Atomic Habits is a New York bestseller written by James Clear about building good habits and breaking bad ones. I picked up the book after someone recommended it to me and after reading it, I’m glad that I did. While it’s a “self-help” book, I found it very practical because he uses scientific knowledge to explain how we create and build habits.
The book itself is broken into 5 parts, the fundamentals, and the three laws. In each chapter, James Clear fleshes out each one of his ideas and goes deep into the actionable steps we can take to make remarkable changes in our lives with small habits. In each chapter, he uses anecdotes to convey and solidify his message.
In Atomic Habits, Clear says that there are three layers of behavior change. They are:
- Changing your outcomes – the results that you get.
- Changing your process – the things that you do.
- Changing your identify – what you believe.
Most people focus on creating habits based on outcomes, or what they want to achieve. However, it is better to create habits based on who you want to become. When a habit becomes part of your identity, the more permanent it becomes.
How do you create good habits? In Atomic Habits, James Clear says to create a good habit you must:
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
— “Professionals stick to the plan; amateurs let life get in the way.”
— “You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.”
— “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.”
— “All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision.”
— “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
My key takeaway:
What resonated with me the most is the fact that many millennials, especially in today’s social media age, want and expect their goals to come to fruition quickly. When we say we want to lose 50 pounds, we expect that to happen in 2 weeks with the most insignificant amount of exercise. When we say we want to master cooking, we expect to be a 5 star chef within a day. We say we want to be an A student, but we study every blue moon.
Simply put, sometimes our expectations don’t match up to our actions – but that’s where habits come in. James Clear emphasizes that even the biggest change that we want to make in our lives must start with small, tangible habits. These habits may not seem significant at first, but it’s best to start small and use them as building blocks.
While this book has information that’s been said before, it gave me a different perspective. You see, everything that we do on a daily basis boils down to a habit – good or bad. The time that we wake up, the way we tie our shoes, the need to watch Netflix right before bed. Regardless of whether it’s good or bad, the habits we practice determine the life that we will live.
Whether or not you decide to read the book, I encourage you to take inventory of the habits you practice daily. Are they building the life that you desire or are they taking you further away from it? Change your habits, and you’ll change your life. After all, habits are atomic.