Posted in Books, Life

Books I’ve Read: Atomic Habits by James Clear


Sometimes there’s a message that the universe is trying to send you, and it just keeps appearing over and over and over again. I feel like one of those things for me is that I need to work on my habits– or lack thereof in some cases. Why? Because James Clear is everywhere, and his book Atomic Habits is constantly in my periphery.

I’m reading through the book for the second time currently, trying to substitute absorbing the idea that tiny changes, additions, and subtractions can lead to outsized results for time spent on my phone, mindlessly scrolling. Many of the podcasts I listen to have interviewed him; he’s frequently quoted; and the wisdom he doles out not only in his book but also in his weekly newsletter is both obvious and thought-provoking. The book is also tremendously quotable, with so many actionable tips.

Quotes and Tips from Atomic Habits:

  • Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
  • Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
  • You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” (My personal favorite)
  • Make the habits you want to establish attractive and visible
  • Make the habits you want to break unattractive and invisible
  • Start with the smallest possible action toward your desired habit (i.e., if you want to start a running habit, begin by just putting on your shoes every day)

Reading his book is so easy. While he’s using information from academic studies and scientific experiments, Clear makes it so easy to not only take in but also apply these ideas and actions to hack your brain and overhaul your habits.

Perhaps the best thing about Atomic Habits? The gateway behaviors are so, so small. Writing a book is a huge undertaking. Writing a sentence? Not so much. Strength training routine? Hard, takes a lot of time and work at the gym. Doing one pushup? Quick (and maybe easy. Maybe…). Dieting and meal prepping? So much effort and coordination. Moving those potato chips to a cabinet you can’t reach without pulling out a step ladder or chair? Pretty easy. But the more you do these small things, and the more of these small things you do, the more results they bring. I’ve talked before about habits (here) and the importance of marginal gains. James Clear really brings those two ideas together for immediate practice in everyday life.

If you’re looking to regain control of your life and add in healthy, positive habits and routines while removing not so pleasant or useful ones, I absolutely recommend Atomic Habits. I’m ready to buckle down and put it to work myself. You can buy it here. I hope you’ll join me!