Atomic Habits

In this Atomic Habits book, bestselling advice expert James Clear provides a practical guide for breaking bad habits and developing new ones. 

Given the thriving market for business and personal advice, it’s difficult to single out one guidance that shines above the rest. However, James Clear is a great contender. Clear is a one-man advice industry, with over a million copies sold of this New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller – one of Fast Company’s Seven Best Business Books of the Year – a website with millions of monthly views, a for-pay newsletter, and his business consultancy, The Habits Academy.

His suggestion is straightforward. This is a manual – a how-to guide. He believes in a logical system for overcoming how today’s media-rich society has shrunk the human attention span and left you vulnerable to your own most irrational inclinations. Following Clear’s advice may help you achieve a state of Zen stillness. He suggests living more mindfully by replacing unhelpful behaviours with those that enhance your life.

Check out more about Zen from our summarybook: Zen mind, Beginner mind

Small Steps

According to this atomic habits book, continuous repetition automates behaviours, transforming them into habits. He also claim that most people try to change their habits by listing “what” they want. His alternative to this technique focuses on “who” a person want to become through the development of “identity-based behaviours.”

Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

JAMES CLEAR

People who take pride in their athletic abilities, for example, will develop behaviours that help them retain their physical ability and identity as athletes.

Changing a Habit

According to Clear, daily habits represent an individual’s identity. He reminds you that the desire for change is centred on who you want to be, and that making tiny changes helps you reach that identity.

Building Habits

When confronted with a scenario, your brain decides how to respond. According to Clear, when it decides to repeat the same conduct, the activity becomes the typical solution in that situation – a habit. Automatic, habitual performance reduces stress and “cognitive load.”

Genes do not determine your destiny. They determine your areas of opportunity.

JAMES CLEAR

Clear explains that habits are formed in four stages: “cue, craving, reaction, and reward.” Cues are activators, whereas cravings are motivators. Responses are replies that result in a reward.

Clear structures his advice around “The Four Laws of Behavior Change”:

  1. “Make the habits Obvious”
  2. “Try to be Attractive”
  3. “Be sure to be Easy”
  4. “Make It Satisfying”

What is a Good Habit?

Every habit requires mastery practised in modest, consistent increments until the activity becomes a good habit. This is foundational Clear: excellent habits become thoughtless, everyday activities over time.

Two Minutes 

While not particularly innovative, Clear gives an uplifting pep lecture. His excitement makes you want to get started right away and try out his dishes. Although Clear discusses the science behind habit formation, he concentrates on practical advice and provides useful examples to demonstrate crucial topics. He provides connections to further materials on his website, which includes templates and supplementary chapters.

Anyone who wants to make a change in their life but has failed to get started would benefit from this atomic habits book. It’s reassuring to read that an expenditure of as little as two minutes can be the beginning point for long-term improvement. Even if you already knew this, it’s comforting to know that the small, “atomic” things in life matter.

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