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My Take-Aways: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

I read a summary of this book earlier this year and have incorporated some of the principles in my coaching and talks on goal setting.

Here are some of my take-aways:

Habits are, by definition, behaviors that we perform automatically, with little or no thought. If repeated every day, even the smallest actions, from saving a dollar to smoking a single cigarette, can accumulate force and have a huge effect.

Small habits can have a surprisingly powerful impact on your life. Our choices compound into major results.

Habits begin with a cue, or a trigger to act. Then comes our response, or action. The final step in the process is the reward.

Simple changes to our environment can make a big difference. Introduce a clear plan of action, setting out when and where you’ll carry out the habit you’d like to cultivate.

Humans are motivated by the anticipation of reward, so making habits attractive will help you stick to them. Temptation bundling is when you take a behavior that you think of as important but unappealing and link it to a behavior that you’re drawn to. So, if you enjoy watching Netflix commit to only watch while you ride your exercise bike.

If you want to build a new habit, make that habit as easy to adopt as possible. Focus on reducing friction. If you want to send more personal notes buy stationary with your return address already printed on the envelope. Buy a role of stamps designated just for this purpose and leave them all out in a prominent location.

Try the two-minute rule as a way to make any new activity feel manageable. The principle is that any activity can be distilled into a habit that is doable within two minutes. Want to read more? Don’t commit to reading one book every week – instead, start by making a habit of reading two pages per night.

Making your habits immediately satisfying is essential to effective behavior change. In the 1990s, disease in Pakistan plummeted when they gave away nice soap that lathered easily and smelled wonderful. Suddenly, everyone was washing their hands, because it was now a pleasing activity.

Create a framework to keep your habits on track, using trackers and contracts. For example, Benjamin Franklin kept a notebook in which he recorded adherence to 13 personal virtues every night.

If you want to read this book for yourself with lots of examples for application here is a link:

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