Book Review: Atomic Habits

atomic-habits-2Title: Atomic Habits
Author: James Clear
Genre: Self-help
Publisher: Avery
Publication Date: 10/16/2018
Pages: 319
Format Read: Audiobook
Where I got the book: Libby
Date finished reading: 2/9/2020

Goodreads Description: 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 behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Learn how to:
*  make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);
*  overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;
*  design your environment to make success easier;
*  get back on track when you fall off course;
…and much more.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

My Review: I continue to listen to self-help books that help me live my best life. Last year I read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Many people believe this book is the ultimate guide to habit-building and success. Even James Clear speaks highly of it in Atomic Habits. However, I believe Atomic Habits spoke to me personally much more than The Power of Habit did. It gives reasons why we should habit build; evaluates good and bad habits; and provides multiple methods to build habits. I found useful realizations and tips in every chapter.

Here is the 4-step loop that James Clear suggests we follow to build habits:

  1. Cue. A piece of information that suggests there’s a reward to be found, like the smell of a cookie or a dark room waiting to light up.
  2. Craving. The motivation to change something to get the reward, like tasting the delicious cookie or being able to see.
  3. Response. Whatever thought or action you need to take to get to the reward.
  4. Reward. The satisfying feeling you get from the change, along with the lesson whether to do it again or not.

To assist with achieving these steps, he suggests the following:

  1. Cue = Make it Obvious
  2. Craving = Make it Attractive
  3. Response = Make it Easy
  4. Reward = Make it Satisfying

I think the biggest impact this book had on me was how I view habits, both the habits I currently have and the habits I want to have. I am a huge believer in goals. I look at yearly resolutions as goals that I set for myself of things I want to accomplish during that year. James Clear points out that goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress. Goals can have a negative impact that I never thought about before. They can add stress as you realize that you either successfully achieve a goal or you don’t.

As well as viewing goal-making differently, Atomic Habits discusses how habits directly correlate to one’s identity. It is about identifying your desired outcomes, creating a process to achieve those outcomes, and embracing those outcomes as part of your identity.

Here are some useful tips to habit building mentioned in the book:

  • Pair your habits with a time and place.
  • Stack your habits.
  • Acquire an accountability partner.
  • Vocalize your habits.
  • Track your habits.
  • Exist in an environment that encourages your desired habits.

I really appreciate how this book really expanded on the concepts in The Power of Habit. I found James Clear’s ideas easy to implement and his examples relatable. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to get rid of bad habits and/or build better habits.

“This is the meaning of the phrase atomic habits: a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do but also the source of incredible power, a component of the system of compound growth.”

Find additional resources from James Clear at

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

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