ATOMIC HABITS SUMMARY

AUTHOR OF ATOMIC HABITS :

James Clear is an author of Atomic habits & he is mainly author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, productivity and continuous improvement. His work has appeared in the New York Time. He is a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies and his work is used by teams in the NBA, NFL and MLB.

His website receives millions of visitors each day and hundreds of thousands subscribe to his popular email newsletter at jamesclear.com.

Glimp of the ‘ATOMIC HABITS’ in a few sentences : 

  1. Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to breaking bad behaviours and adopting good practices in four steps, showing you how to combine small, incremental, everyday routines over time and make positive changes on a large scale.
  2. This book teaches us that to be successful in life, we should focus our attention on the system rather than on the goal.
  3. And by using the system, how can we succeed in any field. And also teaches Instead of focusing on what increases the chances of being successful.

Vital ideas of the ‘ATOMIC HABITS’ :

  1. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
  2. If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead to achieve your goal.
  3. The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, instead of focus on who you wish to become.
  4. The Four Laws of Behavior and action Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build good habits. They are
    •  Make it obvious
    • make it attractive
    • make it easy
    • make it satisfying
  5. The environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour and action.

 To whom would I recommend this atomic habits summary?

  1. To 15 to 20-year-old teenagers, who want to make their life better and achieve their goal effectively
  2. To 20 to 30-year-old young generation, who continuously making efforts to secure their future in business or a job.
  3. To 30 to 45 year old overworked creative, who struggles with finding time for their hobbies and their family.
  4. And anyone who’s never written down a list of their habits to analyse them.

quote :

IMPORTANT TITLES OF ATOMIC HABITS SUMMARY :

 

  1. What is the meaning of habits?
  2. What is the basic structure of habit?
  3. Why is it important to build a good habit?
  4. Which are the examples of good habits?
  5. Which are the examples of bad habits?
  6. What habits should I form?
  7. How can I effectively create and break habits?
  8. Which type of factors impact to build new habits?

Your results are directly related to your habits. Your net worth is a big measure of your financial habits. For example, your weight is a mild measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a big measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a long hiatus of your cleaning habits.

 

‘atomic habits’ book by James clear is in the among those best books which change your life differently. this is one of the most useful books on changing your habits, more than the ‘power of habit’ by Charles Duhigg. I’d recommend this book over most books which aimed at helping you to increase your productivity and to get control over your life.

 

I’ve tried my best to divide James’ thoughts into his essence. and that means losing a great deal of his character in this process. 

In this process, what will you miss?

you will miss some of the wonderful stories, study ideas, practical examples of his life and analogies which James uses to bring colour and life to this book. and if you don’t know that these reasons are good enough for itself to invest in a copy of the atomic habits book.

let’s start our summary of atmic habits

  •   A Habit Is A Behaviour Or An Action That Has Been Repeated Enough Times To Become Automatic. Habits Are The Things Which We Practice Regularly In Our Routine Life.
  • A Habit Is Just A Memory Of The Steps Which You Previously Followed To Solve A Problem In The Past.
  • The Ultimate Purpose Of Habits Is To Solve The Problems Of Life With As Less Energy And Effort As Possible.

     the basic structure of any habit is mainly divided into four steps:

  • (1) Cue (signal)  =  A piece of information that suggests there’s a reward to be found. EX. like the smell of your favourite food.
  • (2) Craving (desire) =  the motivation to change something to get the reward. EX. you will desire to taste your food.
  • (3) Response  =  the number of actions or thoughts you need to take to get the reward. EX. you stand up from the bed and go to the kitchen to eat the food
  • (4) Reward  =  the satisfaction you get from change, and you will decide with it whether to do that action in future. EX. you will be satisfied after eating the food if it is good.

As we discover and try new reactions, we replicate those that trigger the reward most reliably and with the least effort.

With repetition, the response becomes a habit: an automatic response to a specific situation/cue.

Reason 1 = changing our belief system is a powerful way to change outcomes.

  • beliefs of our belief system determine our identity. and our identity determines our actions. 
  • so whatever we act is according to our identity and which directly related to our beliefs. and those actions determine our end outcomes. 
  • our conscious mind is the bottleneck of the brain. that’s why to change in our belief system is not an easy task but on the other hand, it is not an impossible task,

          they’re three layers, for any kind of behaviour change,

  1. first layer = changing your outcomes.    this layer is mainly concerned with changing your results, for example, “losing weight, winning a competition, completion of your syllabus for exam etc”. so most of the goals you set are associated with this layer of change.
  1. second layer = changing your process. This layer is concerned with changing your habits and systems to achieve your goals: like ” Implementing a new schedule at the gym, keep clean your desk for better workflow, build a meditation practice”. Most of the good habits you build are associated with this level.
  1. a third and most important layer = changing your identity.    Don’t shock because changing your identity doesn’t mean to change your name at all, it means changing your beliefs, for example; ” your self-image, change your viewing angle for the world, your judgement about yourself and others, remove all biases for anything.” your all beliefs, assumptions, and the worldview of your character and personality are associated with this layer.
  • Every highly habit-forming behaviour is linked to higher levels of dopamine.
  • Desire is the engine that drives behaviour. Every action is taken because of the anticipation that prefaces it. It is the craving that leads to the response.
  • conclusion = changing one habit is all it takes to change a belief which can end up changing too many new outcomes.

 

   Reason 2 = FOCUS ON YOUR SYSTEMS INSTEAD OF YOUR GOAL.

The idea of forgetting goals and focusing on the system instead is one of the most important lessons we can learn from this book.

→ GOAL V/S SYSTEM

  • goals are about the results ( outcomes) you want to achieve in your life. whereas the systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
  • goals are good for setting the direction ( vision) to your life. but systems are the best for making progress in your life.

→here, some problems are listed which arise when people focus on goals instead of systems.

 

(1) winners and losers always have the same ultimate goals.

  •          every athlete who goes to the Olympics has the goal of winning a gold medal into his field, but only one will get that gold medal. here, It is not the winning goal that motivates the athlete at the top of the game, the goal was always there. So what was it that separated him from the rest of the people,
  •              It’s the habits, the systems on which he is continuously making small implements (eg. more training period, different diet, sleeping hour etc.) that they create a competitive edge over the competition and win the gold.
  •  a system first mentality beats a goal-oriented mindset.

(2) It is an only momentary change when you achieved your goal.

  •             presume that you have a dirty and messy room and you set a goal of cleaning it. suppose you use your energy and time to clean it but if you continue your old sloppy habits, the room will be messy again after some days.
  •              so, here you are treating a symptom without addressing the cause. what you need to do, is to create a system of habits that keeps your roo, consistently clean (e.g always make your bed in the morning, make a particular place for particular objects like mobile, earphone, your dirty clothes, etc.). your outcomes will automatically better themselves if you change your inputs.

 

(3) Goals are at odds with long-term progress.

  • a goal-oriented mindset created by the system is creating a “yo-yo ” effect. many runners work hard for months for the marathon, but as soon as they cross the finish line, they stop training, they stop running because they already achieved their goal.
  • because when all of your hard work is focused on only a goal, then what is left to push you forward after achieving your goal.
  • you can see this type of people around you, like the people who set the goal to lose their weight. they do juice and salad diets or insane cardio workouts and eventually, lose the 10 to 12 pounds whatever they wanted, but then after hitting their goal, they go back to their old habits of eating junk foods and sitting on the couch all the day and they again gain that weight. the overall result became zero.
  • the author has a great line in the book and he said in the book that,

  • So, leaving those habits to chances can put us on a subconscious path to disaster.
  • consciously changing our habits tp optimise outcomes puts us back in control.
  • And putting those outcomes on autopilot frees our minds to focus on other things

→ CONCLUSION = 

  • The purpose of setting goals is to only win the game. but actually The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.

the author doesn’t put the single list of good habits anywhere in the book. I have collected these from the various examples he scattered through the chapters.

   In our life, there are mainly 8 areas where if we make good habits, then our life completely turning into an incredible life. 

 

(1) HEALTH & VITALITY – your physical body, mental strength, wellness, energy, fitness and appearance. 

            for that, the habits which you have to improve are ‘healthy eating, cooking, exercise, drinking more water, good quality sleep’.

 

(2) THOUGHTS & EMOTIONS –  how you see, feel about and respond to yourself and life circumstances.

   for that, the habits which you have to improve are ‘meditating, investigating, relaxing.’

 

(3)  FAMILY & FRIENDS  – Meaningful community and social relationships that do not arise.

  For that, ‘show the gratitude towards them, sending thank you notes.’

 

(4)  GROWTH & LEARNING  – Experiences that teach you about and new ways of seeing the world.

  for that, you have to, ‘Practising a skill (like eg. drawing, playing an instrument, reading the books or book summaries, listening  audiobooks etc.)

 

(5)   PERFORMANCE & PRODUCTIVITY – the engine, systems and processes that manage the goal of your life.

for that, the habits which you have to improve are, ‘manage your time, maximum try to invest your time in useful work, waking up early etc.’

 

(6)  BUSINESS AND CAREER –   the main way you invest time in return for income or impact.

for that, you have to, ‘ manage your growth and knowledge simultaneously, continuously make efforts to improve your systems. etc.’

 

(7) WEALTH & LIFESTYLE –  your remaining pastimes promises and possessions.

for that, you just have to improve are ,’saving money, investing money, avoid wasting money.’

 

(8) LOVE & PARTNERSHIP     – The person who is not just part of your life, but in fact, they’re part of you.

for that, you just have to improve is, ‘ give the time and love to your partner’ because this thing will improve you at many places like, in your anger management, your happiness and your goal too.

→ the author doesn’t put the single list of bad habits anywhere in the book. I have collected these from the various examples he scattered through the chapters.

 → as I already mentioned   8 areas of our life.  so, it’s too much important to make good habits, but we know somewhere in our heart that we are addicted to bad habits at a few points, so I mentioned those bad habits here,

(1) HEALTH & VITALITY = ‘Eating junk food, smoking, drinking, no routine regarding sleep’

(2)  THOUGHTS & EMOTIONS = ‘ rising stress-level, negative thinking, getting angry very quickly, less emotional intelligence.’

(3)  PERFORMANCE & PRODUCTIVITY = ‘watching too much TV, useless hangouts, playing video games, procrastinating, wastage of time etc.’

(4)   BUSINESS & CAREER = ‘ over-working (yes, it’s true), overthinking, investment without investigating, etc.’

(5)   WEALTH & LIFESTYLE = ‘ overspending the money, wastage of resources, no saving etc.” 

(6)  GROWTH & LEARNING = ‘ not learning any extra skills, stick to you old belief-system, no upgradation to your values etc.’

 As we have already talked about above, which one is included in good habits, but there are also some habits which are necessary to make a person’s life successful, No matter what field it is from.

so, those habits are listed down here,

(1) Attempt to be 1% better every day.

  • To usually, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.
  • It’s is to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements daily.
  • we often dismiss small changes just thinking that they don’t matter very much at the moment.
  • Aggregation of Marginal Profits: To find a small margin of improvement in everything you do.
  • If you eat unhealthy food today, the scale doesn’t move much. but our this type of small choices compound into toxic results. It’s the collection of many missteps.
  • so remember, becoming 1 % better today may not seem like much, but with time, it can make a huge difference.

    there is a question that arises in our mind that ‘How much of a difference does 1% make?’

    so the answer is like,’If you can get better each day for a one year, you will end up thirty-seven (37%) times better by the time you are done. conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for one year, you will decline nearly down to zero.’

atomic habits

The author starts his book with a story about the British cycling team.

  • since 1908, British riders hadn’t won the TOUR DE FRANCE from last 110 years.so in 2003, the team hired a director named Dave Brailsford. his strategy was to make tiny marginal improvements in everything the team did in the past.
  • so, Brailsford and his coaches made every improvement, no matter how small it is, like ‘they redesigned the seats for more comfort, switched racing suits for better aerodynamics, they even changed the pillows and mattresses for the night’s sleep and many more things.
  • this each change made little difference. but put together, the changes were enormous. from 2007 to 2017, they won 5 TOUD DE FRANCE championship.

so, the same strategy can be applied to one’s personal life, continuously small improvements over time accumulate into a major positive outcome :

  • like saving at least $100 per week
  • reading 20 pages a day is not a lot, but it accumulates into 140 pages a week, 560 a month and 6,720 pages a year. An average book is 250 pages, so you’ll end up reading 27 books a year just from reading a little bit each day.

let me give you one more example:

  • If we put an ice cube at -4º. After that, we change the temperature to -3º, then we cannot find any difference in it. After that, we change the temperature to -2º and then -1º, but we cannot see any kind of change again. But just as we change the temperature from 0º to 1º, we see that the ice cube has started melting. There is only one degree (a slight change) and ice transforms into water.

so, start making this amazing  1% improvement habit in your lifestyle and it will lead to you to the next level of personality.

(2) Make hobby (start to learn a new skill)

  • the hobby is a thing, that the work which we can do at any time, and we never tired of that to do it. generally, hobby is useful to decrease our stress level because in the hobby we work those things which we like from our heart.
  • Having a hobby is not a common thing because in this dynamic world many people work for only to earn money, and in that, they depressed at that level, where he can’t easily move on. so the hobby will introduce a new type of confidence that you can do such things very easily than others. and after getting mastery in your hobby, you make your passion into a profession and maybe you earn more than that you earned earlier.

 Hobbies are like, ” content writing, video editing, graphic designing, painting, dancing, you tube, photography etc. which you do to get relief from your daily routine work.

(3) Invest in your health.

  • this is a very interesting thing because most of the people don’t know the real meaning of health. there is not only physical health, but there is mental health as well. if we calculate health factors , then there is food, sleep, exercise, meditation, family and friends time, happiness, stress relief etc..
  • because these all factors are at some level in our mind, which affect our decision-making skills and time. health is not just that thing which we can borrow from the shop, it is the gift of God, and by our bad habits, we disrespect to god’s gift.
  • Therefore, our health should always be taken care of, not only for yourself but by making your body healthy, you will make your family healthy and happy.

you know that habits are like energy, they can’t be created or destroyed, because energy and habits both just change its form. like, creating a hobby means to do some important work at the same time instead of wasting it. and breaking bad habit means doing some important or your favourite work in the place of your bad habit (work).

changing our habits is challenging for two reasons : 

  • we try to change the wrong thing.
  • we try to change our habits in the wrong way.  

so for that, to change habits successfully, we must : 

  • change the right habits.
  • change habits the right way.

we talk about the 4 steps of the basic structure of habit in the second question. Therefore we can make changes in our habit by changing those steps differently.

So, the first one, HOW TO CREATE A GOOD HABIT

 

  1. (CUE) : MAKE IT OBVIOUS
  • Make and fill out the habits scorecard. write down your current habits to become conscious of them.
  • use implementation intentions : ‘ After { CURRENT HABIT}at {TIME}  in  {LOCATION}
  • use habit stacking trick: 
  • ‘After {CURRENT HABIT}, I will {NEW HABIT}.’
  • ‘When {ACTION}, I will {NEW HABIT}
  • Design your habit environment: make the cues of good habits obvious and visible, for example, put your fruits on the front side of your fridge or put it in the centre of your dining table.
  1. [CRAVING]: MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE
  • join a culture where you desired behaviour is normal behaviour.
  • invent a motivational ritual. Do something you enjoy immediately before your difficult habit.
  • then later use the enjoyable action to trigger cravings for the difficult habit.
  • for example, start with the fruit you like the most, so you’ll actually want to eat one when you see it.

 

  1. [RESPONSE]: MAKE IT EASY
  • Don’t get caught up in planning or perfectionism towards your new habit.
  • schedule habits for times and places that fit easily into your existing routine.
  • organise and lay out what you need in advance sp it’s easy to access.
  • reduce friction = decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits.
  • use two-minute rule= downscale your habits until they can be done in two minutes or less than that.
  • Automate your habits. Invest in your technology and onetime purchases that lock in future behaviour.
  • for example – bananas and apple are much easy to eat directly.
  1. [REWARD]: MAKE IT SATISFYING
  • Use reinforcement for your newly established habit: give yourself an immediate reward. when you complete your habit.
  • use habit tracker. keep trail of your habit streak and “don’t crack the chain”
  • Never miss twice – commit to never miss two repetitions in a row
  • when you forget to do a habit, make sure you get back on track immediately.
  • invest in tools that are satisfying to use.
  • Don’t think ” all or nothing” – because something is always better than nothing.
  • motivation be like, ” transfer money towards buying something you want OR treat yourself to something you enjoy.”

The second one is, HOW TO BREAK BAD HABITS?

  1. [CUE]: MAKE IT INVISIBLE.
    • Reduce exposure. Remove the cues of your bad habits from your surrounding environment.
    • try to eliminate the cue of your habit and find an alternative of that
  2. [CRAVING]: MAKE IT UNATTRACTIVE.
    • Reframe your Mind-set. Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits and make it always on your eyes.
    • try to Reduce the craving about your bad habit. and give direction to your craving in the useful work
  3. [RESPONSE] : MAKE IT DIFFICULT.
    • Increase friction towards your habit. increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits and try to maximize the diffrence.
    • make the behaviour difficult towards it. and then you won’t be able to do it.
  4. [REWARD]: MAKE IT UNSATISFYING
    • Get an accountability partner. Ask someone on who you can trust 100 % to watch your behaviour.
    • Create a habit contract. Make the costs of your bad habits painful and public.
    • try to make the fail reward of your bad habit, so that you’ll have no reason to do it in the future.

HABIT STACKING

  • Habits are easier when they regulate with your natural abilities. choose the habits that much suit you
  • Pick the right habit and progress is smooth. Pick the incorrect habit and life is a struggle.
  • we learnt about good and bad habits, we also learnt to create or destroy any habit and with the help of that, we will surely make good habits. but there is always something which affected any good things. so, in the case of good habits, there are some factors, which can directly impact to build any habit.

and here they are,

(1) the environment required for success.

”’the most important of all sensory abilities, however, is vision. The human body has about 11 million sensory receptors. Approx 10 million of those are dedicated to sight. Some experts estimate that half of the brain’s resources are used on vision.”’ ~ By James clear.

 so, what you see can drive to a big shift in what will you doing in future.

the author tells a very interesting story,

  • In the energy crisis of the 1970s, Dutch researchers looked at energy usage in a suburb near Amsterdam. They found that some homeowners were using 30 % less than their neighbours-despite the fact that the homes were of similar size. although, Even then why did some owners use less electricity and others more?
  • Researchers found that homeowners who had the electrical meter in the main hall of their house could easily observe and track their electricity usage while others had the meter in their basement where they rarely checked their usage.

this example shows that How a person’s behaviour can be easily influenced by their environment, oftentimes more than they consciously realize.

so, the author is telling us all to apply this rule in everyday life.

likewise,

  • It’s not easy to practise the guitar when it’s hidden in the closet.so to practice playing the guitar more often, place your guitar in the middle of your living room. so it’s easy to start playing it.
  • It’s not easy to take vitamins when the fruits are hidden in the back of the lower shelf of the fridge. So if you want to eat more fruits then buy one display bowl and put it in the middle of your kitchen. and put your fruits into that bowl.
  • It’s not easy to read a book when you put your all books in the bookshelf of the guest room. So to read more books keep a book in the nightstand near your bed so you can easily grab it and get through a few pages before going to sleep.

And if you want to remove bad habits, then you have to do the opposite and make things harder to do.

  • if you have trouble staying off your phone, leave it in the other room and turn off notifications.
  • If you’re wasting much time on watching a TV, Move it to a room that you rarely go into, or better yet, sell it.
  • If you’re playing too many video games so put it in the closet after each time you play it so it’s harder to turn on next time.

Habits can be easier to change in a new environment. 

It is easier to connect new habit with a new context than to build a new habit in the face of competing cues.

“‘Practice self-restraint not by craving you were a more disciplined person, But by creating a more disciplined environment.”‘

 

(2) The role of family and friends in building your habits of success.

  • the culture we live in determines which behaviours are attractive to us.
  • we tend to adopt habits that are praised and recommended by our culture because we have a strong desire to fit in and belong to the tribe.
  • we tend to emulate the habits of three social groups: 
          1. the close: family and friends.
          2. the many: the tribe.
          3. the powerful: those who are with status and prestige.

let’s understand this thing with example,

  • the Polgar sisters grew up in a culture that prioritized chess above all, praised them for it, rewarded them for it. In their world, a passion for chess was common.

so, whatever habits are normal in your culture are among the most attractive behaviours you’ll find.

  • one of the most effective actions you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where
  1. your desired behavior is a natural behaviour. and
  2. you already have something in common with the society.
  • the normal behaviour of the tribe often overpowers the desired of the individual. Most days, we had rather be wrong with the group than be right by ourselves.
  • If a behaviour van gets us approval, respect, and praise, we find it charming.

(3) the secret of self-control & vision of the positive attitude.

  • sometimes our mind couldn’t see the right or wrong habits. sometimes we make a positive attitude towards bad habits in the place of a negative attitude. for example, we thought that we can’t stay without touching our mobile. but we are totally wrong because with some efforts we can do it.
  • With enough practice, your brain will pick up the cues that predict certain outcomes without consciously thinking about it.
  • once our positive habits become automatic, we stop paying attention to what we are doing.
  • People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid the temptation than resist it.
  • self-control is short term energy, not a long-term one.

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