Atomic Habits , By James Clear

The key takeaway from Atomic Habits is that the way to make big changes in your life, is to make small and easy changes that you’ll be able to stick with for a while. Focusing less on setting goals but instead creating systems is also mentioned frequently. The book has many really important points but in this post I’m just going to summarise the ones I think are the most important or useful.

  1. Getting 1% Better Every Day

Big goals can often be ineffective and can be too unachievable and diffcult for us to do anything about them. Clear even says that a 1% increase every day means a 37x improvement by the end of the year. This further proves the point that instead of always focusing on goals, we need to improve our systems so that we always have something to fall back on. If youre dedicated to making small changes every day it will always lead to you being successful at solving a problem or achieving something.

2. The Four Laws of Behaviour Change

“The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits. They are (1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying.” 

These laws help you make sure that the habits you’d like to start building are realistic but still have a purpose. If your habits are too small then the problem you’re trying to solve by building the habit, may end up not being solved. However, you also can’t make your habits too unachievable because then they’ll never become habits. The idea is that if you stick to all four of these laws then the habits you’re trying to build all have the potential to become successful ones.

3. Habit Stacking

Habit stacking is a way to combine your current habits with new ones that you want to start. You just take a habit that you already do every day and combine it with a habit that you’re trying to start doing every day. For example if you make a cup of coffee every morning but you want to start reading more you can try to read whilst drinking your cup of coffee every morning. Clear also says that “The two most common cues are time and location”, which means that you can also create new habits by placing cues in locations that you visit every day. For example placing exercise clothes on a chair that you drink your coffee in every morning.

4. The Law of Least Effort

“We will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work.”

If you want to make good behaviours habits you need to make sure that they’re the easiest to do. If you make good habits really easy to do, you’ll naturally be more likely to do them instead of bad habits. The best way to make good habits as easy as possible is to change and adapt your environment to remove anything thats stopping you from building positive habits. For example if you’re trying to stop yourself from unhealthy snacking, remove unhealthy food from your view and put only healthy snacks outside of the fridge.

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