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My Reasons

Atomic Habits by James Clear is a New York Times bestsellers. This famous book caught my attention during the pandemic. It was becoming increasingly difficult for me to balance my professional and personal work during this time. While I am not a fan of ‘self-help’ books, I really want to improve my daily routine, so I want to give this book a try. Honestly, I am still far from having an ideal routine, but after reading this book, I know my strengths and areas for improvement, and I have clarity about where I need to improve. Additionally, I was caught by the tagline

Tiny changes, remarkable results

How can small changes in our routine impact our long-term goals? In order to understand these things, I chose the book.

The Lesson Learned

“Atomic Habits” is a practical guide on how to form and maintain good habits and break bad ones. The author draws on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics to explain why habits are so powerful and how we can use this knowledge to make positive changes in our lives.

It begins by examining why tiny changes make a big difference, the intent behind the name - ‘Atomic Habits’ is :

Habits are like the atoms of our lives.Each one is a fundamental unit that contributes to your overall improvement

The author discussed how incremental changes are often underestimated when we focus on big goals. Examples were provided that illustrated how habits can compound and work against you.

The author argues that our habits are often a reflection of our identity. In other words, if we want to change our habits, we need to change our sense of self. For example, instead of saying “I want to lose weight,” say “I am the type of person who makes healthy choices.”

One of the interesting things I have learned is The science of habit formation, it can be broken down into four stages, known as the habit loop, it consists:

  1. Cue: This is the trigger that prompts the habit. Cues can be anything that your brain associates with a particular behavior or activity. For example, seeing a donut might be a cue for you to eat it, or hearing your phone buzz might be a cue for you to check your messages.
  2. Craving: They are the motivational force behind every habit. Without some level of motivation or desire, we have no reason to act. What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers. For example, you do not crave smoking a cigarette, you crave the feeling of relief it provides.
  3. Response: This is the actual habit you perform which can take the form of a thought, or an action.
  4. Reward: This is the positive outcome that you get from engaging in the habit. Rewards can be physical, emotional, or psychological. For example, the reward for eating a donut might be the taste and feeling of satisfaction that comes from eating something sweet and indulgent.

If the behavior is insufficient in any of the four stages, it will not become a habit. Without the first three, a behavior will not occur and without all four behavior will not be repeated. In summary :

cue triggers a craving which motivates a response, which provides a reward

This four-step process is not something that happens occasionally, but rather it is an endless feedback loop that is running and active during every moment you are alive.

This habit loop laid the foundation of Four laws of behavior change,which are:

Make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying

Make it Obvious : The author suggests that to develop a new habit, it’s important to make it obvious and visible. This can be done by using cues, such as placing your gym clothes next to your bed or setting an alarm to remind you to take a break from work. Making your habits more visible can help your brain recognize and remember them, making it easier to stick to them over time.

Make it attractive : To develop a new habit, make it more enjoyable by linking it to something you already like. For instance, exercise while listening to music if you enjoy it. Or, join a group or find an accountability partner to make it more social. By making your habits more enjoyable, you increase the likelihood of sticking to them long-term.

Make it Easy : The author suggests that to develop a new habit, helps to make it easy to do. This can be done by breaking it down into smaller, manageable steps and reducing the barriers to starting. To make a habit easier, use the Two-Minute Rule. This means making the first two minutes of a new habit as easy as possible. For example, if you want to start meditating daily, start with two-minute meditations instead of longer ones. This will make it easier to get started. Overall, by making a habit easier to start and maintain, you increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with it over time and make it a part of your daily routine.

Make it satisfying : Making a habit rewarding and satisfying is essential to maintaining it in the long run. Keeping track of your progress and celebrating your successes along the way can help you achieve this. You can also reward yourself for completing a task right away, such as with a small treat or a break afterward. It becomes easier to maintain habits over time when you reinforce the positive feelings associated with them.

Last Word

“Atomic Habits” is an essential read for those seeking lasting, positive change in their lives. James Clear’s evidence-based approach to habit formation breaks the process down into easy-to-understand steps. His engaging writing style makes it enjoyable to read. “Atomic Habits” provides actionable advice and insights that will help improve your health, productivity, or relationships, and achieve your goals to build a better life.

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