Atomic Habits by James Clear 📔
Atomic habits is a book by James Clear about making small changes to get habits that can improve your life. This 📕 emphasizes the importance of focusing on the process of habit formation rather than the end result, and offers practical strategies for building habits that will help individuals achieve their goals. Clear draws on his personal experience, as well as research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, to provide insights on how habits are formed and how they can be changed.
The book is divided into 6 parts including a why section, 4 laws (make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying) and advanced tactics.
Fundamentals is made of 3 chapters.
Chapter 1 is about how tiny changes can make a big difference. In this chapter Clear talks about how systems are more important than goals.
Chapter 2 is about how your identity is a deeper core from where your habits come from.
Chapter 3 talks about how a habit is made up of a feedback loop with 4 steps: cue, craving, response and reward.
These steps can be further divided into the problem phase (cue, craving), and the solution phase (response, reward).
Chapter 3 also talks about 4 laws of behavior change and their inversions:
- make it obvious; inverse is make it invisible
- make it attractive; inverse is make it unattractive
- make it easy; inverse is make it difficult
- make it satisfying; inverse is make it unsatisfying
- 1st Law - make it obvious
The first law is make it obvious and starts with Chapter 4. An important point made in this chapter is the idea of pointing and calling which is used in Tokyo train stations to literally point and call out certain actions before a train moves along; this helped reduce train accidents.
Chapter 5 introduces the idea of habit stacking which is when you do one habit, another naturally follows. For example doing your bed will make you more organized and then you will naturally follow by organizing something else. Chapter 5 also talks about how to use the implementation intention formula like so: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].
Chapter 6 talks about how the environment is important because it can help you build new habits or reinforce bad habits.
Chapter 7 talks about how cue-induced wanting causes someone to be triggered to fall back into old habits. One practical way to reduce bad habits is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.
This practice is the reverse of make it obvious, as you make it invisible.
- 2nd Law - make it attractive
Chapter 8 talks about dopamine. Whenever you predict that an opportunity will be rewarding, your levels of dopamine spike in anticipation. Temptation bundling can be combined with habit stacking to build up new habits
After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]. 2. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].
Chapter 9 is about herd behavior
Chapter 10 is about creating a motivation ritual by doing something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.
- 3rd law - make it easy
Chapter 11 says that the amount of time you have been performing a habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it.
Chapter 12 talks about the path of least resistance and to prime your environment to make future actions easier.
Chapter 13 talks about the 2 minute rule - take out the yoga mat, instead of 30 minutes yoga.
14 is about one time purchases that lock in good behavior.
- 4th law - make it satisfying
15 says that We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the experience is satisfying
16 is about habit tracking
17 is about accountability partner
- Advanced tactics
18 is about Michael Phelps. 19 is about Goldilocks rule. 20 says to have a small flexible identity
The conclusion is that small atomic habits can make a big difference over time.
- My summary - overall I liked this book. To be honest I skimmed some parts of it (like the stories/anecdotes in the beginning of each chapter), but some of the concepts like habit stacking, small flexible identity, and the notion of cues/environments that help form good/bad habits are useful to me in everyday life. I think the book is a good read for anyone who wants to improve their habits.