Title: Atomic Habits
Author: James Clear
Publisher: Penguin Randomhouse
Pages: 250 Pages
Difficulty Level: Easy
Atomic Habits: Book Review
Atomic Habits by James Clear is a one-of-a-kind book on habit formation and discipline cultivation. It explains how little yet undetected activities when done over a long time, can create a lot of change and make a big difference.
The book Atomic Habits focuses on making the readers understand the essential concept involved in correct habit formation.
The right way of habit formation gets generally divided into 4-parts. You can find a detailed note on that here.
Scientific research backs each section of habit formation, which is very insightful and helps the reader to understand the concept in depth.
The best feature of this book is associating yourself with a personality where the habit you want to learn is a common practice. Then the habit does not feel like an external pressure, and you are able to get the best result as well.
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If you are familiar with the works of Charles Duhigg and his book, The Power Of Habit, you will realize that much of the habit formation work of both books is based on the same principle, but I felt that the Power Of Habit was much more a technical book. It’s like the Boolean Operation. You do this; you get this.
There was not much mental model for the reader to follow. Like in the Power Of Habit, you will learn about the principles of habit formation, but there is not much content regarding the pitfalls you would face while forming a new habit, such as lack of motivation, lack of effort, and much more. Atomic Habits provides a good 2-3 chapters about the possible pitfalls and how natural they are. But he puts in the extra effort to provide you with possible remedial solutions which will prevent you from breaking your habit.
The author has done his best to provide you with a framework for learning a new habit as smoothly as possible, and I think he did a splendid job at that.
If you want to get this book for yourself, click buy from amazon.
I hope you will like this book as much as I have and share the concepts with others.
Atomic Habits: Book Summary
- Unleash the inner power by constant education and nourishing your brain with positivity.
- Understanding about your skills and where you lack them and improving them.
- Facing the fears to overcome hurdles in life.
Who Should Read It?
This is a book for everyone. Who does not want to build the right habits? This book breakdowns the habits into small segments and mastering each segment can collectively produce wonderful results over long duration.
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Atomic Habits: Top Quotes
- 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.
- When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running
- Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement
Atomic Habits Notes
1. The Surprising Power Of Atomic Habits
- Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. Getting 1 percent better every day counts for a lot in the long-run.
- What Progress Is Really Like: Small changes doesn’t appear to make any difference until you pass a critical threshold. The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed. You need to be patient.
- If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead. Doing something for the end result isn’t enough motivation. Your motivation fades away after achieving your goal. Instead of winning a race, focus on becoming a racer. In long run, you will end up winning the race because you keep on picking the habits that help you winning the race.
- Reasons to pick System over Goals:
- Winners and Losers have the same goal.
- Achieving a goal is only a momentarily change
- Goals restrict your happiness.
- Goals are at odds with long term progress.
- Reasons to pick System over Goals:
2. How Habits Shape Your Identity
Three Layers Of Behaviour Change: Behaviours can be changed at 3 Levels. Each change of habit will last according to the level in change occur.
- Layer Of Outcome: This layer is associated with the end result. The goal setting habit is associated with this level. You may achieve what you set out to do but it won’t be permanent. It was the need of the hour and you just did it. There is no guarantee that you will be able to do it successfully again.
- Layer Of Process: This level is associated with creating the right system and doing things efficiently. Working out in the gym and having the right system of habits to do it effectively is one of the example.
- Layer Of Identity: This layer deals with what you really are. If you are a writer, then your body and brain will automatically find the right system and goals for you to do things. If your identity is of a health enthusiast then you yourself are able to resist the temptations of junk foods and work out on fitness.
How To Change Habits Effectively
- The most effective way to change the habits is not what you want to achieve but what you want to become. Focus on your identity and you will discover the habits that you would want to become. The identity based habits will work outwards and all the habits get in synchronisation with each other. The habits you perform in this level are the one that lasts long as your identity is the most important thing. The habits you perform will give you pride, and where pride is involve. Not many things are able to defeat it.
3. How to Build Better Habits In 4-Steps
- A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic.
- The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of life with as little energy and effort as possible.
- Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop that involves four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward.
The 1st Law: Make It Obvious
- To learn a new habit, the cue should occur so easily and frequently that your mind can automatically relate itself to the habit.
- When you decide to change your lifestyle be picking up the right habits, you must make yourself aware about the habits you currently perform. Some habits are performed by the subconscious mind that you do not even realise the act.
- There are many method that can be used to making cues more frequent and more effective.
- Pointing-Calling method: This method involves calling out the things that you otherwise do automatic. Like, you want to go out for drive, you call out the things that you want to take with you. Purse, mobile, documents, etc. This way you will consciously think of the things you would need and not work in auto pilot mode.
- Many are unable to start a new habit because their planning is vague. To overcome this, use implementation intention which makes you state the time and the location of where you would perform the activity. This gives definiteness to the activity you wish to perform.
- Habit Stacking: When you associate a new habit you want to learn with an already performing activity, you make the habit a cue so whenever you do existing habit, you train your mind to do the new habit as well.
- You environment is a leading factor to your old habits. There could be many cues to a single task build over time. Learning a new habit in new environment is relatively easier than learning in old environment.
- Make the habit of good cues obvious in the environment.
The 2nd Law: Make It Attractive
5. A Teacher called Trauma 👩🏫
- The 2nd Law of Behaviour Change is make it attractive.
- The more attractive an opportunity is, the more likely it is to become habit-forming.
- Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop. When dopamine rises, so does our motivation to act. It is the anticipation of a reward–not the fulfillment of it—that gets us to take action. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike.
- Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do. Just like habit stacking. For example:
- If you want to check Facebook, but you need to exercise more:
- After I pull out my phone, I will do ten burpees (need).
- After I do ten burpees, I will check Facebook (want).
- We tend to adopt habits that are praised and approved of by our culture because we have a strong desire to fit in and belong to the tribe.
We tend to imitate the habits of three social groups:
- the close (family and friends)
We pick up habits from the people around us. We copy the way our parents handle arguments, the way our peers flirt with one another, the way our coworkers get results.
One groundbreaking study tracked twelve thousand people for thirty-two years and found that “a person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 57 percent if he or she had a friend who became obese.” It works the other way, too. Another study found that if one person in a relationship lost weight, the other partner would also slim down about one third of the time.
- the many (the tribe),
- and the powerful (those with status and prestige).
- One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where (1) your desired behavior is the normal behavior and (2) you already have something in common with the group.
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The 3rd Law: Make It Easy
- The most effective form of learning is practice, not planning.
- Focus on taking action, not being in motion.
When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behaviour that will deliver an outcom
- Habit formation is the process by which a behavior becomes progressively more automatic through repetition.
- The amount of time you have been performing a habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it.
- Law Of Least Efforts: Human behavior follows the Law of Least Effort. We will not really gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work.
- Create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible.
- Reduce the friction associated with good behaviors.
- When friction is low, habits are easy.Increase the friction associated with bad behaviors.
- When friction is high, habits are difficult.
- Habits can be completed in a few seconds but continue to impact your behavior for minutes or hours afterward.
- Many habits occur at decisive moments-choices that are like a fork in the road-and either send you in the direction of a productive day or an unproductive one.
- The Two-Minute Rule states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”
The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. Anyone can meditate for one minute, read one page, or put one item of clothing away.
- The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things.
- Standardize before you optimize. You can’t improve a habit that doesn’t exist.
The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying
The Cardinal Rule for Behaviour Change:
- The 4th Law of Behavior Change is make it satisfying.
We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the experience is satisfying.
- The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards.
- The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change: What is immediately re- warded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided. To get a habit to stick you need to feel immediately successful even if it’s in a small way.
- How to Stick With Good Habits Everyday:
- A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit.
The Truth About Talent
Our environment determines the suitability of our genes and the utility of our natural talents. When our environment changes, so do the qualities that determine success.
- Direct your effort toward areas that both excite you and match your natural skills, to align your ambition with your ability.
- Choose the habits that best suits you, not the one that is popular.
If you can’t find a game where the odds are stacked in your favor, create one.
Specialization is a powerful way to overcome the “accident” of bad genetics. The more you master a specific skill, the harder it becomes for others to compete with you. Many bodybuilders are stronger than the average arm wrestler, but even a massive bodybuilder may lose at arm wrestling because the arm wrestling champ has very specific strength. Even if you’re not the most naturally gifted, you can often win by being the best in a very narrow category.
The Goldilocks Rule
The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.
The real difference occur when you make a habit and still show up to do it even at the times of boredom. Nobody has an endless supply of motivation. It’s the attitude of showing up that matters.
After you learn a new habit, it doesn’t remain much exciting as it previously were. The motivation decreases and boredom strikes. If you fail to continue, the mediocrity strikes and you no longer are able to meet your goals.