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Atomic Habits by James Clear

My Rating of “Atomic Habits” by James Clear: 10 / 10

Atomic Habits Bookcover

Over the past few years I have been an avid reader of James Clear’s posts and emails. His blogs and other articles have provided me with a solid structure and framework on habit building thereby driving both achievement and fulfilment in everything I do in life. Whether it is healthy eating, hitting the gym, or keeping my focus in the work environment his advice, tools and approaches have greatly benefited me.

I was fortunate enough to get a pre-release copy of Atomic Habits and jumped straight into it. It isn’t a long read, however, it is structured in a way that provides a good overview of why habits are important, tools and techniques on how to establish habits as well as a plethora of real life examples. James also makes reference to an additional set of tools on the Atomic Habits website which you can also leverage (e.g. habit trackers, cheat sheets, guides etc.)

The book centres on the both on the four stages of developing a habit and the laws of behaviour change. The latter he delves into in great detail, again with many examples on how to apply within your own life given constraints. The book had a nice pace and balance on theory and application.

The biggest thing I have learned (also from his blogs) is the difference between goals and habits. For example, instead of setting a goal, create an identity and establish small habits that align to that identity. For example, don’t say you want to lose weight, but rather identify with being a healthy person that exercises most days and eats well. The habits might be drinking x amount of water a day, 10 push-ups a day, walking 10,000 steps per day etc; and increase the habits once they are firmly established.

Given the applicability of this topic, it is a book everyone should read. Unfortunately there are many key areas we don’t get educated on at school. This is one area that is important for life in everything that we do. Highly recommend Atomic Habits!

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. Habit stacking. Put your clothes out next to your bed before going to sleep so that when you wake up it is the first thing you do or think about. That habit will then drive the habit to go to the gym etc.
  2. Look to establish identity habits versus reaching for goals or developing finite habits. Habits based on beliefs are much more powerful.
  3. When it comes to wanting to do something (good or bad) 90% of the dopamine release is driven by the desire versus and 10% on the actual experience.

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