Book Spotlight: Atomic Habits — An Easy & Proven Way To Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Finished reading: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear 📚

Have you ever tried to develop a good habit (or get rid of a bad one?) I have. During the pandemic, I felt strongly compelled to develop a habit of “journaling” (to keep my mind sharp and to focus on positive concepts outlined in mindfulness practices …) Had I read James Clear’s Atomic Habits first — it would’ve been a much easier process (spoiler alert, I did develop a rock-solid journaling routine, now going on a year and a half — but it wasn’t without much trial and error).

This book is one of those books that is so chock-full of wisdom, I can see myself reading it (or listening to it on audio) every year or two. (It’s that good.) I think for me, I wanted to read through Atomic Habits because I wanted to find the best way to nurture my writing … I’ve been pretty decent (?) about writing in the past, and I do it because I love it. That being said, I haven’t been super-consistent, and I want to develop that bullet-proof habit of showing up everyday to write — regardless if I’m feeling “inspired” or not.

Well, I can say that this book is worth every penny (exponentially so) because it takes complex ideas about self-improvement and boils them down to tiny concepts — concepts that everyone can understand, if they only take the time to absorb them.

I’ve gleaned many gems from this book already, and I certainly can’t list them all here — but I will share some of my favorite quotes just to give you a taste of the vibe offered by Mr. Clear:

You have to fall in love with boredom.

Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way.

… and perhaps my personal favorite:

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

One of the major threads throughout the book is this concept of getting “1% better” everyday. What would happen if you got 1% better at your skill everyday? Thanks to the principle of compounding growth, you would net some super-serious gains within the next year. He keeps the guideposts simple, through four laws to remember:

  1. Make it Obvious
  2. Make it Attractive
  3. Make it Easy
  4. Make it Satisfying

… otherwise, the habits won’t stick! He’s simply using science and studies to remind us that no matter how great our willpower is — humans can (and will) take the path of least resistance. Instead of fighting that primal code, he nurtures it instead, and uses our physiology as a tool to set ourselves up for success (when it comes to creating good habits and breaking bad ones).

All in all, this book was a revelation (and a wake-up call) for me. James peppers tons of real-life examples and historical case-studies throughout the book, so you don’t have to take his word for it — you can just be awed by the stories of change, and let those stories light a fire underneath you. If you’re not ready to commit to a full book by Mr. Clear, I recommend signing up for his (free) weekly email newsletter to get an idea of the optimistic (yet realistic) lens through which he views the world.