ATOMIC HABITS: A James Clear Book Review

atomic habits review cover

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving–every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviours that lead to remarkable results.” – Goodreads.

atomic Habits
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Source: Atomic habits website.

I hope you are not expecting an expert breakdown or summary of this read as I’m only passing through and therefore can only bring myself to state a pointer or two regarding what I believe is most constructive to action moving forward and I, therefore, hope the same for you, my dear reader.

So buckle up and let us dive in.

First and foremost, “self – helps “are a double-edged sword you just can’t grip on right, because it is as sharp as they come. Too many of them and you never quite get started, yet too few of them never really gives you the feeling of knowing enough to get started. Decision paradox right?! Well, all I can say is only read books that encourage you to take action immediately, which I believe, is one of many positive traits being emphasized by reads like Atomic habits.

See if you read so many books and do not put what you have read into action waiting for the 100th book then you are not following through on the small changes or celebrating the small wins. Today’s magnificent buildings were all built one brick at a time.

My eight takeaways from the book atomic habits influencing my thoughts, shaping my daily decisions and embodying my cumulative actions are;

  • Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behaviour: fun fact, personally I do not believe the whole notion people have about themselves when they say, “I was born this way”. I think the environment one is surrounded with, the support systems one has and the values one embodies early on in life greatly influence one’s thoughts, beliefs and actions moving forward thought their lifetime.
  • When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something: For me to be honest, procrastination has been one of my biggest life problems. As a developer, I’ve often been plunged by tutorial purgatory or otherwise one excuse over another as to why I’m not starting, doing or finishing something often leading in long thoughts of unworthiness and failure. I’ve therefore taken a more imperative effort to work on this, being more deliberate, action-oriented and often saying no when and if I should. People-pleasing among other things has become a behaviour of the past.
  • One of our greatest challenges in changing habits is maintaining awareness of what we are actually doing: Do not be afraid to change or think different. Just stay true to yourself and in the “present” of your actions and decisions.
  • Small habits do not add up. They compound. That is the power of atomic habits. Tiny changes, remarkable results: small incremental actions, changes, thoughts well-acted upon and celebrated right lead to incredible compound effects on one’s life for either the best or worse. One just needs to stay aware of themselves and all that is around them day by day.
  • Everything is impermanent. Life is constantly changing, so you need to periodically check-in to see if your old habits and beliefs are still serving you: As I said earlier, stay true to yourself and in the “present” of your actions. All I can add to this is do not be afraid to immediately and ruthlessly decluttering your life and environment if it gets too crowded. Things, people, thoughts, promises, to mention but a few. Do not be afraid for tomorrow is too far away, so start now. The only time you wait for tomorrow is if you have to sleep on an idea or decision just to be sure, you being logical, rational and right about acting on it.
  • Working hard becomes a habit, a serious kind of fun you get self-satisfaction from pushing yourself to the limit, knowing that all the effort is going to pay off: Failure, limitations, and feelings of “impossible” is only in our heads. I first learned this in the early days of my jogging or running routines. I realised that I only ran “out of gas” or my body shut down when I reached the place I had told myself would be where I stop running. If I plotted longer routes, no matter how exhausted my body was I kept running until I made all the planned routes. The other time is when I learned that I was actually ambidextrous and all my life I have been limiting my actions to my right hand yet I could alternate easy and hard tasks simultaneously between both hands.
  • The more immediate pleasure you get from an action, the more strongly you should question whether it aligns with your long-term goals: When I was a child growing up, I often questioned why this one aunt of mine always preached to us “delayed gratification”. Not only was the whole statement hard to memorise but also not something a child should be worrying themselves with since I believed fan was a child’s primary focus. This belief gradually changed as I grew older, read more books and met new people with different beliefs and of different cultural upbringing.
  • The more immediate and more costly a mistake is, the faster you will learn from it: I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and will probably make a lot more but the one I made prior to writing this review is by far the most costly, embarrassing by my standards and painful. Because of it, I have had to change everything about myself and rebuild myself much slower and more deliberately. My Actions are more systematic and meticulous than ever before. More ruthless by any other person’s desire but rational and more logical. Trying to live by society standards and people-pleasing is what got me into this place, to begin with.
atomic habit marketing poster
Atomic Habits.   Source: Atomic habits website.

In a nutshell, small improvements add up over time;

So focus on who you want to become not what you want to achieve; Pair new habits with a specific time and location; Track your habits in a simple, easy and visual way; Create a habit contract to keep you accountable; and lastly, Make it easy to change your habits if need be.

Beyond the book Atomic Habits, this is mostly a “James Clear book and a few Inspiration Bites” inspired articles. I took the initiative to add a few experiences of my own hoping to inspire someone to read this book and most importantly start taking action in their life.

–cheers.

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