This Indeed is a Simple Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

An injury taught James Clear a valuable lesson, “changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you are willing to stick with them for years.”

He shared these findings in his blog until he signed a deal to write Atomic Habits. He said, “small habits helped me fulfill my potential. It will help yours too.”

This is what Atomic Habits is about – How small changes in your habits can lead to a compounding effect that will transform your life and a step-by-step plan to build better habits and break bad ones.

The book is divided into 3 main sections:

  • The fundamentals – Why tiny changes make big differences
  • 4 laws of Behavioral change
  • Advanced tactics – How to go from being good to being truly great

These sections are further subdivided into a total of 20 chapters excluding introduction, conclusion, and appendix.

Appendix shouldn’t be ignored. It has invaluable insights that talk about – lessons from the 4 laws and how you can apply these ideas in parenting and business. The latter is available in soft copy with relatable examples.

The book, vis-à-vis its purpose should have ended after the 4 laws but it hasn’t. It includes a section with insights that can be leveraged while applying the 4 laws.

For example, one chapter talks on Goldilocks Rule and argues stating, “boredom as the greatest threat to success, not failure and how can you use this rule to stay motivated.”

I picked this book to help me build and break the habits necessary to achieve my goals. 

Its content is backed with in-depth research and experiments in the field of – biology, physics, economics, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy. It includes references from – books, TV series, movies, quotes, and real-life examples of – Ben Franklin, Loss Angeles Lakers coach Riley, Michael Phelps, Steve Martin, etc.

The book finds its base from the 4-step model of habits – cue, craving, response, reward.

James argues that habits good/bad are performed through the same model and we need to use this to our advantage. The strategies in this book help you with it.

The narrative is – well structured, to the point, and explained with diagrams and graphs to increase the clarity.

Top 2 insights that amazed me were:

  • The mark if you are made for the task is not if you love the task but if you can handle the pain of the task easier than most people. When you are enjoying yourself when other people are complaining? The work that hurts you less than it hurts others is the work you were made to do.
  • Self-control is a short-term strategy, not a long-term one. We become a product of the environment we live in. Hence to break a bad habit, reduce exposure to the environment that causes it.

It’s difficult to choose my favorite and valuable chapter. I loved every chapter, learned a lot from it, and don’t regret the amount of time spent reading it. I ended up taking notes. You will find asterisk marks in the book which links to his blog for further references..

Your goals require you to build a specific set of habits. I’m sure this operating manual will help you with it like it’s going to help me

Overall, a great book.

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