Atomic Habits - James Clear

2 minute read

Atomic Habits

This book gives a framework to develop new habits and stop bad ones. Written by James Clear a productivity coach and speaker.

Why Tiny Changes make a Big Difference

Story of Dave Braisfolrd, a cycling performance director who transformed british cycling from ridiculous to top performers on Olympics and Tour de France. He decided to improve everything by 1%: the heater in the cyclists shirts, the color of the garage walls to see dust more easily, the food of cyclists etc.

Habits are compound interests of self-improvement.

Focusing on goals is hard and inefficient: the result of our efforts are delayed and the results have little to do with the goal we set and nearly everything to do with the system we follow. Also, achieving a goal only changes our life for the moment not in the long run.

You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.

The ultimate form of motivation comes when a habit become part of our identity. Ex: thinking like a healthy person helps taking healthy decisions. To change something about ourselves, we should from the beginning play like we already did the change and make it part of our identity.

Becoming the best version of ourself is about constantly improving/re-defining our identity.

Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to be.

Framework to Create a Good Habit

Law Action
Write down your current habits to become aware of them
Define intentions: “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]”
Habit stacking: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]”
Shape your env, make the cues of good habits obvious and visible
Pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do
Join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal one
Motivation Ritual: Do something you enjoy just before a hard habit
Reduce Friction between you and your good habits
Prepare your env to make future actions easier
Optimize the small changes that deliver outsized impact
2 minutes rule: fit your new habit in 2min (ex: 10 push-ups)
Automate your habits, invest in tech to lock in future behaviors
Use reinforcement, give yourself a rewards after habit completion
Make “doing nothing” enjoyable as long as no bad habits are involved
Habit tracker: keep track of your streak
Never miss twice

Framework to Eliminate a Bad Habit

Law Action
Reduce exposure, remove the cues of bad habits in env (ex: put the remote in another room)
Reframe mindset, highlight the benefits of avoiding bad habits
Increase friction / the number of steps between you and your bad habit
Restrict the future choices to the ones that benefit you
Get an accountability partner, ask someone to watch your behavior on a particular habit
Create a habit contract, make the costs of your bad habit public and painful