“Atomic Habits” by James Clear [Book Analysis]
“It’s remarkable the knowledge you can build if you don’t stop learning.”
— James Clear
Hi and welcome to this brand new series of post! Around 6 months ago, I set myself a goal: to read a few pages from a self-help, sciences, or philosophy book every morning. Since then, I learned about so many interesting concepts that I want to start sharing them with you!
Very short posts, in this monthly series, I will share the key lessons from these books and tell you why I definitely recommend them.
“I want to stop smoking”, “let’s workout more often this year”, “I will learn Spanish in 2019” : here are a few goals or resolutions that you might have set up for the new year. How do I know ? Well … I have quite the same, just look at the article about my resolutions for 2019. In his brand new book titled “Atomic Habits“, author and entrepreneur James Clear, presents simple yet impactful methods to build habits that last.
What is “Atomic Habits” about?
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” — James Clear
From his beginnings in business and tech as a teenager with Steve Wozniak to becoming a multi-billionaire, Steve Jobs’ life was rather… eventful. Building Apple before being ousted of the company, abandoning his first daughter Lisa, launching Next, buying Pixar and finally making his way back to his first and beloved company […] and the story goes on until his death in October 2011. Interestingly enough, Walter Isaacson portrays with a magnificent narrative every major (but also many minor) event of the life of the father of the iPhone.
Key lessons from “Atomic Habits”
From the words of the author, to make a habit stick, you need to make it part of your identity. In some ways, you have to fake it until you make it. It seems rather psychological but if you tell everyone you are a writer, you will be more likely to … actually write in your spare time. Make it a part of your identity so you have no choice but to do it.
In addition to that, author James Clear share the 4 laws of habit building to make a good habit stick or a bad habit disappear :
1st law: Make it Obvious
Design your environment to make the good habits obvious, but also design the way you think. For example, use implementation intentions : “I will do [Good Habit] at [Time] in [Location]. Mine is : I will read for 10 minutes, every morning after waking up at my desk. The more clear and detailed your habit will be, the more likely you will do it.
Inversely, the aversion of the 1st law is Make it Invisible, reduce exposure and remove all cues from your environment. If you don’t see junk food around the house, you will be less tempted to eat some.
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2nd law: Make it Attractive
Join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior. If you want to be reader, make reader friends! That way, the more you’ll read, the more you’ll feel like you are a part of the community.
Inversely, the aversion of the 2nd law is Make it Unattractive, highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits and design your environment in this idea. If you want to stop smoking, stop hanging out with your smoker friends at every break.
3rd law: Make it Easy
Make it so easy you would be ashamed not to do it. Decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits and make your environment play his part! That can include putting the book you want to read on your nightstand or making sure your workout clothes are ready the day before.
Inversely, the aversion of the 3rd law is Make it Difficult, by increasing the number of steps between you and your bad habits. If you have re-download Instagram every time you want to browse, you will be tempted to do it less often.
4th law: Make it Satisfying
Our brains like rewards, so if you want to build a habit, give yourself an immediate reward when you complete it. It could be as simple as tracking your habit in an app and feeling accomplished!
Inversely, the aversion of the 2nd law is Make it Unsatisfying. Like, try to give 10$ to a friend every time you do something you shouldn’t, I can assure you it will be painful enough not to remember the lesson.
In the end, the real key to success is to show up, today, then tomorrow and the day after that.
Why you should read it
One of my first yet favorite read of 2019, I can’t ohelp but suggest you to read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear if you want to be successful and live the life of your dreams. Great successes are not about big actions, but about tiny actions repeated for a long time.
Although you can find and order and receive almost any book at your house instantly, if you have the opportunity, I would definitely recommend you to help the independent bookstores where you live!
Thank you for reading! Don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments if you want more posts like this in the future. Have you ever considered reading self-help books?