Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Book information

  • Date read: 2020-04-26
  • Author: James Clear
  • Genre: Productivity
  • Rating: 5*
  • Goodreads page


A self-help book that’s not really a “self-help book”, and instead emphasises the need for constant small ‘effects’; as it leads to greater ‘effects’ (compounding).

Key points

  • Power of compounding, 1% better each day for a year, you end up 37% better
  • It’s hard to master because we’re used to instant gratification
  • The plateau of latent potential; we don’t see the outcome because we think progress is linear instead of non-linear
  • We shouldn’t have goals and instead systems
    • Completing a goal is only a momentary change
    • Need to change the systems that are meant to cause the goal
    • Once you’ve achieved the goal, what now? etc.
    • “The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game”
    • I.e. the goal at the end of a game of football is to win the game, but you wouldn’t spend 90 minutes looking at the score, The score takes care of itself.
    • The habit needs to become part of an identity

Four stages: cue, craving, response, reward

Four laws of behaviour change

  • Make it obvious, put the objects needed to carry out the habits, in a constant view
  • Put more steps between you and the bad behaviours and fewer in front of you and the good behaviours
  • Make it attractive i.e. listen to an audiobook that you like exclusively when you’re at the gym
  • Make it easy, the more friction the harder it will be to pick up the habit
  • Make it imminently satisfying, we live in a very high dopamine environment – Something positive after doing a habit