Okay, so in the series of life changing books, first we talked about The Alchemist. Today, lets talk about another one of my favorite books – Atomic Habits. It is life changing – one habit at a time!
We know our habits can changes our life – whether good or bad, Habits change lives. Whats difficult is to form habits. And this book, will help you with making and keeping good habits!
Atomic Habit by James Clear, is a book worth reading – at least a few times. The reason I say that is because when you read if for the first time, it works as an eye opener. You learn things that you did not know before, about Habits and how they can be formed. Second time, you’ll ingrain the techniques for forming good habits. And then, again to make sure you read everything that you might have missed – you should read if for third time.
In this book Atomic Habits, James clear tells you that if you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. In this book, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights – If you learn and follow the system.
Some of the helpful, simple and effective techniques you’ll learn in this book are Habit stacking, designing your surrounding to enforce good habits, overcoming failures, keeping track of your habits, and
I have read a lot of other books on Habits, including the famous Charles Duhhig book – The Power of Habit. The difference is, TPOH talks is more theoritical, while the Atomic Habit has practical, step-by-step way of making changes. TPOH will tell you to make change. Atomic Habit will help you make change!
Atomic Habits talks about taking small “atomic” steps, to build long lasting habits. Taking one step at time, and building onto it, with positive reinforcement, will give you a life long habit to be active. You don’t need to run 5 miles and then next day don’t have the motivation to go for another run. Slowly, steadily, build life changing habits. Change your environment and remove anything that is stopping you from keeping your habit. Add things that will help you to re-inforce the habit and remove things that pull you back. For example – remove the cookie jar out of sight, and replace with a healthy snack instead if you are trying to lose weight. Stack, or Sandwich the habits to remember and follow them – for example, after getting up at 6 am, I’ll do 5 pushups, then I’ll drink a glass of water. This way, your good habits are linked to each other and it becomes hard to miss them. Always reward yourself when you are successful in keeping your habits and achieve results.
Small habits compound over time, and they are barely visible at the beginning. Only after time can they build into a powerful system. We expect that when we improve slowly, the effect will be linear and that we will see the positive difference right away. It’s discouraging if we don’t see progress. However, progress is not linear. It’s exponential, and barely visible at the beginning. It takes some time to see results.
You must have heard of the “Be, Do, Have” philosophy. James Clear talks about the same, in a different way – to change your identity to change your habits. First you need to Be the person that you want to be, and then Do the things that this person (Identity) is supposed to do, which will result in you Having what you want to have!
James talks about the simple 4 step formula for Habit forming. According to the book Atomic Habits, there are four parts to a habit: Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward.
- Cue – The cue triggers the brain to a certain behavior.
- Craving – The motivation behind the habit.
- Response – This is the action to perform.
- Reward – It has two purposes, to satisfy us and to teach us.
One of the most interesting idea from the book is that if you want to make a habit irresistible, make it attractive! Many times we fail to establish habits because we see them as work – something that needs to be done. Instead, if we make them attractive, something that’s fun to do – you’ll make and keep those habits for long!
Here are some of the quotes from Atomic Habit that are worth a shout out:
- The goal is not to run a Marathon. The goal is to become a runner.
- You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
- The best way of building a habit is making it part of your identity.
- Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it.
- Make it easy to start: Habits are the entry point – not the goal. To get to Read 30 books, you should Read before bed every night, so start with Read one page. Reduce a habit into a 2-minute first step.
- Stick to the plan: “Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way.”
- Don’t be a “fair weather runner” if you want to run a lot.
- Make it hard to do the things you want to avoid.
- Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. you’ll rise together.
To increase the odds that you will establish a new habit, you should make it as easy as possible. Create an environment that will help you perform the action. Every action requires some amount of energy. So reducing the energy required will increase the chances that you will complete the new action.
In essence, if you are ready to make tiny changes, using these strategies you’ll see remarkable results. Atomic Habits by James Clear is an easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones!