What I Learned from “Atomic Habits” by James Clear
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
In my previous video on the book 5 second rule, I said that the habit of using the rule for success is vital, if you want to accomplish things even if your gut says you don’t want to. The 5 second rule is a motivation hack because it is a habit. When starting yourself improvement journey, almost everybody say that habits are one of the essential keys to recreate yourself. But Why? Well we are creatures of habit and just mastering how you handle your habits will bring you a long way. If you are looking for a book that tackles how to deal with your habits the scientific way, then this book, the Atomic Habits by James Clear is a good place to start.
Here is the book summary of the book Atomic Habits:
Atomic Habits teaches that habits continuously done over time will make remarkable results. Just 1% everyday will make you 30x better in just a year. This book makes habit making so much easier for everyone who wants to improve themselves.
The good thing about habit is that no matter how small it seems, if you do it continuously over time, it will make remarkable results. That’s this book, Atomic habits is all about. Atomic means small. It emphasizes on just 1% better each day for a year will make you 30x better.
Imagine being 30x better in just a year. Imagine how much your body and mind will change. Even small things such as 5 minutes exercise each morning will give great results for your future. It is even said that exercise changes your brain for better learning. Using that increased learning power overtime, will turn you into a better person in even a few months to come. Same with sleeping on time, as I said in one of my other video on the book “Why We Sleep“, sleeping on time and taking it seriously looks nothing at start, but the numerous benefits such as cognitive and health benefits it can give makes it a good habit to make yourself better. There are numerous good habits you can add to make yourself better, or bad habits you can reduce and it will make the same results.
Small things makes good results. Right now, you might be on the mood to make a new habit to change your life. You might be motivated to do it. Before you start, let me make a warning. Motivation is temporary. You might be motivated now to start, but without the system to make it stick, it won’t work. So let me start discussing how to use motivation to kickstart your habit making routine. Motivation is temporary, you might be motivated right now but after a week, you’ll come back to what you are doing before. So use your motivation wisely. As the author said in the book, habits are hard to stick by at the start, but in the long run, it will be easier and you will even look for it. Like me, I am always looking to study new vocabulary everyday because I made it a habit to do it everyday for about a year now.
If you think that the first thing you need to do is to do the habit you want with your motivation, you are wrong. The first thing you need to do is to remove or add things that makes habits easier to do it in the long run. For example, if you want to remove alcohol from your bad habits, then throw all of those away from your house. If you want to quit sugar, then don’t put somewhere you can’t see them. If you want to start eating healthy, then put fruits on your table. Make things obvious. Change your environment to make it easier for your habits to stick.
Why is this the case, people who you think have great willpower is not what you think it is. This 2016 study states that people who are more successful tend to use less willpower than the average. Why is this the case? We have limited supply and willpower. Sure you can increase it by some practices, something I will discuss on the book willpower instinct, So the better way is to just use willpower only when necessary. This means if you are like me, who loves playing games but affects my work, it is just better to uninstall those games. That way, I won’t think of it anymore. Even if I think of it, since it is not in my computer, I won’t be bothered by them.
To help you make a decision what to change in your environment, let me discuss the famous habit loop that is also mentioned in the book. The habit loop consist of 4 parts. Every habit has them. They have the Cue, The Craving, The Response and the Reward. To help you understand this, let’s make this as an example. Let’s say you are walking and you smelled bread from the bakery store. The cue is the smell, the craving is that you want to get buy that bread even if you did not plan to, the response is you ate it and the reward is that you felt good eating it. Same with smoking. The cue is when you are stressed, the craving is you want to smoke. the response is you smoke, the reward is you are satisfied. Why is this habit loop important? Because here is where you will find out what to do. Whatever habit you want to add or remove, you can use this formula.
To add a good habit on cue, you need to make it obvious. Put fruits on your table if you want to eat healthy. Put your running shoes somewhere visible to start exercising. Remove unhealthy foods from your sight.
On craving, you have to make it attractive. This is where habit stacking comes to play. habit stacking is using the things you like to be with habits you want to make. For example, because I love coffee, I make myself a good cup of coffee whenever I finish the 20/20/20 formula. If you are wondering about the formula, I will make a video about it soon. So make sure to subscribe, hit the notification bell to get notified when it comes up.
On response, make it easy. You don’t need to do an hour session each day at the gym, just do 5 minutes and do it continuously. The great thing about habit is that by doing it consistently even if just a little, it will become easier in the future. Do not force yourself, make things easy to do so you it will be a habit. As the book said, small things repeatedly done over time is key.
On reward, make it satisfying. Reward yourself when you do good habits. I know someone who made it a thing to do 10 pushups every time he use swear words. It came to the point where he is so tired that he successfully removed the habit of using bad words.
That’s it, to make habits stick and to remove the bad ones, that is the formula. Use the habit loop to your advantage. It worked for a lot of people and it might also work for you. But there is one more thing I want to say in this book that helped me be better. That is we are not perfect. We are human. There will be times that we will fail, that we failed to do the habits we want to take. Here is the thing. Successful people also fail. But what separates them from others is that even if they fall, they just get back fast. The faster you rebound from a slump, the better you’ll be. Do not get discourage by failing. WE ALL FAIL. We all have bad days. It’s normal to have a bad day. Just as I also said in my article about the Four Agreements. We just have to stand back up and do it again. Over time, it will be easier and easier until you made a habit that will bring you slowly to your life goals. Thanks for watching and see you in the next video.