Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear is a path-breaking and easy-to-use self-help book. It dives into the power of habits and their correlation with success in life. Despite being released in late 2018, the book ranks among the top self-help books on various e-commerce sites. The #1 New York Times best-seller novel has sold over four million copies.
Atomic Habits is the kind of book that makes you analyze your life. The strength of the book lies in the less intimidating and easy ways it provides to start a new habit. The ideas put forward are not new. However, they have never been articulated in a way that would appeal to a vast audience.
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The book discusses incorporating small daily habits into your regular schedule to create changes. The four-step model of cue, craving, response, and reward form the backbone of the book.
Here are five incredible takeaways from the book:
1. Goals are overrated
One of the essential lessons from Atomic Habits is how it defines goals. Goals might be helpful, but they don’t hold a candle to building a lifestyle. As James Clear puts it, goals are binary. They draw focus on winning and losing rather than the journey and progress.
Goals box the idea of success into narrow parameters. And hence, they are overrated.
2. Identity > Habits
Habits are a culmination of a person’s identity.
Songwriters can compose new songs because they believe they are musicians. Similarly, wealthy people risk investing in stocks because they believe they’re investors.
Identities help a person create remarkable changes.
An interesting exercise from the book asks readers to judge daily habits on the basis of their desired identity. The goal is to view oneself as the person one wants to become and work accordingly.
Hence, work on creating the desirable identity, and actions will follow.
3. Surroundings shape success
The physical environment is a critical factor in shaping daily habits. The book refers to the example of a Hungarian psychologist Laszlo Polgar.
Polgar believed in creating an idealized home environment to raise his daughters to become great chess players. The idea worked, and two of Polgar’s daughters eventually ranked the first and second in the world chess rankings.
Therefore, habits are influenced by their surroundings. An environment filled with positive cues is more likely to induce success.
4. Habits do not make life boring
The general notion among people is that habits make life monotonous. The same actions and schedules tend to make life less interesting.
However, James Clear points out the exact opposite. A set of routines gives one more clarity and freedom. He believes that habits do not restrict freedom; they create it.
Hence, develop good habits if the aim is to thrive in spontaneity and creativity.
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5. There is no fixed time to create a habit
Atomic Habits takes up the age-old question of “how much time does it take to create a habit” and answers it with “X number of actions.” That means there is no fixed amount of time to develop a new habit. It depends on the number of times the action is repeated.
So if the goal is to build new habits, the focus should lie on the consistency of actions rather than time periods.
Every now and then, there comes a book that has the power to impact lives positively. Atomic Habits is one such example. Let us know about your favorite quote or key takeaway from the book.
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