Atomic Habits: Summary

Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits o Atomic Habits (2018) is a book whose publication in Spanish mail by the publisher Diana (Planet Group). In English she carried it out Penguin Random House. His actor, James Clear, has revolutionized with his book all the people who thought that changing habits was an impossible task since the time of its publication four years ago. Even today the book remains in bookstores as one of the best sellers and it is easy to find it at a glance in stores and shopping malls.

Atomic Habits It is a highly recognized best seller and appreciated by experts in time management, productivity and personal development.. His method can be applied to any area of ​​life. It is for all those who are concerned about learning how to improve their lives, how to generate good habits and routines in their daily lives, for the skeptics, for those who have tried everything and have thrown in the towel or for those who have not yet started. . That there is always a second chance. And here we tell you the most important of its reading so that you are encouraged. There is still a lot of summer ahead.

The book: Atomic Habits

The power of habits

Habits by themselves do nothing. First, James Clear clarifies that it is not easy to follow good habits, much less maintain them and he talks about this until the end of the book. As with any of these types of books, don't expect a single, easy solution.

Second, isolated habits do not offer changes, visible, at least. Hence this "atomic" thing. A small change or step can result in something great in the long run. The problem is also that we wait as soon as possible to obtain results.

These are fundamental ideas in the book. However, the fact of starting an action and then continuing it can give us changes at the cognitive level that promote repetition. Namely, if we repeat many times an action becomes a habit.

An atom is a very small particle, so is an isolated action. But if the atoms concentrate and unite, they become matter, an organism, and even form galaxies. The same thing happens with habits. A habit can become indestructible and Atomic habits is a guide for make us strong in our daily habits.

habits and identity

Are we the ones who make the habit or does the habit make us? How is this? Well, James Clear explains that what we do wrong is that we focus on the results that we would obtain if we successfully carry out our habits. But where we have to focus is on changing our identity. Namely, we have to create habits based on identity, not in the results.

Clear proposes that we focus on who we want to be, not in what we want to get. This includes our scale of values, the perception we have of ourselves and our beliefs. If we visualize ourselves with coherence between what we are and what we make then the change will take place in a much more fluid way and, the most important, will last in time.

James Clear he talks about implementing habits throughout his book, but also about getting rid of habits that are harmful. Therefore, defining ourselves should help us to acquire new and good habits and put an end to old and bad ones. The author says that "progress requires unlearning what has been learned."

However, we should not place all our trust and own credibility in a single identity. At the end of the book, Clear warns that a part of our identity cannot monopolize everything that we are, because if due to life circumstances we must expand and grow in continuous improvement, our inflexibility can cause the loss of identity and sink us. To avoid a situation like this, James Clear recommends a less airtight definition. For example, if you're a doctor, don't say "I'm a doctor," but "I'm the kind of person who helps people and empathizes with them under any circumstances."

Man climbing

The Four Laws

Atomic Habits It is divided into 20 chapters, conclusion and appendix. The first three chapters are introductory and the last three are a reminder to improve once the desired habits have been achieved. During most of the reading, the so-called Four Laws of Behavior Change are explained., because we remember that the acquisition of habits is given by the change of perspective and the adoption of the identity of the individual. Likewise, Habits develop through four phases: 1) signal; 2) longing; 3) response; 4) reward. The Laws are:

  • First Law: make it obvious. It corresponds to the signal.
  • Second Law: make it attractive. It belongs to the longing.
  • Third Law: keep it simple. Is the answer.
  • Fourth Law: Make It Satisfying. It has to do with the reward.

James Clear explains it like this: when you become aware that you can change something in your routine you can use different signals to help you implement a habit. Time and space will be essential (at a certain time and in a pleasant space you can start a new habit). Next you want to get going and motivation will be your best friend to start working; your habit will become attractive by connecting it with other attractive actions.

Likewise, if you make the habit easy to execute, it will be much more likely that you will do it. The last law is related to the satisfaction produced by the repetition of the habit over time. The pleasure of doing the habit will be its own reward.

These four laws can be reversed. That is, just as a habit can be made obvious, attractive, simple and satisfying, the opposite can also be pursued if we want to abandon a custom: make it invisible, unattractive, difficult and unsatisfactory.

Practical exercises

Next we will expose some of the techniques that James Clear encourages us to use to successfully create new routines. You can find them in their website and from here we also encourage you to subscribe to their newsletter weekly.

  • Keep track of habits.
  • Implementation Intent Formula: I will do [CONDUCT] at [TIME] at [PLACE].
  • Habit Accumulation Formula: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will do [NEW HABIT].
  • La two minute rule It consists of choosing one action or another at one time of the day. That may mean doing something positive that matches your identity and is consistent, or giving up and not doing what you knew you had to do that day. However, once you start it (for two minutes) you will have done what you really needed to do. They are the good and the bad choices.
  • Habit accumulation formula plus habit history: After [CURRENT HABIT], I go to [REGISTER MY HABIT].
  • Make a contract of habits. In this way, you will create a contract with someone else. The commitment will be with you and with another person that you choose and that will help you in your task.

easy or easy

Conclusions: what to do with your habits when you have already acquired them?

Of course, to achieve excellence in an area you need to work hard. However, a habit by itself sometimes does not bear the desired fruit. And it is that once a habit has been implemented and fully automated in our day to day, we need to review it periodically. And this is what the author recommends doing. Because improvements can always be made to help us keep moving forward when we think we are no longer capable of overcoming ourselves.

On the other hand, we sometimes believe that only talented people can achieve glory. But neither talent nor intelligence are of much use if we do not take action. Of course we are conditioned by, for example, our biology and genetics, and also by our personality. For this reason, we must seek an identity according to our abilities, and habits that help us develop it based on what is easiest for us, what creates less resistance. This is intrinsically related to the Third Law (keep it simple). Genetics of course is not everything, but we must accept the gifts that have been given to us and exploit them in the best way.

And lastly, and surely the most important, the role of motivation in routines. It is easy to get down to work when a person is motivated. Anyone can do it. But only the most outstanding people (at whatever they do) are capable of continuing to work when they don't feel like it. Overcoming the boredom of repeating the same habit makes exactly the difference. James Clear concludes that this separates the amateurs from the professionals.

Some notes about the author

James Clear (Hamilton, Ohio) is an expert in creating long-term habits. He had to overcome his own identity change when his career as a baseball player ended and he needed to define himself again. He is considered a benchmark in his field and collaborates in different media, in addition to giving lectures.

Most of his time he writes and has an interesting newsletter on a website that receives two million visits a month. Their newsletter comes out every thursday3-2-1 Tuesday) and adds new tips and ideas to improve our routines and our lives, in short. his book, Atomic Habits (336 pages) has sold over four million copies worldwide and can be supplemented with habit diary (240 pages) that you can buy here.

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