September 2019 Book Review: Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Print | EBook | Audio CD

Tiny changes make a huge impact. This truth forms the foundation of Atomic Habits. Clear argues that tiny changes done consistently over a period of time have a compound effect that makes it easier to achieve large goals. Anyone who wants to start a business needs to read this book and apply its principles!

Want to lose weight? Developing the habit of putting on your workout gear the moment you get home can help push you to work out consistently. Want to read more? Developing the habit of reading a page per day can help you read at least one book per month. The small changes matter!

This may sound a bit simplistic, but Clear develops a strong case for the cumulative effect of tiny habits using four core principles for developing good habits and four core principles for avoiding bad habits.

The 4 Core Principles for Developing Good Habits

  • Make it obvious
  • Make it attractive
  • Make it easy
  • Make it satisfying

Learn more about these core principles by reading his book.

The 4 Core Principles for Avoiding Bad Habits

These principles are the opposites of the principles for developing good habits.

  • Make it invisible
  • Make it unattractive
  • Make it hard
  • Make it unsatisfying

Learn more about these core principles by reading his book.

5 Powerful Takeaways

Here are five important truths that I learned from this book.

Takeaway #1: “Success is not a goal to reach or a finish line to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine.”

Mastering good habits is not the end of the process. It is easy to become complacent when we believe that we have reached the top of our game. The truth is that we can never be perfect. There is always room for improvement, always a need to refine our skills and acquire new ones. Therefore, reflection and evaluation must form part of the habit formation process. As Clear rightly says, “The secret to getting results that last is to never stop making improvements”.

Takeaway #2: “Avoid making any single aspect of your identity an overwhelming part of who you are.”

Life is ephemeral. Things can change instantaneously and the image that you spent most of your life building can be lost in a second. You need to be flexible enough to redefine your identity.

For instance, Clear was a baseball athlete whose career ended abruptly when he was injured. He mentioned that he struggled to find himself after his career ended. Redefining himself forced him to shift from saying “I’m an athlete” to “I’m the type of person who is mentally tough and loves a physical challenge”. Your career, family or environment should not define you. Know who you are at your core and be flexible enough to adapt to the winds of change.

Takeaway #3: “Sustaining an effort is the most important thing for any enterprise. the way to be successful is to learn how to do things right, then do them the same way every time.”

I believe that this is one of the most valuable lessons I learned from the book as I embark on my entrepreneurial journey. It is haaarrddd to sustain positive efforts that yield lasting results, especially when starting a business. I want to see results now and want to start earning money now. Instead of focusing on immediate results, my focus needs to be on finding what works and consistently sticking with it. That’s how lasting impact is created.

Takeaway #4: “The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.”

When you are good at what you do, it is easy to get bored. However, the most successful people push past that boredom and complete the same routine. The best athletes repeat the same exercises because they know that they will get the results. You won’t truly excel unless you put in the work, even when you do not feel like it and you are bored. Practice is a fundamental requirement for mastery, but practice is boring. As Clear puts it, “If you only do work when it’s convenient or exciting, then you’ll never be consistent enough to achieve remarkable results.”

Takeaway #5: “When you can’t win by being better, you can win by being different.”

You will not get ahead in life if you keep comparing yourself to others. You may never be the next Beyoncé or J.K. Rowling, but you can create your own niche by combining your strengths. As Clear says, “A good player works hard to win the game everyone else is playing. A great player creates a new game that favors their strengths and avoids their weaknesses.” You will only be able to form good habits if these habits align with your unique combination of strengths.

Why Should You Get a Copy of Atomic Habits?

Good habit formation is crucial for becoming your best self. Goal setting is great but how will you achieve those goals if you have not formed the right habits. Atomic Habits is the bible of good habit formation. It has all you need to know to truly excel at using your strengths to improve your life. Applying the principles will be challenging. However, you will see remarkable changes in your life if you stick to it.

Tiny changes = Remarkable results

Read the book! I guarantee you won’t regret it!


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