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  • Writer's pictureAnderson Petergeorge

Atomic Habits - James Clear


Overview

Delves into the science of habit formation and offers actionable strategies for creating lasting positive changes in our lives. The book emphasizes the significance of small, incremental adjustments, or "atomic habits," and how they can compound over time to lead to remarkable personal transformation. With insights on habit cues, cravings, responses, and rewards, this book provides a comprehensive guide to breaking bad habits, building good ones, and achieving lasting success in various aspects of life.


Notes

  • Habits similar to money work like compounding interest and bad habit can compound like this too

  • Success is determined by daily habits not just once in a life time large changes

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

  • Power of habit becomes the most powerful when its part of your identity. It’s not that you want this, it is that you are this. “I am someone who meditates daily”

    • However remember the opposite don’t identify as a bad habit “I am a smoker”

    • You may start a habit due to motivation but you will only stick to it if it becomes you identity. “I kept with yoga because I am a yoga teacher”

  • Feedback loops - your identity shapes your habits and your habit shapes your identity

  • Habits free up cognitive load on your mind as you are able to execute subconsciously and without using willpower allowing you to save that for other things

  • Building habits let’s your worry less about the present and be able to plan towards the future

  • Que , craving, response and rewards - the 4 Steps of creating a habit

  • Create a habit score card by mapping out your day and putting positive, neutral and negative on your habits. Eg. Mediating is positive, getting dressed is neutral, checking phone immediately is negative

    • To determine if it’s a good or bad habit ask yourself is this habit working towards the behaviour of my desired identity

    • If you are about to do a bad habit just say it out loud. Just that act of saying it can cause mine you that it is a bad habit. Eg “I’m about to eat this donut that I don’t really need to do right now”

    • Also saying positive habits out loud “I need to go to the gym tomorrow and workout legs” can help you visualize and manifest what you need to do

  • Research had three groups 1. Given a motivation video on working out 2. Given the motivational video but also explained the health benefits of working out 3. Motivational video, health benefits but also asked to create a tangible plan on how they were going to work mount in the week and when.

    • There was no change in first group, there was 50% of ppl in second group worked out and 90% of the ppl in the third group. Showing that making a plan and visualizing when you are going to do it leads to actually it happening. This is called implementation intention - make sure to set one for habits you want to create


  • Time and location are the best cues so make sure to set those in your implementation intention

    • Eg. “ I will meditate at 9am for 10 minutes on my couch”

  • When buildings new habit use habit stacking to be able to leverage the behaviour of existing habits to do new ones

  • Remember to choose the time in your day you would be most successful to do it. No point scheduling it during a time that’s too hectic

  • Specificity is key - saying you are going to “eat better” is not enough you need to be specific on how to avoid ambiguity and failure

  • Remember to create obvious visual cues for habits you want to create. Studies shows for houses that had their electrical meter in the house they used electricity way less than those that had it in the basement because the visual cue was there. If you keep junk food out the cue will be there for you to eat it. If you keep your books out you’ll have a visual cue to read it or write in it

  • If you want to take your vitamins each night put them beside your faucet at night

  • Try using multiple cues to help build habits as well

  • Want to be more creative? Try moving from your daily work spot that you do your regular tasks. Try a new environment to change up your habit cue

  • Try to create one area for one use

  • Make the cue of your good habits visible and the cues of your bad habits invisible (eg unplug gaming console after each use, or put phone in a different room at night)

  • Desire uses more part of your brain than liking something. If we can tap into controlling our desire we can force ourselves to do incredible things

  • Temptation habits - do habits that’s hard to do with habits you like to do. If you need to clean the bathroom then you can then enjoy a beverage or listen to an audio book while doing it

  • We use behaviours and habits as a way to fit in with those around us. If everyone around us wearing fancy suits then we will want to wear fancy suits. If everyone you are with meditates then you will meditate as well

  • Studies showed that if you had a friend that was obese over a longitudinal study across 20 years you have a 57% higher chance to be obese as well

  • Those in the early age that surround themselves with people with a higher IQ were then tested to have a higher IQ later

  • Key is to join a community where your desired behaviour is normal behaviour. Your culture is what sets your expectation to what is normal

  • What we are trying to solve with our habits is engrained in human behaviour. Seeking, support, love and prestige. For example playing video games could be a way for you to seek prestige. How we try to accomplish these human needs is just different based on where we are in human history

  • Remember to do more action then motion. It’s best to get your reps in then to just prepare for it. Eg watching videos on the topic vs doing the actual action

  • If you want to use your phone less break the habit and put it in another room ****

  • Figure out gateway habits that are easy that can set you on a trajectory to do harder habits. Eg wearing your gym clothes after work can be a gate away habit to get you to work out.

  • This is a two minute rule find a gateway habit that only takes two minutes to do. Eg tying your running shoes or putting away phone before working

  • Start journaling by just writing one sentence a day. Try and tack this habit onto an existing habit like prepping my tasks for the morning with my coffee / watching YouTube highlights

  • Look for commitment tools to help box in your habits. For example if you are looking to cut down your food intake you can ask the waiter to box up half your food rather than saying “I’ll only eat half”. This reduces the opportunity for you to eat the full portion because it’s already boxed up.

  • Commitment devices can also be signing up for a yoga class at the start of the week. That way you have already paid

  • Try to automate aspects of your life that you can do build a habit. Want to save more? Set up an automatic payment to your savings account so your pay check automatically goes there

  • Visual tracking your habits is super satisfying. If it feels good you are more likely to occur. Try using visual cues to push to finish a course or to go to the gym. Bullet journaling helps so much here

  • Always try to avoid the second mistake. Missing once is an accident - missing twice is the start of a habit. Successful people aren’t once that don’t slip up it’s the ones that can get on track quickly

  • Accountability partners are super valuable as they motivate you and you feel as though someone is relying on you

  • The greatest risk to success isn’t failure but boredom. Try to work on things that can bring you into the flow state - things challenging enough but not too challenging to over stress


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