Book Review: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of the best books I've read all year. Unlike other self-help books, Atomic Habits isn't just full of cliches. It provides sound scientific advice on how to change your behavior for the better. In this book, James Clear gives you the four fundamental laws of habit change along with dozens of helpful tips and inspirational messages. Here is what I learned:

First, it's important to understand the power of habits. Habits, or the things you do on a daily basis, make up the foundation of your success. It is the little things you do every day, such as waking up early, eating healthy meals, warming up your body before working out, training hard, listening to your coach, thinking positive, studying film, and going to bed early that add up over time to create great results. Having one great day full of good habits won't make a big difference in your improvement. Perhaps one great day will only make you .05 percent better. But if you're consistent, and keep stacking great days on top of each other, these small gains will compound. After years of practicing good habits, your improvement will skyrocket! This is the power of habits. As Clear says, "tiny changes, remarkable results." While this is exciting, it is also scary, because it also means that bad habits can make a big impact on your life over time. This is why it's so important to take control over your daily habits.

For most people, the power of habits makes sense. It's a pretty easy concept to understand. However, most people still don't give their daily habits as much importance as they should. They may rationalize their lazy behavior by saying things like "It's ok if I don't workout today. It's just one day. It won't make much of a difference. I can workout tomorrow," or "It's ok if I stay up all night playing video-games. It's just one night. I can go to sleep earlier tomorrow." It's hard to trust the process when you have to wait a long time to see results. This is why it's so important to have patience. If you don't have patience, it's easy to give up on healthy habits too early. If you don't see immediate results, you may think it's not worth it. However, as this book reminds you, it is worth it! The little things you do now will eventually make a difference. It's not a matter of if, but when. 

For me, this was one of the best things I got from this book. It gave me a sense of peace and motivation, knowing that if I just trust the process and stay committed to small, positive habits every day, my hard work will pay off eventually!

Another great lesson I learned from this book is the relationship between success, discipline, and habits. Success isn't just about self-control, grit, and disciple. Neither is success just about mindless, automatic habits. Success requires both discipline and habits. More specifically, success requires that you have the discipline to design your environment and maintain your habits until they become more ingrained into your brain. The most successful people don't grind their teeth all day long. Instead, they use their willpower strategically to form great habits that propel them to success!

However, the wisdom and inspiration you find in this book isn't enough to create real change. You also need to learn the science behind habit formation. Fortunately, this book gives you many practical tips that are easy to understand and apply to your life.

Here are the four components of habits:

  1. Cue (noticing)
  2. Craving (wanting)
  3. Response (doing)
  4. Reward (liking)

Once you understand how habits work, you can re-engineer the habit formation process to create good habits and break bad habits. You can do this by following the four laws of behavior change:

  1. Make the cue obvious.
  2. Make the craving attractive.
  3. Make the response easy.
  4. Make the reward satisfying.

These four laws of behavior change can be inverted to help break bad habits:

  1.  Make the cue invisible.
  2.  Make the craving unattractive.
  3. Make the response difficult.
  4. Make the reward unsatisfying.

These four laws of behavior change can be applied to every habit you do, big or small. By making your good habits more obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying, you can greatly improve the chances of sticking with them for the long term.

Here are some tips to help make the cues for good habits more obvious:

Plan ahead and choose the specific time and place that you want to do a positive habit. Once this time arrives and you're in this place, you'll remember to do this habit.

Use the habit stacking technique. This means to do your new habit right after you do an existing habit. For example, you can plan to do five push-ups after you turn the shower knob on. This obvious cue helps remind you to do your new habit.

Change your environment to make the cues for your positive habits obvious and visible. For example, you can put fruit on the middle of the table to help remind you to eat them for breakfast. 

Here are some tips to help make your habits more attractive:

Put yourself in a culture where positive habits are normal. By surrounding yourself with positive, motivated people, you'll be more likely to do what they do (since you want to fit in).

Think of your habits as opportunities to improve rather than burdens. Highlighting all of the benefits of your positive habits helps give you the motivation to do them. Also, remind yourself how your habits will help you succeed and stand out among your peers.

Make your habits more enjoyable by doing something you like while doing your habit. For example, you can listen to your favorite music while running on the treadmill.

Here are some tips to make your habits easier:

Prepare your workout clothes/equipment the night before a workout. This makes it easier to get started in the morning.

Make the start of your habit as easy as possible. For example, make it your goal at first to just write one sentence. Once you complete this easy goal, you may gain the motivation to keep writing.

Here are some tips to make your habits more satisfying:

Reward yourself whenever you complete your habit. For example, you can allow yourself to have dessert after a long, productive day. This can help motivate you to get through the next day, knowing you can reward yourself with something pleasurable afterwards.

Use a habit tracker. This means to simply keep track of your habits and your progress. For example, after every day of watching film, you can mark an X on a calendar. Seeing a visual cue of your progress can help give your the motivation to keep going.

Find an accountability partner. Whenever you fail to do your good habit, allow your accountability partner to punish you in some way. This can greatly help motivate you to stay consistent.

If you want to learn more practical tips and motivational tools to improve your daily habits, then you need to read this book! I highly recommended this book to anyone trying to improve themselves and reach their biggest goals!

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