Atomic Habits Summary

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Overview of Atomic Habits Summary

You might be experienced that every time we try to build new habit we fail within a few days or months. But, in this book author James Clear explained how to build better habits and break bad habits with simple and proven ways. so, let’s start.

The Fundamentals: Why Tiny Changes Make a Big Difference

You may think to achieve great success, you need to do big things. But my friend you are wrong. Atom is the smallest element but it can produce a huge amount of energy. Similarly, if we bring tiny changes or small habits in our life it will produce remarkable results.

Conversely, if you get 1% worse each day for one year, you will decline near down to zero.

1% worse every day for one year 0.99^365 = 00.03

1% better every day for one year 1.01^365 = 37.78

Say for example reading 10 pages per day, walking for 10 mins each day, writing one page each day looks very small and seems doesn’t change anything but if you repeat this for six months, year, lifetime it will create huge impact.

Similarly little bad choices doesn’t seem harmful today but if you repeat them regularly it will create huge impact over a period of time.

The Plateau Of Latent Potential

Why good habits doesn’t last for long even if we try hard? Well, When people start new habits they want to see results in few days. But this does not happen. Habits are often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold.

This threshold is plateau of latent potential. When you cross that limit, results became visible. This limit changes with people and habits. Say for example someone gains the six packs after six months of regular exercise and some might see after two years!

Your work was not wasted it is just being stored. Habit forming is long-term process not an event. So, stick to your habits without losing hopes.

Forget About Goals Focus On System Instead

Your goal is outcome that you want to achieve and your system is what you are doing on daily basis or your daily rituals, habits.

Many people assume that reason for failure is your goal. But successful people and unsuccessful people have similar goals. So, goal is not term that differentiate between success and failure.

So your system is important. For Ex. If you are a heavy person and your goal might be to lose 10 kg weight. Your system is how your daily eating habits, exercising habit.

Now for interesting question. If you completely ignore your goal and just focus on your system i.e diet, exercising. Would you still get results?

I think you would.

How your habits shape your Identity (Vice-Versa)

Belief is important to change any behavior. The way you think about yourself is your identity. We often start to perform a new habit but stick to old identity and because of these new habits don’t last long. Instead of focusing on what outcome you want from your habit focus on what type of person you want to become.

say for example you want to build a habit of reading ask yourself a question what kind of person reads daily?

Of, course a Reader. Thus focus to become a reader. when you want to build a habit of waking up earlier decide to become a morning person. when you decide to become of a person who perform the habit you want build you automatically change your beliefs.

The Habit Loop

Purpose of every habit is to solve the problem of life with as little energy as possible. Good habit or bad habit both serves us. Any habit can be divided into four steps.

Cue, Craving, Response and Reward

Cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and ultimately, becomes associated with the cue. The first two are problem phase and next two are solution phase. For example:-

Cue: You wake up.

Craving: You want to feel alert.

Response: You drink a cup of coffee.

Reward: You satisfy your craving to feel alert. Drinking coffee associated with waking up.

We can use this habit loop to form good habits and break bad habits by applying following four laws.

1St law (Cue) Make it Obvious

Before making a new habit you need to aware of your current habit. Before building a new habit notice your current habits. Time and location are two most common cues.

Implementation intention is plan to set you to make beforehand about when and where to act. This is how you intent to implement a particular habit. Implementation intention strategy can apply by using the following sentences.

I will [behaviour] at [Time] in [location].

Meditation: I will meditate for one minute in my kitchen.

Exercise: I will exercise for one hour at 5 pm in my local gym.

Habit stacking is another method you can use to make a new habit. The habit satcking formula is

After [current habit], I will, [new habit].

Habit stacking is pairing your daily habit with new habit.

For Ex. Meditation. After I wake up I will meditate for one minute. 

Make it invisible

To form a good habit we try make habit as obvious as possible. And to break a bad habit We can make cue invisible. By doing this we reduce the exposure to cue that cause the bad habit.

Ex. If you are wasting too much time watching television, move it out of your bedroom. If your are spending too much time using social media, ask your friends to reset all password every day.ย 

Read More >> Deep Work Book Summary

2Nd Law (Craving) Make It Attractive

The 2Nd law of atomic habits is making changes attractive. We often repeat behavior if it is attractive. Food industries use this law to sell more products by making covers of product attractive.

To make a habit attractive use temptation bundling. Temptation building is strategy of pairing an action you want to do before an action you need to do. Do something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.

Ex. If you want to check facebook, but you need to exercise more.

You can do like this… After I pull out my phone (want), I will do 10 push-ups. (need)

Make it Unattractive

To break a bad habit make it unattractive. Stick your bad habits with negative feelings. Say yourself you donโ€™t actually need to do it.

3Rd law Make it Easy

When things are easy to act we repeat it often and it become our habit. Thus we fall easily into bad habits. But we can use this law to create good habits as well.

Use Two Minute Rule For Making a Habit

Break a habit into small pieces so that we can perform it in less than two minutes. Like we can read one page per day. Meditate for two minute a day. This seems very small but habit must be established before it can be improved.

Make it Hard   

Make your bad habits difficult. Increase no. of steps between you and your bad habits. When we find hard to perform bad habits we leave it.

Ex. If you are too much surfing internet, block some websites using website blocker. Unsubscribe from unimportant e-mail stuff.

4Th law Make it satisfying

First three laws increase the chance that behaviour will performed this time. The fourth law will increase the odds that behaviour will be repeated next time.

Reward can make you satisfy. Give yourself a reward when you repeat good habit even if it small habit. Another way is tracking your habits. Score your habits daily or marking cross on calendar. Because when you see your progress, you motivate to act again.

Make it Unsatisfying

Make your bad habits unsatisfying and painful. When you repeat bad habit, ask your friend to punish you. We tend to avoid things which doesn’t satisfy us.

With this, we come to the end of the book summary of atomic habits- Tiny changes, remarkable results by James Clear. I found this very helpful. I recommend you to buy this book using the following links. Thank you. See you in next week with another book summary.

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Omkar Mirajgave

Omkar Mirajgave

Omkar Mirajgave is the founder of He is an avid book reader. After reading 100+ book summaries and 80+ books, he realized book summaries can help him choose better books. He writes about interesting book summaries, reading tips, the best books to read, and everything related to books!