The Book in 3 Sentences
- By understanding the habit loop (Cue ➡️ Craving ➡️ Response ➡️ Reward) and the 4 laws outlined in this book (make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, make it satisfying) you can create, remove, or shape any just about any habit.
- Humans are naturally time-inconsistent when it comes to what we value (i.e. we value the present more than the future, we value money now more than money later), which competes against the reality that habits rely on time to compound into greater future outcomes; your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.
- There are a ton of tools & tactics one can use to change their habits (some mentioned in the ‘how it changed me’ section below), however the two most important ways to make them stick are:
- Focus on creating systems (how you get to results) instead of goals (what you want to achieve)
- Focus on who you want to be (I want to become a reader), not what you want to achieve (I want to read a book)
I find that self-help books tend to get pretty repetitive at times in the messages they are trying to communicate, but I did not find that with Atomic Habits! Most of the ideas were unique in some sort of way and there were several real stories that were incorporated throughout to emphasize certain key points.
Just like every good self-help book, there were dozens of quotable lines, so I found myself going “Woah, so true” many times.
Who Should Read It❓
After having read a few different habit-focused self-help books, I would recommend Atomic Habits as a more practical tool for anyone who only wants to read one book on how habits work and how to get the best out of them. I’m not a big fan of being told what habits I should have in my life, as I believe that it's more of a self-discovery process that comes with time and experimentation, but this book gives very practical tools & tactics that anyone could immediately implement into your daily life to help make habits stick!
How the Book Changed Me 💯
How my life / behaviour / thoughts / ideas have changed as a result of reading the book.
- I really think about the importance of the environments I am in and how I can leverage them to encourage or discourage certain habits (working from home has come with a lot of different possible distractions etc.). A tool I’ve used for example is “Once I turn this salt lamp on, it’s concentration time”.
- One of my favourite quotes from the book that I think about all the time: “Rather than think of things you ‘have’ to do, think of them as things you ‘get’ to do”. A simple perspective change I use to get through tougher habits or tasks.
- I was so happy to read that cleaning up is actually a common response to stress, because we are subconsciously trying to lighten the cognitive load of our environment on our brains. I am notorious for cleaning my entire house when I don’t want to do something, so instead, I have focused on only cleaning my immediate work environment and worrying about the rest afterwards.
- Tools & tactics I picked up from the book and still use:
- I use the two-minute rule (implementing a new habit should take less than 2 minutes to do) when trying to implement new habits! For example, instead of saying “I will read my book everyday” I say, “I will ready at least 1 page of my book every day” and then from there, I usually end up reading way more of course. It’s more about the act of getting set up and start reading.
- I use ‘commitment devices’ that increase the odds I’ll do the right things. i.e timers, telling people that I will do something by a certain date/time, restricting access to things (like my phone).
- I use a daily habit tracker that I adjust every month based on what I want to be focusing on. What I have seen the most success in here though is to keep them high-level, because habit trackers can become counter-productive as you spend more and more time in the actual tracker itself. It should be a quick thing that you go in and ‘check off’ every time you have completed something. At the end of every month I do a success review.
My Top 5 Quotes 🗣
I’m a sucker for good quotes, so I’ve changed this to a ‘Top 5’ 🙂
- “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”
- “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become”
- “Perfect is the enemy of good” - Voltaire
- “We have the brains of our ancestors but the temptations they never had to face”
- “Being curious is better than being smart. It is desire, not intelligence, that prompts behaviour”