twice, but it is unlikely that you will find the will to override your desires each time. Rather than tap into your reserve of will whenever you want to do something good, your energy would be better spent optimizing your environment.
This is the secret to self-control: making the cues related to good habits obvious and the cues related to bad habits invisible.
8. How to Make an Irresistible Habit
The more attractive an opportunity, the more likely it to be habit-forming.
We have the brains of our ancestors but are faced with temptations that they never dealt with.
The Feedback Loop Driven by Dopamine
Scientists may know when a craving appears in our brain by focusing on a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
Without dopamine, the craving dies and the action stops.
Habits are dictated by a feedback loop driven by dopamine. Any behavior that is highly habit-forming – taking drugs, eating junk food, playing video games, browsing social networks – is associated with high levels of dopamine.
When talking about habits, the point to remember is that: Dopamine is not only secreted when you feel pleasure, but also when you anticipate it.
It is the anticipation of the reward – and not the fulfillment of it – that makes us take action. It is the craving that leads to the response.
How to Use Temptation Bundling or Grouping Temptations to Make Your Habits More Attractive
Temptation bundling works by linking an action you want to do with an action you need to do.
Ex: Group the action of watching Netflix (the thing you want to do) with the action of exercising on the stationary bike (the action you need to do).
You can even combine the strategies of temptation bundling with habit stacking and create a set of rules to guide your behavior.
The formula for habit stacking + temptation bundling is:
- After doing [EXISTING HABIT], I will do [HABIT THAT I MUST DO]
- After doing [HABIT THAT I MUST DO], I will do [HABIT THAT I WANT TO DO]
If you want to check Facebook but need more exercise:
- After taking my phone out of my pocket, I will do 10 burpees (need)
- After doing 10 burpees, I will check Facebook (desire)
The idea is to ultimately be eager to do 10 burpees because it means that you will be able to check Facebook. In other words, doing the thing you need to do means that you will be able to do what you want to do.
Designing a truly irresistible habit is a complex task, but this simple strategy can be used to make any habit more attractive than it would otherwise be.
9. The Role of Family and Friends in Shaping Your Habits
Attractiveness for Social Norms
One of the deepest human desires is the desire to belong. This desire from ancient times influences very strongly our modern behaviors.
First of all, we do not choose our habits from a very young age, we imitate them.
We often follow habits related to our culture without even thinking about them, questioning them and sometimes even without knowing it.
Thus, we imitate the habits of 3 groups of people in particular:
- The Close
- The Many
- The Powerful
1. Imitating the Close
The closer we are to someone, the more likely we are to imitate some of their habits.
Surround yourself with people who have habits you would like to have. You will grow together.
To make your habits even more attractive, join a group where (1) the behavior you want to adopt is the norm and (2) with which you already have something in common.
Nothing drives motivation better than being part of a tribe. This turns a personal quest into a collective quest.
2. Imitating the Many
Whenever we do not know how to act, we turn to the group to guide our behavior. We check the reviews of Amazon, TripAdvisor, etc.
However, this can be a disadvantage.
Most of the time, we prefer to be wrong and agree with the group than to be right and to be the only one to think in such a way. Our brain wants to get along with others.
If changing your habits means challenging the tribe, the change is unattractive. If changing your habits means integrating with the tribe, the change is very attractive.
3. Imitating the Powerful
We are attracted by behaviors that engender respect, approval, admiration and a certain social status. Once we have adapted, we begin to look for ways to stand out.
This is one of the reasons we care so much about the habits of very effective people.
Many of our daily habits are imitations of people we admire. We imitate the people we envy.
10. How to Find and Fix the Causes of Your Bad Habits
The Source of Our Cravings
Each behavior has a superficial craving and a deeper craving.
Some of our underlying motivations include:
- Conserving energy
- Obtaining food and water
- Finding love and reproducing
- Bonding with your peers
- Gaining social acceptance and approval
- Reducing uncertainty
- Achieving a prestigious status
Pay attention to almost any product that creates habits and you will see that it doesn’t create a new motivation but rather clings to the underlying motivations of human nature:
- Finding love and reproducing = Using Tinder
- Bonding with others = Browsing Facebook
- Gaining social acceptance and approval = Posting on Instagram
- Reducing uncertainty = Searching Google
- Achieving prestigious status = Playing video games
Your current habits are not necessarily the best way to solve your problems. They’re just methods you have learned to use. Once you associate a solution to the problem you need to solve, you keep coming back to it.
This is the case for smoking or running that can help with anxiety, for example.
How to Reprogram Your Brain to Like Habits that Are Difficult to Do
A quick and easy way to reprogram your brain and make a habit more attractive is to reprogram your habits in order to highlight their advantages rather than their disadvantages.
Take the example of physical exercise. Many people associate exercise with a difficult task that drains energy and exhausts you. You can also see it as a way to develop your skills and to grow. Instead of saying, “I need to run every morning”, say “It’s time to develop my stamina and run faster”.
The key to finding and fixing the causes of your bad habits is to reframe the associations you have about them. It’s not easy, but if you can reprogram your predictions, you can turn a difficult habit into an attractive one.
11. Walk Slowly, but Never Backward
James Clear makes the difference between “being in motion” and “taking action”.
When you’re in motion, you plan, strategize, or learn. These are good things, but they don’t produce an outcome.
Action is, on the other hand, a behavior that produces an outcome. If you’re looking for the best diet and reading some books on the subject, you’re in motion. In contrast, if you’re really eating a healthy meal, you’re taking action.
Thus, if you want to master a habit, the key is to start by repetition without worrying about perfection.
This is the first point to remember from the 3rd Law of Behavior Change: you have to do your reps.
How Long Does It Actually Take to Form a Habit?
The formation of a habit is the process by which behavior becomes more and more automatic through repetition. A habit allows you to exercise a behavior without thinking about each step, which occurs while the subconscious takes over.
Habits are formed according to how often you perform them and not how long you perform them for.
To create a habit, you have to repeat it. And the most effective way to repeat this habit is to respect the 3rd Law of Behavior Change: make it easier.
12. The law of Least Effort
Motivation is often said to be the key to changing one’s habits. However, the truth is that our real motivation is to be lazy and to do what is convenient.
Energy is precious and our brain is made to conserve it as much as possible.
Each action requires a certain amount of energy. The more energy it requires, the less likely it will happen.
In a sense, every habit is just an obstacle to getting what you really want. Diets are an obstacle to fitness. You do not actually want the habit itself. What you really want is the outcome obtained by the habit.
How to Achieve More with Less Effort
One of the most effective ways to reduce friction-related to your habits is to optimize your environment in order to facilitate actions.
For example, when deciding where to practice new habits, it is best to choose a place that is already on your way to your daily routine. You are more likely to go to the gym if it is on your way to work because stopping doesn’t add much friction to your lifestyle.
Ask yourself this question: “How can I design a world where it is easy to do what is right and difficult to do what is not?”
Ultimately, it’s about creating an environment where it’s as easy as possible to make the right choices.
Reduce the friction associated with good behavior. When friction is low, habits are easy.
Increase the friction associated with bad behavior. When friction is high, habits are difficult.
13. How to Stop Procrastinating Using the 2 Minute Rule
Researchers estimate that 40% to 50% of our daily actions are generated by habit.
James Clear says this percentage is much higher as it seems easier to continue what you are already doing than to start doing something different.
Every day, there are a handful of moments that have a dramatic impact. He refers to these small choices as decisive moments. The moment when you decide to order takeaway instead of preparing dinner. The moment when you choose between driving your car or riding a bike.
These choices are a fork in the road.
Habits are the entry point, not the endpoint.
The 2 Minutes Rule
The 2 Minutes Rule is: “When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do.”
You will find that almost all habits can be reduced to a 2-minute version:
- “Read before going to bed every night” becomes “Read a page”
- “Do 30 minutes of Yoga” becomes “Get out my yoga mat”
A new habit should not be a challenge. The actions that follow can be difficult, but the first two minutes should be easy.
The goal is to master the habit of rising to the challenge of each opportunity. The idea is that you have to establish a habit before you can improve it.
14. How to Make Good Habits Inevitable and Bad Ones Impossible
Sometimes success is less about facilitating good habits than about making bad habits difficult. This is an inversion of the 3rd Law of Behavior Change: making the habit difficult.
For example, if you tend to quit your gym, schedule a yoga session and pay in advance.
15. The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change
The cardinal rule of behavior change is what is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided.
The first 3 laws of behavior change increase the chances that a behavior will be performed at that time. The fourth law increases the chances that a behavior will be repeated next time. It completes the habit loop. But, there’s one catch. We aren’t looking for any type of satisfaction. We are looking for immediate satisfaction
The Imbalance Between Immediate Rewards and Delayed Rewards
In our modern society, we live in a delayed-gratification environment. Consequently, we can work for years before our actions produce the desired results.
However, the human brain has not evolved in a delayed-gratification environment.
Only recently – over the last 500 years or so – has society shifted to a primarily delayed-gratification environment. The world has changed a lot in recent years, but human nature has changed little.
We value the present more than the future. Usually, this tendency serves us well. A reward that is guaranteed at the present moment t is generally worth more than that which is merely possible in the future. That said, sometimes our bias for instant gratification is problematic.
Why does a person eat a lot when they know that it increases their risk of obesity?
Once you understand how the brain prioritizes rewards, the answer becomes clear: the consequences of bad habits are delayed while rewards are immediate.
Eating too much is harmful in the long run but tempting at the moment.
Each habit produces multiple outcomes over time. With our bad habits, the immediate result is usually good, but the end result is bad. With good habits, it’s the opposite.
An update of the cardinal rule of behavior change is needed: What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.
Fortunately, it is possible to train yourself to enjoy delayed-gratification – but you have to work with human nature, not against it. The best way to do this is to add some immediate pleasure to long-term habits and some immediate pain to those who are not.
How to Take Advantage of Instant Gratification
For a habit to last over time, it is vital to feel successful. The feeling of success is a sign that your habit has paid off and that the work was worth it.
The best approach is to reinforce this habit by using an immediate reward to increase the value of the behavior.
One of the solutions is to reverse the situation. It’s about making inaction visible. For example, if you are a compulsive buyer, open a savings account and call it “Travel 2020”. Whenever you decide not to buy, put that amount of money into the account.
The immediate reward for saving money for travel is much better than depriving yourself.
Ultimately, the more a habit is part of your life, the less external encouragement you need to continue. Incentives can create a habit. Identity is a habit
16. How to Keep Good Habits in Everyday Life
How to Keep Your Habits on the Right Path
A habits tracker is a simple way to measure whether you have taken up a habit. The most basic format is to take a calendar and crossout every day where you perform your routine.
Furthermore, “Don’t break the chain” is a powerful mantra. There are benefits to this practice, tracking one’s habits is:
This last one is the most crucial benefit of all. Tracking can become its own form of reward.
In short, habit tracking creates a visual cue that can remind you to take action; it’s intrinsically motivating because you see the progress you are making and don’t want to regress.
Tracking is not for everyone, but almost everyone can benefit from it, even temporarily.
How to Quickly Get Back on Track When You Shy Away from Your Habit
Regardless of whether your habits are deep-rooted, it is inevitable that life will get in your way at some point. Perfection is not possible.
Therefore, the principle to remember here is never miss twice in a row.
It is important to rise to the challenge during your bad days (or busy days). Days lost hurt you more than successful days help you.
No matter how you measure your improvement, habit tracking is a simple way to make your habits more satisfying. Each measurement provides evidence that you are moving in the right direction and a brief moment of immediate pleasure for a job well done.
17. How a “Guardian Angel” Can Radically Change the Game
Just as we are more likely to repeat an experience when the ending is satisfying, we also avoid an experience when the ending is painful. Pain is an effective teacher. If a failure is painful, we correct the situation.
The more immediate the pain, the less likely the behavior is to occur.
And the way to add an immediate cost to a habit is to create a habit contract.
The Habit Contract
A contract habit is a verbal or written agreement in which you state your commitment to a particular habit and the punishment that will be imposed if you do not respect it. Next, you find one or two people who act as Guardian Angel and sign the contract with you.
Knowing that someone is watching what you are doing can be a powerful motivator. You are less likely to procrastinate or give up because there is an immediate cost.
Advanced Techniques – How to Go from Merely Good to Truly Good
18. The Truth about Talent
If habits are consistent with your natural abilities, they are more satisfying and easier to do.
In short, genes do not determine your destiny. They determine your areas of opportunity.
How Your Personality Influences Your Habits
Our habits are not only determined by our personalities, our genes undoubtedly push us in a certain direction.
The conclusion is that you must create habits that work for your personality.
How to Find an Activity Where the Chances Are on Your Side
Doing an activity where the odds are in your favor is essential to maintaining motivation and success. In theory, you can enjoy almost anything. In practice, you are more likely to appreciate things that come easily to you.
How to Make the Most of Your Genetics
As long as you have not worked as hard as those you admire, do not say that their success is due to luck.
To sum it up, one of the best ways to ensure long-term satisfaction of your habits is to choose behaviors that match your personality and skills. Working hard on things that seem easy.
19. The Goldilocks Rule: How to Stay Motivated in Your Professional and Personal Life
The human brain loves challenges, but only if it is in an optimal zone of difficulty.
The Goldilocks rule states that human beings are highly motivated to perform tasks that are on the edge of their current abilities. Not too difficult. Not too easy. Just right.
When you start a new habit, it is important that the behavior be as simple as possible so that you can stick to it, even when conditions are not perfect.
However, once the habit is established, it is important to continue to progress little by little. These small improvements and new challenges keep you engaged.
How to Stay Focused When Working on Your Goals Starts to Bore You
The difference between those who succeed in keeping a habit and those who fail is that the former always find a way to rise to the challenge despite the feeling of boredom.
The greatest threat is not failure but boredom.
No habit will remain interesting forever. At some point, everyone faces the same challenge on the road to self-improvement: you have to fall in love with boredom.
Professionals respect their commitments; amateurs let their lives decide otherwise.
20. The Disadvantage of Creating Good Habits
Habits are necessary, but not enough to achieve mastery. What you need is a combination of automatic habits and deliberate practices.
To do this, you can set up a system for reflection and review.
This will improve your habits in the long run, as this system enables you to become aware of your mistakes and help you to think of ways to improve.
Finally, reflection and review offer the ideal moment to return to one of the most important aspects of behavior change: identity.
How to Get Rid of Beliefs that Prevent You from Moving Forward
At first, it is essential to repeat a habit to establish the identity you wish to embody. As you become attached to this new identity, these same beliefs may prevent you from growing.
One solution is to avoid making every aspect of your identity an important part of your personality. The more you let a conviction define you, the less you are able to adapt when life challenges you.
To avoid an identity crisis, it is essential to redefine yourself in order to preserve the important aspects of your identity, even if your role changes.
“I am an athlete” becomes “I am the kind of person who is mentally strong and loves physical challenges”
“I am the CEO” translates to “I am the kind of person who builds and creates things”
Habits offer many advantages, but the disadvantage is that this key can lock us into our patterns of thinking and old actions, even as the world evolves around us. Nothing is permanent. Life changes constantly, so you should regularly check to see if your old habits and beliefs are still serving you.
A lack of self-awareness is a poison. Reflection and review are antidotes.
The Secret to Lasting Results
There is a paradox in ancient Greek called the Sorites Paradox, which speaks of the effect that a small action can have when it is repeated enough times.
One formulation of the paradox is: Can one coin enrich a person?
If you give a person a pile of ten coins, you won’t say that they are rich. But what if you add another? And another one? And another one? At some point, you will have to admit that one coin can make a person rich.
The same can be said of atomic habits. Can a small change transform your life? It is unlikely that you agree. But what if you made another one? And another one? And another one? At some point, you will have to admit that your life has been transformed by a small change.
The Holy Grail of change in habits is not a 1% improvement, but a thousand improvements of 1%. It is a pile of atomic habits that stack up, each constituting a fundamental unit of the global system.
Success is not a goal to reach nor a finish line to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine.
The secret to achieving lasting results is to never stop making improvements. It’s remarkable what you can build if you do not stop. Small habits do not add up. They accumulate.
That’s the power of atomic habits. Small changes. Excellent results.
Book critique of “Atomic Habits”
I’ve been reading James Clear’s blog for some time now and I was looking forward to reading Atomic Habits. Atomic Habits is a continuation of these blog articles. He mixes theories, scientific experiments, concrete examples and especially gives a simple and effective strategy to follow in order to master one’s habits. James Clear has influenced my work as a transformational coach and has also allowed me to assert my uniqueness of being a habit freak.
Atomic Habits is written in a simple form, which makes it very accessible. James Clear writes as he speaks, remaining very concrete, concise and relevant. His techniques will allow you to structure your life so that your habits serve your interest and not the other way around. It also summarizes each chapter by giving the key points to remember, which makes it easier to memorize what he has just developed. It can serve as a cheat sheet, so you don’t have to keep referring back to the book to seek accurate information.
In terms of the content, Atomic Habits is very interesting because of the point of emphasis on minor changes to achieve remarkable results. James Clear puts forward a detailed strategy to change our habits that revolves around the 4 Laws of Behavior Change, which are to make the habit:
- Easy to do
James Clear questions our fears and false excuses (Ex:”I don’t have time”, “I’m not motivated”, “it’s too hard to play sports”…), and most importantly, he gives a concrete strategy.
If we put in practice the 4 Laws of Behavior Change recommended by James, we can keep a habit in the long run. My favorite is the law n° 1: “Making the habit obvious” and more particularly; “Designing your environment”. Indeed, after reading Atomic Habits, I realized how much our habits were related to our environment and that it was enough to change it or even “redesign” it in order to achieve our goals.
Atomic Habits has changed the way I see my life and my coaching.
I attach great importance to strategies and how to put them in place in my daily life. James Clear was able to fulfill me on these topics! Atomic Habits is not the first book I have read in the area of habits. That said, it is the one that has been most useful to me personally and professionally.
- I completely rethought my daily life by adopting the 4 Laws of Behavior Change that he highlights in his book. I became the architect of my life and not the bystander. Today, I have achieved very good results by focusing on the idea of “1% better each day”.
- I integrated the principles and tools of James Clear in my professional coaching. It enabled me to structure in a very clear manner the way I taught the creation of habits but also to emphasize the importance of tiny changes in the achievement of ambitious goals.
I highly recommend Atomic Habits if you:
- Want to change your habits by following a simple, effective and progressive method
- Are a busy person and want to have results without changing drastically and suddenly your everyday life
- Are interested in the area of habits.
- And are ready to trust a long-term strategy
“Atomic Habits” will allow you to take stock of your current habits and will especially give you the keys to get rid of your bad habits and build new ones while devoting a minimum amount of time per day.
If you have the impression of drowning in all the information available online to set up new habits and you have tested all methods, I recommend Atomic Habits to get to the point and follow a clear and effective method.
What makes Atomic Habits special?
Atomic Habits will help you to have a new look on your daily life by showing you that your life revolves around your habits. It will encourage you to change something that has led you to fail in the past: your state of mind. James Clear shows that small daily adjustments are enough to achieve remarkable long-term results, which could not be further away from the speeches based on motivation and willpower. Finally, he gives a turnkey method to transform one’s habits and become master of one’s daily life.
To use his words:
“There is no permanent solution. You have to always be looking for the best way to improve by another 1% “.
I therefore recommend the book, Atomic Habits. It is excellent; it can transform the way we approach change, and it reads very easily. A must-have for anyone who wants to effectively set up good habits and get rid of bad ones.
The strong points of the book Atomic Habits:
- Clear and concise
- Written simply, short chapters and easy to read
- Tools and examples based on scientific studies and the author’s experience
- A detailed strategy immediately applicable to everyday life
- Practicing habits is facilitated by techniques and a summary at the end of each chapter.
- The book stands out from books that offer quick fixes. He advocates tiny changes for remarkable results.
The weak points of the book Atomic Habits:
- I can’t find any
My rating :
Have you read “Atomic Habits”? How do you rate it?
Read more reviews on Amazon about “Atomic Habits”
Buy on Amazon “Atomic Habits”