Atomic Habit

By: James Clear

Atomic Habit is a book written by James Clear and one of New York’s Best Selling books. Atomic Habit is all about the routine of how a person can break bad behaviors and get the good ones. There are three lessons we can learn from this book that will break bad habits and form good ones. 

But before that, here is one quote from James Clear. “If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.”

He explained that having goals is not useless but goals are good for setting a direction. What he meant in the quote is that having a system to follow is best for making progress. There could be a handful of problems that may arise if you focus on your goals. You might not have enough time to design your systems. 

So the first lesson in his book is based on a four-step pattern. It consists of cue, craving, response, and reward. This pattern is the backbone of every habit:

  1. Cue – this triggers your brain to start a behavior.  It is a bit of information that suggests that there’s a reward. Your mind is constantly analyzing your internal and external environment for hits where rewards can be located.
  2. Craving – the force that makes you motivated. If you don’t have cravings, you have no reason to start. The cravings aren’t the habit, but the change it provides.
  3. Response – this is where you perform the habit. Responding may depend on your motivation level or your ability. A habit can only occur if you are able to do it. 
  4. Reward – The end goal of every habit. The satisfying feeling you get a craving and responding to be able to obtain the reward. This leaves us a lesson of remembering the actions made and whether we do it again or not. 

The second lesson is applying the 4-step pattern to create a good habit. This is the Four Laws of Behavior Change

  1. Make it obvious
  • Fill out the habit scorecard. It is a simple exercise that lets you write down all your habits so you could become more aware of your behavior. 
  • Have an Implementation Intention plan. “I will [Behavior] at [Time] in [Location]. Having a specific plan, where and when you will do the behavior, will make you want to follow through it. 
  • After successfully doing this habit, you can stack a new behavior. This is called “Habit Stacking”. It will allow you to create another set of simple rules that will guide your future habit. The formula is “After [Current Habit], I will [New Habit] 
  • Strategies like having plans and habit stacking are obvious cues. It will show you a clear plan on how you take the action. 
  1. Make it Attractive

           Use the Temptation bundling method in which you link an action you want to do with an action you need to do. You can use the Habit Stacking with Temptation bundling: After [Current Habit], I will [Habit I Need], After [Habit I Need], I will [Habit I want]. It is doing something you enjoy after doing a difficult habit immediately.

  1. Make it Easy
  • Create an environment wherein making future actions are easy as possible.
  • Optimize small choices that will deliver the best result. 
  • Use the two-minute rule that states “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do”.
  • Investing in tools that will be of use today and in future behavior. 
  1. Make it Satisfying 
  • Give yourself a reward after completing a habit.
  • If you missed one habit, make sure you get back on track immediately to not miss another habit. 

The third lesson would be to use a Habit tracker to keep track and not break the chain. It’s just a simple task wherein you keep track of all the behavior. This includes behaviors you want to establish or abandon. And at the end of the day, you can see if you have succeeded in your goal.  

Changing our habits is not an easy thing to do, but we must know the system that will work for us. Atomic Habits offers strategies that are engaging, fun and easy to understand. It will surely lead us in breaking our bad habits.

About the Author

Image Source: Together Online

James Clear

  • Creator of and the popular 3-2-1 weekly newsletter.
  • Published over 250 articles
  • Has over 1,000,000 email subscribers
  • The website has more than 10,000,000 visitors per year
  • Speaker at major companies and events like Cisco, General Electric, Honda, Intel, LinkedIn, Lululemon, McKinsey & Company, Merrill Lynch, and many more.
  • Contributor to Against Malaria Foundation (AMF)

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Books by the Author

  • Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
  • The Clear Habit Journal

Articles about: 

  • Creativity
  • Decision Making
  • Focus
  • Habits
  • Life Lessons
  • Motivation
  • Productivity
  • Self-Improvement

Source: James Clear

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