5 Key Lessons from Atomic Habits

by Aug 28, 2020

I love it when I read something that becomes profoundly a fundamental part of my book resources. This is what Atomic Habits has become. Our Planners on Purpose Book Club has been reading several books throughout this year, and recently we picked up Atomic Habits by James Clear and had a delightful discussion about its contents. So I want to offer you this book review to include 5 key lessons that I’ve learned from Atomic Habits.


Recognize Your Habits

When you think about it, your day is filled with many habits. Many times we aren’t aware of them because they have reached a level of autonomy. However, James Clear suggests to really evaluate your daily habits, in an effort to see if it is a good habit, bad habit or in the middle. Doing this exercise, allowed me to see what habits I need to work on or break. I suggest that everyone do this with their days, break them down, habit by habit to see what it reveals to you.


Understand the Habit Cycle

Did you know that the habits you create have a cycle? A habit is a routine or behavior that you do regularly. However when you break down a habit to its core you see that there are specific elements of the habit. Here are the elements:

  • Cue
  • Craving
  • Response
  • Reward

This is considered a habit loop. If you take all of the habits that you wrote down from the previous section, and really understand these four elements of each one, it will be eye opening. You have to ask yourself, what is the cue that enables this habit, what is the craving that you get from that cue, what is your response to the craving, and what reward do you get when you respond.


Managing Good and Bad Habits

Essentially the Atomic habits book gives you the groundwork to manage good and bad habits. There is a solution for each. If you want to create a good habit, there is a process and breaking bad habits ends up being an inversion of that process. James Clear makes it very easy for us in the four laws of behavior change. In order to foster good habits, or change bad habits into good habits, you have to:

  • Make It obvious
  • Make it attractive
  • Make it easy
  • Make it satisfying

I love these four laws create good habits, because it makes it so easy to execute. If you want to put in place good habits, just make it super obvious so that your response ends up be satisfying in a rewarding way.

For the inversion of this you have to do the following in order to get rid of a bad habit:

  • Make it invisible
  • Make it Unattractive
  • Make it difficult
  • Make it unsatisfying

This makes so much since. You have to really make the bad habit unattractive and so annoying so that you won’t do it anymore. If this doesn’t work, James Clear introduces accountability with someone that is close to you or even a habit contract where you prepare a contract for yourself that holds you accountable and provides consequences in the event that you continue in your bad habits. Really easy steps to ensure that you get remarkable results.


Start Small

Do you know that you only need to shift by 1% to make effective progress in your habits and in your life? Yes, it’s true. When looking to change anything or be successful in anything, it doesn’t take a dramatic shift. Actually it is better to start small and incrementally move towards your goal. This is explained as the 1% progress rule in Atomic Habits. If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you will be thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done. You are a product of your habits, and if you keep your habits small, you will get what you repeat and be much better for it in the long run.


Never Miss Twice

If you get off your game once and a while it is okay. The key is to never miss twice. Once you realize that you missed your goal, or haven’t done the good habit that you set up, make sure to do it better the next time.


I encourage you to pick up James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. I’m not paid to write this, it really is a beneficial book and you will have so many gains from it. It is transformative. I would love to hear what your takeaways from the book were if you read it? If you didn’t, what concepts will you apply that you’ve read here? Join me in the comment area for the discussion.

P.S. Check out the next book in the book club by going to the book club page now!


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