Books are a great source of knowledge. They provide us with new ideas and ways of thinking. Books are like our mentors. Why? Cause we can’t have Mentors such as Elon Musk or Robert Herjavec but due to the book they write, we can get a look into their lives, learn how they faced difficulties, managed competition, and achieved success.
The strategies they use, the techniques, the life lessons are all in one single book, which we can read while sipping coffee at home, sounds awesome doesn’t it?
Due to this amazing amount of knowledge books possess, the demand for books is unimaginable. I read books every single day as I know I am not the smartest guy out there but the least I can do is learn from the smartest in my field and study their pitfalls so I don’t make the same mistakes.
That’s why you should read books too, to learn, to grow, and to develop yourself.
Atomic Habits is a book written by James Clear which was published in the year 2018. Atomic Habits is a self-help book that takes a scientific and logical approach to understand how small habits impact our lives and how developing a few great habits and working on it daily for a long time will lead to higher productivity.
Book Review: Atomic Habits
Atomic Habits explains how to build a new habit with Habit stacking and Temptation Building. Achieve success by 1% improvements and get rid of our bad habits.
Author: James Clear
Here’s what the book say’s
Early in his life after his major setback, James realized that small habits done consistently can reap massive success. “The way to start was small”. This book will guide you and provide you with a step by step framework on how to be more productive and improve yourself to achieve success.
The guidelines provided in this book are backed up with science and logic to ensure you understand the process fairly well and use the principles appropriately.
What does Atomic Habits mean?
Atomic habits mean tiny changes, marginal gains, one percent increments which lead to huge results if done consistently. Small tiny habits completed everyday magnify your success. They help you grow into a person you wish to become.
The book has a lot of depth and information in it. So I’ll be going on some great pointers which I found helpful and I hope you find it helpful too.
1. The 1% Percent Rule
James Clear says “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis”
The one percent improvement says that first, you need to understand everything about your work, break it down into small easily achievable tasks, and improve it by just 1% every day. This can have significantly greater results in the long run.
Improving yourself by 1% every day will make you 37 times better in a year!
That’s surely an enormous amount of growth in a year.
2. Plateau of latent potential
If you take up a task, try hard but eventually give up, James says that if you just had to put a little bit more effort, you would have crossed the plateau of latent potential.
The example atomic habits gives is in reference to ice cubes
Let’s say there is an ice cube in front of you, the room temperature is 25℃ and is slowly rising to 27℃, 28℃, 30℃, 31℃; still, the ice cube does not melt. But when the temperature reaches 32℃, the ice starts melting.
This implies that in life we often try working hard till 31℃ and give up, not knowing that at 32℃ we could start seeing the results of our hard work. Once your efforts reach 32℃, people start describing it as an overnight success but in reality, it is simply taking a few essential steps daily in order to achieve massive results in the long run.
Another example is that you head to the gym for three months but still don’t see any good results. You give up thinking that you will never be able to have a ripped body.
But only if you knew that consistently visiting the gym over and over again will eventually lead to greater results, and maybe an additional month would have gotten you closer to your fitness goal, you would’ve never stopped visiting the gym.
Success takes time and constant efforts. You shouldn’t give up just because you think you can’t achieve it.
3. Valley Of Disappointment
We often feel that progress should come quickly to us, that a task we begin will soon reap benefits for us. In reality, the results of our efforts are often delayed, not for a few days, but months maybe even years until we realize the true value of previous work we have done.
James terms the level of disappointment faced by us when we don’t get results as the valley of disappointment.
Focus on systems
He says that instead of focusing on goals, focus on systems. Goals are your end results for example – I want to be fit and healthy. Whereas a system is a process on how to achieve the goal more systematically and smartly.
Having a goal is great, but it might confuse you; instead, have a predefined system; this will keep you in track with your path to achieve your goals.
Are you becoming the type of person you want to become? Have you improved yourself by 1% today? Asking questions like these trigger your mind into thinking – what qualities should a person possess if he wants to find success in a particular field. Once you get the answers to that, you need to start taking small actions every day to possess those qualities. It’s that simple!
4. Build a positive atmosphere
Try to say everything in a positive manner. Don’t say things like, I get tired of going to the gym, instead say the gym builds strength and endurance which makes me more active.
Don’t tell your mom that chores are boring, rather say that chores help me burn fat which makes me healthy.
Saving money is nothing but sacrificing your life, instead say that living below your means today will ensure your future means are well-taken care off.
When Habits get boring we need to figure out a way to get that excitement back or else the habit fades away.
That’s why most bad habits like drinking smoking and eating junk food never fade away – it gives us immense excitement every time. We need to learn how to be consistent with our habits.
For this, James Clear explains the following:
Four laws of behavioral change
1. Make it obvious
If you want to change a habit, but you act like there is nothing to change, you will probably not change the habit. You need to start taking action and realize that you need to change this habit right away.
2. Make it attractive
What’s more attractive – watching a movie or studying? Obviously watching a movie! This is because studying is considered boring but if you can change that by altering your studies so that it’s interesting, your mind will find it attractive and won’t procrastinate on studying.
3. Make it easy
The only way to ensure that you stay consistent is to make it so simple and easy that it doesn’t create any problem in your normal routine. The change should be so minute and smooth that you don’t understand how easy it is to do the task.
4. Make it satisfying
If the habit you wish to follow is satisfying, meaning it gives you a reward, in the end, you’ll stick to it. Ensure you use the temptation building strategy to make your task satisfying.
How to Break a Bad Habit?
1. Make it invisible
If you can’t see the bad habit, you won’t do it, simple as that. If you smoke, make sure you avoid seeing cigarettes anywhere you go. If you’re addicted to using your phone all day, hide your phone in your cupboard and do something, trust me you won’t get up to grab your phone.
2. Make it unattractive
A simple way to break a bad habit is to make it look unattractive and boring. If smoking is made to look unattractive and not appealing, you’ll observe that the addict will stop smoking right away, cause now it’s boring for the addict.
3. Make it difficult
The good thing about bad habits is that they are easily available to us. Your phone is usually at an arm’s distance, but if you can make it difficult to reach our phone, in time you will stop trying to use your phone. When I don’t need my phone for work, I always lock it in the cupboard in the bedroom, away from me.
4. Make it unsatisfying
If you make your task unsatisfying, your mind will immediately tell you to not do it again. Why? Cause you only want things which give you satisfaction. Other things are to be ignored. One way to make your phone unsatisfying is by changing the phone setting to monochrome in the developer’s options on Android devices. Looking at a black & white screen is very unattractive and you will keep them away for good.
The 2 methods to develop a habit:
1. Habit stacking
How to stack a habit over an existing habit to ensure you do it daily?
Let’s say you want to do 10 push-ups every day the moment you get up in the morning.
So your habit stacking will be
Once I get up from my bed I will brush my teeth and then do 10 push-ups followed by drinking water.
Do you see how you trained your brain to develop a path for your habit? Instead of just saying “I want to do push-ups every day in the morning” which seems vague and unclear to your mind.
2. Temptation building
Another strategy to get work done better is by using temptation building. This works by linking an action you want to do with an action you need to do thus ensuring that the fun stuff is done along with what’s important. Win-Win situation for both goals.
The gym uses this technique quite often. Cardio machines have a virtual reality TV in front of it, so every time you do cardio(need task) you simultaneously watch something (want task), it creates entertainment while working out. A great strategy now used by many companies too.
Now that you know these two methods
The book says combining them is even better
I will sleep for an hour and then go to the gym where I will do cardio(need) while watching a virtual reality TV (want). You see I used habit stacking and said that once I sleep, I will go to the gym and then use temptation building to build a reason to go to the gym( virtual reality TV).
Will Atomic Habits Make You A Better Person?
Building better habits isn’t about flossing your teeth, taking a cold shower, or heading to the gym each day. Habits help you achieve these things but they aren’t about having something they are about becoming something. Ultimately the habits you form help you become the type of person you desire to become.
We are so engrossed in finding the perfect workout, the perfect way to lose fat, we forget that taking action is what makes us better, finding the perfect way to do a task just delays today’s efforts. The only way you will improve is by doing something today.
The principles and guidelines mentioned in the book can be used in all walks of life: personal life, professional life, parenting, finance, fitness, education anything which includes your behaviour.
That’s what makes atomic Habits a must-read for every single one. It’s a great choice for Millennials who are struggling to do it all in their 20s, it’s good for parents trying to manage their child along with their finances and professional life.
Once you finish reading Atomic Habits, James Clear also offers you additional information which actually has a lot of really good ways to develop habits like how to apply atomic Habits to grow business, how to use atomic Habits for parenting, and so on.
So let me know down in the comments below which habit do you struggle to stick to and which habit do you easily adapt to?
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