Review

This is a book that I found valuable as it helped me validate scattered thoughts from previous situations where I had managed to create good habits. Atomic Habits helped me find the connection between these thoughts. It also gave me a framework to rely on for future habits and changes I want to make.

What I Learned

  • You don’t have to change yourself drastically to achieve a result.
  • Make the habit part of your identity.
    • What is the type of person that I want to become?
    • What is the behavior of that type of person?
  • Make it easy to make the right decision in decisive moments. Make it hard to make the wrong decision.
  • Stack habits and downscale the routines. When you already execute on an action, it is easy to follow with another if the following action isn’t overwhelming and has too much friction.
  • Show up. Habits form out of repetition, so it’s crucial to keep going even if you think that results aren’t showing.

Who Should Read it?

I would recommend this book to anyone that struggles with sustaining good habits or breaking bad habits. Or have a general interest in personal development.

Atomic Habits Summary & Notes

These are my summary notes for Atomic Habits. They are slightly edited.

  • Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. A single habit forms out of behavior in four stages; cue, craving, response, and reward.
  • Atomic Habits refers to 1% marginal improvements that will compound over time into a substantial change that eventually will lead into a system with both good and bad habits.
  • Goals will help you set a direction, but a system will help you make succeed or fail.
  • Make desired behavior obvious, attractive, easy, and immediately rewarding. Undesired behavior should be invisible, unattractive, difficult, and unsatisfying.
  • New habits should be easy enough to complete in under two minutes. Downscale your habit into an actionable routine that triggers other behavior. Example: The action “Putting on your running shoes” is substantially easier to complete than “Running a marathon.”
  • Stack new habits with existing habits to get a current cue for new behavior. This is called Habit Stacking.
    • “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]”.
  • Stack habits you need with habits you want to reinforce the probability of completing the habit you need.
    1. “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED].”
    2. “After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].”
  • Tracking your progress can help you progress. Progress tracking can be effective in fulfilling immediate satisfaction. Try to keep the streak alive. Don’t break the chain! Never fail twice.
    • “After [Current Habit], I will [Track My Habit]".
  • Identity is the strongest driver of behavioral change. Identity can work for us or against us. Good habits can make rational sense, but if they conflict with your identity you will fail to put them into action. Identifying as a type of person with a wanted behavior can help us make decisions favorable to the person we want to become.
    • What type of person do I want to become?
    • And what type of decisions are this type of person likely to take?
  • The most effective form of establishing habits is through repetition.
  • Find ways to automate decisive moments to support good behavior. A commitment device, also known as a “Ulysses Pact,” is a designed choice that leverages you to make better decisions and avoid bad habits. The best way to lock in behavior is through automation.
  • Redesign and prime your environment to support desired behavior by making it frictionless and obvious to do the right thing. A small amount of friction will reduce our chances of completing an action. Add friction and minimize exposure to cues that trigger actions that cause bad habits.
  • Join a group where the desired behavior is standard. As humans, we imitate habits from the close, the many, and the powerful, and our desire to belong will help you align with the group.
  • Show up even if you lack motivation. When you don’t feel like doing something is the moment that you need to do it the most. Many habits occur at decisive moments that determine what your next decisive moment will be. Amateurs let life get in the way of progress; professionals stick to a schedule.