Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

The instant New York Times bestseller Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to...

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Title:Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author:James Clear
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Reviews

  • abigailscupoftea

    My 2019 girl boss recommendation. 💕

    “Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. Building habits in the present allows you to do more of what you want in the future.”

    This book has helped me build a more productive morning routine and I love it! ☀ Being a morning person has always been a struggle for me, but this book gives you very clear and very easy steps to create the life you’ve always imagined.

    When going through your daily habits, ask yourself, “Does this habit cast a vote for or agains

    My 2019 girl boss recommendation. 💕

    “Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. Building habits in the present allows you to do more of what you want in the future.”

    This book has helped me build a more productive morning routine and I love it! ☀️ Being a morning person has always been a struggle for me, but this book gives you very clear and very easy steps to create the life you’ve always imagined.

    When going through your daily habits, ask yourself, “Does this habit cast a vote for or against my desired identity?” Being more mindful about your day to day activities will open up so many doors. This is truly such a life changing book!

  • Hampus Jakobsson

    TLDR;

    - "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."

    - The best way of building a habit is making it part of your identity.

    - Make it easy to start: Habits are the entry point - not the goal. "Read 30 books" ⇒ "Read before bed every night" ⇒ "Read one page". Reduce a habit into a 2-minute first step.

    - Stick to the plan: "Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way." Don't be a "fair weather runner" if you want to run a lot.

    - Make it

    TLDR;

    - "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."

    - The best way of building a habit is making it part of your identity.

    - Make it easy to start: Habits are the entry point - not the goal. "Read 30 books" ⇒ "Read before bed every night" ⇒ "Read one page". Reduce a habit into a 2-minute first step.

    - Stick to the plan: "Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way." Don't be a "fair weather runner" if you want to run a lot.

    - Make it hard to do the things you want to avoid.

    Most modern "American self-help books for engineers or entrepreneurs" (it is a category for me) are too repetitive and too long. Atomic Habits is not! It does have the category-required set of stories of American (mostly men) who built a great habit and got to the top - but just the right amount.

    ----- NOTES -----

    *Identity*

    The three levels of change - the lower the more "fundamental":

    3. Outcomes = Your goals

    2. Processes = Your system

    1. Identity = Who you perceive yourself to be

    Make every action is a vote for what kind of person you want to become. Building habits is becoming the version of yourself you want to be. Habits help you to trust yourself.

    - Realize that "You don't _have to_ do anything, you _get to_."

    - Ask "What would a healthy person do?".

    - Ask "What feel like fun to you, but is work to others?"

    *Engineer it so that:*

    Things you want to achieve vs Things you want to avoid

    Obvious —————————————— Invisible

    Attractive ————————————Unattractive

    Easy ————————————————— Hard

    Satisfying ————————————- Satisfying

    For example: if you want to watch less TV - keep it unplugged - only plugin if you can say out loud the name of the show you want to watch.

  • Annie

    Before starting this book, write down some good habits you want to build and some bad habits you want to break. This book is filled with practical steps and examples. Yes, there are plenty of habit-building books out there (just as there are plenty of diet books but yet there's still more new books published every year). Plenty of people are seeking the right book that resonates with them. The key points in this book are:

    * Compound Effect - Very small changes over time will have a big impact.

    * H

    Before starting this book, write down some good habits you want to build and some bad habits you want to break. This book is filled with practical steps and examples. Yes, there are plenty of habit-building books out there (just as there are plenty of diet books but yet there's still more new books published every year). Plenty of people are seeking the right book that resonates with them. The key points in this book are:

    * Compound Effect - Very small changes over time will have a big impact.

    * Habit Building Techniques - Make good habits into routines; use positive reinforcements and other techniques outlined in the book.

    * Monitor and Measure - Keep track of your progress and improvements.

  • Kaytlin

    I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway yesterday and immediately settled down to read it. I am always very skeptical of self help books because they often do no get to the root of issues. This one did. James Clear's main arguments are that habits are the compound interest of self improvement and that your identify emerges out of your habits. So, you must expereince a shift in identity for your habits to hold. This made a lot of sense to me, but I do think that Clear should have addresses d

    I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway yesterday and immediately settled down to read it. I am always very skeptical of self help books because they often do no get to the root of issues. This one did. James Clear's main arguments are that habits are the compound interest of self improvement and that your identify emerges out of your habits. So, you must expereince a shift in identity for your habits to hold. This made a lot of sense to me, but I do think that Clear should have addresses deeper emotional issues and gave readers resources so as not to mislead them into believing that they can change their identity by action (repeating new habits) alone.

  • Mark Kater

    This book is what I expected "The power of habit" to be. Where TPOH mostly is a collection of stories/anecdotes, Atomic Habits actually goes over practical ways of implementing your own system. It's great! Here's to stop reading and to start doing... :)

  • Romanas Wolfsborg

    This is a dual review of two books about habit. Habits are important things in one’s life and there are numerous books on the subject. The classic book, a must read, is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Another two popular books about habits are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear, that came out very recently. Having read all three of them I combined my notes for the last two in this post. No matter what stage in life you are, it is al

    This is a dual review of two books about habit. Habits are important things in one’s life and there are numerous books on the subject. The classic book, a must read, is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Another two popular books about habits are The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and Atomic Habits by James Clear, that came out very recently. Having read all three of them I combined my notes for the last two in this post. No matter what stage in life you are, it is always good to review one’s habits and behaviour – these books provide a good framework for doing it.

    One of the habits I’m struggling with is to get rid of the reading of self-help books. Thus, reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and parallelly Atomic Habits by James Clear became a sort of a meta enterprise. Would these self-help books about habits help me to get rid of the habit of reading self-help books? There’s nothing wrong with the self-help genre per se. I believe, everybody should strive to become a better version of themselves. Evidently, there’s a lot of great wisdom in this type of books – many prominent figured refer to them when they tell the story of their success. However, having read tons of them, one would usually circle around the same known stuff and shabby ideas wrapped in different narratives and supported by different anecdotes. The trick here is to know when to stop and, actually, go out and do something by using the knowledge and inspiration gained.

    My own habit of falling back to self-help books is, obviously, grounded in the alluring products of the habit loop driven by the craving for knowledge on self-improvement. We can use the basic members of the habit loop – cue, routine, and reward – well covered in the Duhigg’s book and analyse the situation with the reading of self-help books. For this type of products, the cues (triggers) are everywhere, and who can ignore the wish for excellence? Then, the routine is easily carried out – the messages in those books are straightforward that doesn’t require a very deep thinking and reading between the lines. It just assumes the acceptance in many cases, and, finally, the reward is instant – the feeling of getting something very valuable – a digested wisdom and not seldom a bit of inspiration. It can be compared to junk food (which by the way is almost gone from my life thanks to this kind of books). However, my point is not to pick on this genre, but rather to stress the importance of not getting stuck in it, as in my previous point.

    Habit as a phenomena humans and other living creatures are equipped with is one of my favourite subjects. I strongly believe, in the end, habits defines us and our destiny. The subject of habit covers several interesting areas as neuroscience, biology, psychology, and more. The basic mechanics of habit system can be described through the theory of operand conditioning, a term coined by B.F. Skinner back in 1930. It is a technique of learning that occurs through reward and punishment for behaviour. Through operand conditioning, an individual makes an association between a behaviour and a consequence. A relatively simple feedback loop forming habits of an individual can be described in terms of drive, stimulus, response, reward with different kind of reinforcers – positive or negative.

    What was lacking in the model of operand conditioning was other influencers like feelings, thoughts, and, very importantly – beliefs. Moreover, human behaviour is so complex that factors as the environment and group psychology are of crucial importance when it comes to the habit science. Modern behavioural science takes these terms into account and they are very important in the habit theory. The authors of both books did a great job addressing these factors in their respective methodologies.

    Based on the early theory of operand conditioning, different models around habits and behaviour (in my interpretation, behaviour is a series of actions evoked by habits) are developed and fundamental terms are just called different names. Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit grounds his model on the habit loop consisting of cue-routine-reward parameters which are driven by craving. James Clear in Atomic Habits suggests his model consisting of four steps called cue, craving, response, and reward. These factors are systematically analysed by respective author and the steps how to build good habits and remove the bad ones based on these models are suggested. In both books I found some valuable and interesting points as well as good tips on how to keep one’s habits on the right track.

    As one can see from the parameters in each model, there’s a difference in the arrangement of them making some differences in application of the methodologies of habit treatment. Duhigg sees the term craving as a driving force for the members in the habit loop – cue, routine, reward. Clear suggests that craving is simply a second stage in his model of habit. This is the main difference, and I need to admit I haven’t put enough time to analyse which model is right – both make sense. We would need some deeper diving in relevant disciplines and get help from ontology of the actual things here. Anyhow, I tend to believe that a craving lies above cue, routine, and reward. Cues alone without craving are meaningless. Nevertheless, both models are very useful for working on one’s habits. Duhigg argues that the way of changing or replacing of habit is to focus on the routine parameter, or the response part according to the terminology or Clear. Clear gives a lot of examples on how the cue and reward steps can be worked on. I completely agree that even these parts can be influenced, whereas Duhigg argues that the most important thing is to focus on routine leaving cues and rewards unchanged. I believe, we can remove unwanted triggers. Like making the tempting things like candies hard to reach and out of sight, etc. This has been well researched in a very interesting work by Richard H. Thaler for which he was awarded the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017. Then, we can reprogram our brain to think about rewards differently – change the mode of them or reinforce the distant rewards requiring immediate sacrifice by some direct reward. Clear has a lot of good examples how to do it.

    Habit should be seen as one of the essential parts forming an individual. A brilliant quote by Margaret Thatcher shows the operational importance of habits: “Watch your thoughts, for they will become actions. Watch your actions, for they'll become... habits. Watch your habits for they will forge your character. Watch your character, for it will make your destiny.” If we put those terms it in a different order, we can see that habits are very important, perhaps more important than one’s thoughts, because they are operational tools defining which actions one will take and what destiny those actions will form.

    In summary, if you are somehow unsatisfied with any of your habits and would like to actively and effectively change them and thus become an individual you’d like to be, I strongly recommend both books. I would read The Power of Habit book first, this book is longer, has more stories, and has more research behind it. Atomic Habits book is easier to get through, especially after reading Duhigg’s book. Both books, as you might have guessed, are clear, easy to read and grasp. They will give you the right mindset to approach your behaviour and provide valuable tools to shape your personality.

  • Mehrsa

    This is basically reinforcement for Duhigg's books on habits. There is some good advice--get rid of obstacles, use cues of things you like to do with things you need to do (i.e., everytime you check facebook, do pushups or whatever). It's good advice, but nothing new or unique.

  • Laura Noggle

    Enjoyed this one much more than

    , as it's more to the point.

    Some great takeaways and excellent reminders. Each chapter succinctly summarized at the end, very quotable. Highly recommend.

    Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to break bad behaviors and adopt good ones in four steps, showing you how small, incremental, everyday routines compound and add up to massive, positive change over time (via

    Enjoyed this one much more than

    , as it's more to the point.

    Some great takeaways and excellent reminders. Each chapter succinctly summarized at the end, very quotable. Highly recommend.

    Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to break bad behaviors and adopt good ones in four steps, showing you how small, incremental, everyday routines compound and add up to massive, positive change over time (via

    ).

  • David Laing

    In an

    , the software entrepreneur Daniel Gross said something that I thought was very wise:

    In an

    , the software entrepreneur Daniel Gross said something that I thought was very wise:

    I heard this a few weeks before the New Year, and I got to thinking about which habits I might want to build or break in 2019. I found the perfect companion to this reflection in James Clear’s new book, Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Break Bad Habits & Build Good Ones.

    The motivating idea behind the book is that habits are the compound interest of behaviour. Get 1% better each day and you will rarely notice a change on any given day, but by the end of a year you will be 38% better than when you started (1.01^365 = 37.8). It’s often not possible or useful to try to quantify your skill level—maybe you just want to remember to floss—but the insight is that huge long-term differences can be born from barely perceptible but consistent short-term differences. Hence, atomic habits: pennies that grow into a fortune.

    Clear explains that all habits, good or bad, play out in four stages:

    - The

    . You perceive a specific signal. You see cookies on the kitchen table.

    - The

    . You feel a rush of desire for a specific reward. Your mouth starts watering as you imagine the chocolate chips melting in your mouth.

    - The

    . You perform an action. You pick up a cookie and bite into it.

    - The

    . You experience pleasure as your desire is satisfied. Your taste buds send gushing thank-you notes up to your brain.

    Each stage of this cycle is a lever you can pull to influence your behaviour. To build a good habit, pull them one way; to break a bad one, pull them the other way. This is the essence of Clear’s method.

    To build a good habit:

    - Make it obvious (the cue)

    - Make it attractive (the craving)

    - Make it easy (the response)

    - Make it satisfying (the reward)

    To break a bad habit:

    - Make it invisible (the cue)

    - Make it unattractive (the craving)

    - Make it hard (the response)

    - Make it unsatisfying (the reward)

    The book is broken into four sections, one for each stage of the habit cycle. Each chapter begins with a short vignette about a historical figure, and then dives into a related piece of advice. If you’ve done some thinking or reading about habit formation before, then you might be familiar with many of these ideas already. This was the case for me. However, even if you feel like you know the landscape well, I think you would find at least one actionable idea in the book. For the rest of this post, I’ll describe the ideas that I’ve implemented myself since reading it.

    One of the easiest ways to build a new habit is to attach it to an existing one. By resolving to start performing a new habit directly following another one that is already ingrained, you turn the old habit’s reward into the new habit’s cue; you make it obvious. After enough repetitions, the new habit is woven into your life.

    Last year, I developed a stable habit of doing push-ups and kettlebell swings after every 25-minute work block throughout my workday. When I read about habit stacking, I recognized an opportunity to use these existing habits as foundations for a new one: drinking more water. Now, every time I do my push-ups and kettlebell swings, I drink a small glass of water. I’m more hydrated than ever.

    In a study, two groups were asked to make to-do lists, but one group was given a small tweak that resulted in them accomplishing many more tasks than the other. They were told to write down with each task the time and location where they intended to complete it. They created an

    . This is another way to make a behaviour more obvious, this time by associating the action with a context that can be perceived as the cue.

    I’ve started writing down implementation intentions every time I add an item to my to-do list. Instead of

    , it’s

    . While there are still plenty of overdue tasks on my to-do list, this new habit of writing down where and when I intend to complete each task has helped me cross a number of them off.

    I first learned the value of this lesson three years ago when I lived in a tiny coach house in Welland, Ontario. I had always struggled to get out of bed on time, but I was teaching courses of my own for the first time and couldn’t afford to be late for class. So I came up with a solution. Each night before bed, I prepared my stovetop espresso maker and put it on the stove, alongside a clean mug and my phone (my alarm). When my alarm started ringing, I had to get out of bed and walk over to the stove to turn it off. Immediately, I would turn on the stove element and go back to bed for a snooze. Ten minutes later I would be woken again by the gurgling of the espresso, as well as the fear that it would boil over if I didn’t get up to turn off the element. My reward for getting up the second time was a fresh cup of coffee. Ever since then I’ve been completely cured of my snoozing habit.

    As Clear explains, priming your environment for its next use is a great way to make a desirable behaviour more obvious as well as easier. After reflecting on this, I’ve been experimenting with a few changes:

    - Pumping up my bike tires as soon as I get home from my evening bike commute. (This makes it easier to choose the bike as my mode of transport the next day.)

    - Repacking my gym bag as soon as I get home from the gym. (This makes it easier to go for a work-out whenever I feel like it.)

    - Filling up a big water jug next to my desk at the end of each work day. (This makes it easier to stay hydrated the next day. Note that putting the water jug there also makes my drinking habit more obvious.)

    - Placing a novel on my pillow after making my bed each morning. (I’m trying to build the habit of reading fiction before bed because I find that it helps me sleep.)

    I’ve used various habit trackers for about four years now, and I’ve just about settled on

    as my favourite. I define a list of behaviours, and each day the app asks me whether I’ve done them. The beauty of it is that I can choose the frequency with which I want to perform each task, as well as the time period over which to calculate that frequency. It’s like Andy Matuschak’s system of

    , minus a bit of smoothness and all the teeth.

    The most common reason that I’ve failed to hit my target frequency has been the size of my tasks—they have been too hard. For example, it’s often hard to find the time and motivation for one full hour of writing, so I would often skip that habit. Even before reading Atomic Habits, I had recognized this problem and made some changes, like cutting 60 minutes of writing down to 10. But Clear offered many more ways to break down a complex or challenging behaviour into a task that can be completed in under two minutes. Since getting started is by far the hardest part of most habits, I decided to change all my habits in TaskLife to 2-minutes-or-under tasks as a way of making it easier to spend time on the things that matter to me. Here is the current list of questions that TaskLife asks me each morning about my previous day, along with the frequency with which I aim to complete those tasks over a rolling window of 21 days:

    - Did you study at least one flashcard? (70%)

    - Did you read at least one page of fiction? (70%)

    - Did you write at least one sentence? (55%)

    - Did you read at least one

    article? (50%)

    - Did you play at least one chord on the guitar? (50%)

    - Did you write at least one sentence in your journal? (50%)

    - Did you go to bed by 9:30pm? (50%)

    - Did you send at least one message to a friend? (50%)

    - Did you read at least one page of nonfiction? (40%)

    - Did you walk through the doors of the gym? (25%)

    Lastly, the easiest way to make a task easier is to delegate it to a machine. As a data scientist, I have obviously implemented this one before, too. I’ve automated my health insurance payments, my donations to charity, my bus pass top-ups, my

    , my

    , and my rebalancing calculations in my investment accounts. But there are always more things to automate, and Clear’s chapter on the subject got me to reflect on what else I could do. Since reading the chapter, I’ve set up automatic payments on all of my regular bills, and on my to-do list (with an implementation intention!) is the task of setting up automatic monthly transfers into my investment accounts.

    In summary, I highly recommend Atomic Habits. If the topic of habit formation is new to you, I think this book is probably the best general resource you’ll find. And if the topic is already familiar, you’ll find that the book is a quick and engaging read with dozens of fresh ideas that you can consider implementing in your life.

  • Simon

    This book does a great job of laying down the framework of how habits are formed, and shares insightful strategies for building good habits and breaking bad ones. Even though I was already familiar with research behind habit formation, reading through this book helped me approach habits I’m trying to adopt or break in my own life from different angles.

    But the book suffers from the same problems that seem to plague all self-help books. In the chapter about tracking habits, the author shares an an

    This book does a great job of laying down the framework of how habits are formed, and shares insightful strategies for building good habits and breaking bad ones. Even though I was already familiar with research behind habit formation, reading through this book helped me approach habits I’m trying to adopt or break in my own life from different angles.

    But the book suffers from the same problems that seem to plague all self-help books. In the chapter about tracking habits, the author shares an anecdote about Benjamin Franklin’s habit of carrying a journal everywhere to track thirteen virtues. If you care to know more about that story, Franklin tried to make a habit of his thirteen virtues by turning it into a thirteen week course where he would work on a different virtue every week and track his progress. The author conveniently leaves out the fact that Franklin quickly found this method impractical and abandoned the project before getting through all thirteen virtues. There’s a lot of irony in including this anecdote in a chapter that talks about the importance of not “breaking the chain”. So while the author isn’t entirely wrong, I found it off-putting that he would retell this story in a manner that fit his narrative. This is a vice that is found all too commonly in self-help and pop science books that make you question the author’s intellectual rigour.

    Another criticism I have of this book is that it could have been even shorter. The last few chapters under “Advanced Tactics” that deal with the topic of mastery were the weakest in the book. While there is an obvious connection between habits and mastery, trying to tie in a topic as complex as mastery was perhaps too ambitious.

    The three star rating I am giving this book doesn’t reflect how important I consider habits to be. I completely agree with the author that habits are the cornerstone of your life. If you want to change your life in any meaningful way, the only dependable way I know is to build good habits. If you need convincing that habits are important, I would strongly recommend this book. If you are already convinced but struggling to adopt or break habits, racing through this book will give you some good ideas about how you can make changes stick.

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