This is a visual book summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear. A practical book that breaks down the building of good habits and breaking of bad habits into a 4-step process that is easy to understand and follow.
Book Summary Of Atomic Habits By James Clear (Infographic)
Here are some of my insights from the infographic visual book summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear:
The Basics of Habit
Atomic habits are powerful as they compound. Small changes appear insignificant until it reaches a critical threshold. Beware habits can compound against you.
Goals are overrated. Focus on systems (processes that lead to results) NOT goals (results). Atomic habits are building blocks that power a system.
Identity Based Habits: Focus on who (identity) you want to become not on what you want to achieve (outcome). When the core identity changes, actions follow.
Habit Loop: Habits exist to solve a problem and follows these 4-steps: 1. cue (trigger) –> 2. craving (motivation) –> 3. response (habit) –> 4. reward (satisfaction)
The 4 laws of habit change will focus on each of these four steps.
1st Law: Make It Obvious
Human brain builds habits by noticing repeated cues and predicting outcomes without conscious thought.
Therefore, AWARENESS is the key to change habits.
The Habits Scorecard is a good tool to create awareness of your behaviours and the key is to use the tool without judgement.
|Daily Habits||+ (positive), – (negative) or = (neutral)|
|Check social media||–|
Building A Habit
Follow the Implementation Intention method to build a habit by using two obvious cues: time and location.
I will [BEHAVIOUR] at [TIME] in [Location]
Take it a step further through habit stacking:
After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]
Design Your Environment
Habits are initiated by cues that are obvious in our environment. Design your environment to make cues obvious for preferred habits. For example, keep a bowl of fruits in plain sight to snack healthily.
Go a step further and turn the context into a cue. For example, within the house create separate spaces for work, exercise, study, leisure etc…
How To Break A Bad Habit
Self-control is futile and not a long-term strategy. In order to break an undesired habit, identify and make the cue for the bad habit invisible.
2nd Law: Make It Attractive
Habits are a dopamine driven feedback loop and when dopamine rises so does motivation to act due to anticipation of reward.
Use temptation bundling to make habits attractive. Example: Exercise while watching TV. Here’s the formula that uses Habit Stacking + Temptation Bundling:
1. After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]
2. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT]
Join These Groups
We imitate the habits of 3 groups:
- The Close
- The Many
- The Powerful
Therefore, to make a habit more attractive join a group where:
- Desired behaviour is normal behaviour for the group.
- You have something in common with the group.
Create A Motivation Ritual
In order to make a difficult habit more attractive create a motivation ritual by doing something enjoyable immediately before the difficult habit.
How To Break A Bad Habit
Make undesirable habits unattractive by highlighting the benefits of avoiding those habits. Make a list.
3rd Law: Make It Easy
Focus on action NOT motion (planning) as a habit builds through repetition.
Decrease the number of steps to perform a habit by eliminating or simplifying.
Prime the environment to make the habit easy. Example: prepare ingredients the night before cooking.
Automate a habit to increase likelihood of better behaviour in the future.
Use a commitment device which is choice made now that makes future behaviour better. In the book, James Clear tells a story of how Victor Hugo locked all his clothes so he couldn’t go out to socialise forcing him to focus on writing The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Decisive moments are little habits that impact your behaviour massively. Vital to master these decisive moments!
To avoid doing too much at the start, follow the Two-Minute Rule: “A newly started habit should take less than two minutes”.
This becomes a “gateway habit” that leads us to a desired habit in gradual phases.
How To Break A Bad Habit
Make undesirable habits difficult by increasing friction (adding more steps) and by using commitment devices.
4th Law: Make It Satisfying
Cardinal Rule Of Behaviour Change: What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.
When you are in the process of building a desirable habit, find ways to feel successful instantly. For example, putting $5 into a travel fund jar every time you skip coffee. It makes it visual as well as satisfying to see the money in the jar grow steadily.
How To Stick With Good Habits Daily
Track your habits daily. Seeing your progress clearly makes it satisfying.
Don’t break the chain!
You can put an “X” on a wall calendar or use apps that track habits.
Make undesirable habits unsatisfying through accountability partners and/or a habit contract that has public consequences.