Key Takeaways From James Clear’s Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits is an easy to read book on changing habits with a ton of actionable tips. I had previously read Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habits.  There are some overlaps between the two but Atomic Habits gives you easy to apply steps to change habits and is more practical than the Duhigg’s book.

Here are my key takeaways from the book.

The Power of Compounding

Small changes add up over time.  If we can make small positive changes every day, and stay consistent for months, and years, the small changes will compound exponentially and will deliver massive results.

If you are cutting a tree and tree falls down, it’s not the last blow that brought down the tree, it’s the hundreds before it.  But you think that you are not making progress until the tree falls down.

Focus on Systems, Not Goals

Goals are important, but they are not sufficient.  Goals focus on the outcome, whereas systems focus on the process that will lead to that outcome.  If you have a system, you are more likely to succeed.

I loved this line from the book:

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

Change Your Identity

Focus on the kind of person you want to become.  Don’t focus too much on the outcome. For example, instead of trying to avoid cookies, trying imaging that you are someone who eats healthy and lives a healthy lifestyle.

Sticking With A Habits

Four Steps To Behavior Change

Make it obvious – If you want to play the guitar every day, have your guitar in your living room.  This way you are not looking for the guitar when it’s time to play.

Make it attractive – Play your easiest notes first.  You will look forward to practice.

Make it easy – Focus on the things that are easy and you enjoy doing

Make it Satisfying – If you picked a song you love, playing it will be satisfying.

2-Minute Rule

When you start a new habit, scale it down to a two-minute version. If you are trying to read before bed every night, a 2-minute version of that will be to read one page every night. If you are trying to build a habit of folding laundry once it is done, a two-minute version of the new habit will be to fold one item from the laundry basket.

To Improve, Join A Group

To become the person you want to be, join a group where the habits you are trying to develop are the norm.  This is based on the idea that we pick up things from people we hang out with – our friends, peers, and parents.

Make Your Habits Automatic

Research shows that it takes around 60 days to form a habit.  When you first start a new habit, you will encounter a lot of friction. But after a while, it becomes automatic. The key is sticking with the habit until it becomes automatic.

Also, try to change one habit at a time.  If you try to change too many things, you will be overwhelmed.

Track Your Habits

It’s key to track your progress as you are trying to form new habits to ensure that you stay on track. Journaling is a good way to keep track of your progress.

Bottom Line

The book is ideal for anyone looking to change or build new habits. The book contains dozens of actionable tips you can start using right away. The author does a good job of citing examples to drive home his points.

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