Book Summary

Atomic Habits by James Clear, Summary of a Best Seller

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

Atomic Habits is a book that is impressive in itself. Even I never thought this books so deep with its concept which is very simple in thought. But when it comes to deep studying the concept. It takes to a whole different level, or I can say the surprising power of atomic habits.

This book was published on 16 of October in 2018. On Amazon, more than 50 K people have rated it. The book contains 20 chapters based on Effects of habits and how they can change the course of life.

This Atomic book explains how small habits that look simple contains a compounding power. That can affect our lives greatly. The book says breaking bad habits can take the wrong direction because of our wrong system. In our life we might underestimate building good habits but when it compounds in long term it would have a long-lasting effect.

After writing summary on 7 habits of highly effective people, I have come to this topic since I found it attractive.

The Surprising Power of Atomic Habits

Small changes can lead to big results. Habits can be compounding value of self-improvement. As most people earn compound interest in monetary terms.

1 percent is a lot –

We think to change our habits we need a big step, but it is not the case always. Small things can bring big change. 1 % change in 1 year becomes a 365% change. It is our choice to go with positive or negative. Let us take the example of group of athlete. Even if we improve training by little things such as quality of training machines, Organic food, there would be an improvement in performance.

So it is all time that magnifies the success or failure in the person.

How Habits shape your Identity

There are two things known as positive compounding as well as negative compounding. Positive compounding is achieved by productivity, knowledge and relationship, whereas negative compounding is caused by stress and negative thoughts. And all these things are part of your system.

So, if you do not rise up to the level of your goals, you might fall to the level of your system.

4 ways to build better habits for atomic change

Habits are part of the human system, and effective habits can even change the way we think. Habits are just a set of behavior that becomes automatic.

The loop of habit

The loop of atomic habits have four parts in a loop, first one is cue which cause craving, which led us to reward. The reward ends the craving. Then again we start with the cue.

Creating a good habit

  • 1st Law- Make it Obvious (Cue)
  • 2nd Law- Make it attractive (Craving)
  • 3rd Law- Make it easy (Response)
  • 4th Law- Make it satisfying (Reward)

How to break a bad habit

  • 1st Law- Make it Invisible (Cue)
  • 2nd Law- Make it unattractive (Craving)
  • 3rd Law- Make it difficult (Response)
  • 4th Law- Make it unsatisfying (Reward)
james clear atomic habits summary

The 1st Law: Make It Obvious (Atomic habits)

This first law says the cue that starts are craving become so encoded in our daily habits that we do it without even knowing it. The snacks on our kitchen counter, T.V remote on our couch, etc.

The Man who didn’t look right

Man should first examine his habits and judge whether it would help him or not in upcoming future. For building good habits, we need enough practice of it so that it becomes automatic. But for creating atomic habits one must be very aware of their action since it is a part of us. Self awareness is a basic foundation for forming habits.

The author also discusses a habit scorecard to support in this endeavor.

The best way to start a new habit

The first law of behavior change is to make it obvious to example, people lack clarity but they think they lack in motivation. Then comes habit stacking, where you can pain an old habit with the new habit. The formula for this is very simple, “After I [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

For example, after you pour tea in your cup, you plank for 30 seconds before drinking it. Or you can meditate after playing a session of video game. So, it explains the importance of creating from the old.

Motivation is overrated — environment often matters more

People always think motivation is the key, and it is even taught in business schools. Off course, motivation empowers our will power, but it is still is overrated. That is why many people think offline classes education was better than online classes. Motivation is there, but the environment also matters.

Build habits by changing the environment. There is a reason why restaurants have great ambience, that is because environment matters a lot.

The secret to self Control (atomic habits)

Here the author says one do not have to essentially resist or temptations for self-control. Just build the environment around yourself so that everything becomes easy. And in the long run we would become the product of our environment.

The 2nd Law: Make it Attractive

After one get the cue to act upon it. Think about the reward of developing a good habit, it would sure make a habit attractive.

How to make a habit Irresistible (Atomic habit)

The author says that dopamine does not only increase with pleasure, but also with the anticipation of it. Let us take the example of a drug addict person who gets dopamine not only by the consumption of this harmful thing but only by seeing it.

So, one should have the reward benefits in mind so that a habit become attractive and irresistible at the same time.

The role of family and friends in shaping your habits

It is very common and observable in our daily lives. We tend to follow others around us in shaping our habits. Children are warned by their elders to have a good company, so they can have good habits. People follow culture learned from their parents.

Following a culture or being with the organization, club or group of people might change your habits, and it could work as a shortcut. People who join fitness groups might see a change in their motivation levels in no time towards fitness and health.

How to Find and Fix the Causes of Your Bad Habits

Atomic habits by James Clear mentions the concept of always linking positive feeling with your habits. For example, always while running in morning do not feel you’re just running in empty space but feel that you are building your fitness up.

Always find the positivity of reward and not just hardness while exercising your habit.

The 3rd Law: Make It Easy (Atomic Habits)

The biggest trick in it is making it easy on yourself and believing in action. Motion make us feel the progress, so we feel less about chances of failure.

Walk Slowly, But Never Backward

It is very simple, practice your good habits and do not seek how much time you spent, but the important part is how many times you practiced it. Practice your habits, and it will automatically be embedded in your personality.

The Law of Least Effort (Atomic Habits)

The idea is to reduce the friction in your life. Simplifying things by making your environment easy. In an easy environment, more can be done. Making things easy would also pay in the long run. Make following good habits easier and bad habits difficult by increasing friction.

How to Stop Procrastinating by Using the Two-Minute Rule

The two-minute rule states that start from small and build through time. Practice two minutes the base of the habit and make it advance through steps. For example, to be a vegan first avoid a category of animal and in second step avoid another category of animal then go on till you avoid all animal products.

How to Make Good Habits Inevitable and Bad Habits Impossible

This needs a strong commitment. Focus on the base of developing good habits and breaking bad habits. Like phone habits, there are certain things you can do to build good habits, like move news app to the home screen and remove social media apps. Use grayscale to decrease your interest in mobile phones.

The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying

The concept says what is important is rewarded and what is punishing must be avoided. The 4rth law is focused on increases the chances of following habits that are rewarding.

The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change

In simple words, we prioritize things on the basis of rewards. We tend to repeat things that are rewarding and leave things that cause us to lose. Rewards make it satisfying, for example take a pledge to have a candy after homework. For kids, it would work as the reward is candy and would make a habit of doing homework punctually.

How to Stick with Good Habits Every Day (Atomic Habits)

The first thing I explained was compounding habits. One should go with the motion and be punctual in creating habits as some bad days would be covered by the good days. For example, do exercise daily and if someday there was a bad workout it would be covered with a good workout.


Check out the book Atomic Habits on Amazon – Atomic Habits

Check out the book Atomic Habits on Amazon in India – Atomic Habits

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