Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits book by James Clear. Setup and shot by Ishan Shanavas

Book Notes – In this series, I share my insights, ideas, and reviews of my favourite books, whose topics are wide-ranging.

Rating – 8.5/10

Book Compressed into 3 Points

  • Tiny positive changes (atomic habits) in your lifestyle will help you achieve life-altering outcomes.
  • There are simple strategies that allow you to develop good habits and remove bad ones.
  • Permanent changes are attained by establishing systems of good practices, not by setting goals.

Who is it for?

  • Those looking to build better habits and get rid of bad ones.
  • Those who want to understand the psychology behind human behaviour 
  • Those who want to rethink their life but do not know where to start.
  • People with large aspirations in life.

3 Favourite Quotes

  • Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. 
  • You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
  • Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. 

Insights

  • Through regular anecdotes from around the world, Clear reinforces the idea that tiny tweaks in conduct have far-reaching benefits.
  • The concept of 1% daily improvement: if you improve 1% every day at anything for a year, you’ll be 37 times better than you started. Conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for a year, you’ll end up close to zero.
  • It is your current trajectory that’s important, not the destination. 
  • Systems matter, not goals. Goals are only temporary. Systems stay for life.
  • There are three levels of change: outcome-based, process-based and identity-based. From these, Identity based habit change is the most effective, wherein you focus on identifying yourself as someone who performs your desired habit. 
  • You become the best version of yourself when you continually edit your beliefs and expand your personality.
  •  Habits contain four steps in a feedback loop:
  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward  
  • The 4 Laws of Behavior Change:
  1. Make your desired habit obvious: Place reminders of the habit around you. The environment should be conducive to your chosen practice.
  2. Make your desired habit attractive: Make the habit enticing. Anticipation of reward is powerful. Join people who emulate the desired habits. Highlight the benefits.
  3. Make your desired habit easy: Process must be obstacle-free. Practice, not just planning. Least amount of effort possible. Ritualise the process. Automate habits if possible.
  4. Make your desired habit satisfying: Make your reward immediate. It should feel like progress(X on calendar etc.). Have someone hold you accountable.
  • Pick the proper habit to progress in. It must be aligned with your natural abilities.
  • You experience peak motivation when you work on tasks on the edge of your abilities.
  • Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery
  • Be watchful not to overlook minor errors in your habit-building journey.

Review

Written in a conversational style, anyone can read and follow the instructions in the book. Some of the ideas the author puts forward are simple but surprisingly powerful. All age groups can read this. It is highly recommended, especially for younger readers.

It is a short book; it won’t take more than two weeks to finish.

This book made me realise that big dreams are entirely achievable. It just requires making small changes every day. Through the methods given in the book, I have been able to develop good habits and break bad ones effectively.

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Published by Ishan Shanavas

I am a young adult, interested in nature, photography, art and culture. An aspiring polymath, I share my learnings through my blog. I also include insights from my favourite books.

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