Yesterday I shared with you my notes from reading Order From Chaos.

I found it helpful writing out those notes, so I thought I’d try again with another book!

I just finished Atomic Habits by James Clear today. It’s a super sonic bestseller – over 3 million copies now sold. I’ve seen it around quite a bit the last few years, and decided to grab a copy a few months ago because I was wanting to improve my habits.

I think it was a great book. HOWEVER… I am unsure yet whether I:
a) can remember anything from it (thus me reviewing my notes here)
b) will actually do anything differently from it.

I’ll let you know over time if it does make a big difference in habit formation & keeping!

In the meantime, here’s my notes!

  • Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years. With better habits, anything is possible.
  • British Cycling made massive gains in improvement by aggregating marginal gains… possibly. It may also be due to the fact they were doping.
  • Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Improving by 1% can compound over time. What starts as a small win can accumulate into something much more. Habits are the compound interest of self improvement.
  • The effects of habits multiply as you repeat them.
  • Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits.
  • Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Focus on systems.
  • Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.
  • Ask yourself “Who is the type of person that could get the outcome that I want?” i.e. “What would a healthy person do?”
  • You don’t need to be perfect. Your goal is simply to win the majority of the time with good habits over bad.
  • Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.
  • Without good health habits, you will always be short on energy.
  • A habit is a behaviour that has been repeated enough times to become automatic.
  • The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of life as little energy and effort as possible.
  • The Four Laws of Behaviour Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits
    1) make it obvious
    2) make it attractive
    3) make it easy
    4) make it satisfying
  • Habit stack by pairing a new habit with an existing habit.
  • Make the cues of good habits obvious in your environment.
  • People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than resist it.
  • One of the most practical ways to eliminate a bad habit is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.
  • Self-control is a short-term strategy, not a long-term one.
  • Make the cues of bad habits invisible.
  • Temptation Bundling: bundle a necessary habit with something enjoyable. For example, listen to podcasts or voicemails only while walking.
  • Habits are attractive when we associate them with positive feelings, and unattractive when we associate them with negative feelings.
  • Quantity of creating breeds quality.
  • The most effective form of learning is practice, not planning.
  • Make the good habit the path of least resistance.
    Reduce friction and obstacles between you and good habits.
    Increase friction and obstacles between you and bad habits.
  • Create an environment when doing the right thing is as easy as possible.
  • When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do.
  • The point is to master the habit of turning up.
  • Victor Hugo had a book to write… so he locked up all his clothes and only left himself with a shawl. That way he couldn’t leave the house and needed to just write the book instead. Ha!
  • The ultimate way to lock in future behaviour is to automate your habits.
  • You are more likely to repeat a behaviour when it is satisfying.
  • What is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided.
  • The costs of good habits is in the present.
    The costs of bad habits are in the future.
  • Make things satisfying using habit trackers, visual reminders of progress, money thermometers etc.
  • If you miss a day try to get back on track as soon as possible.
  • When you create an overarching goal, break it down into shorter priorities or phases and then daily habits to achieve that.
  • Give yourself unpalatable consequences if you don’t follow through on something.
  • Have an accountability partner or be public about your goals.
  • The Big 5 Personality Traits
    1) Openness to new experiences
    2) Conscientiousness
    3) Extroversion
    4) Agreeableness
    5) Neuroticism
  • The Big 5 Personality Traits have biological underpinnings. For example: neuroticism = hypersensitivity of the amygdala.
  • Exploit/explore tradeoff
    If winning or attaining the goal you want = keep exploiting current methods. Exploit exploit exploit.
    If losing or not attaining the goal you want = explore new methods. Explore explore explore.
  • A good player works hard to win the game everyone else is playing. A great player creates a new game that favours their strengths and avoids their weaknesses. Play a game that favours your strengths.
  • Goldilocks Rule: set goals that are a stretch, but not unattainable. (i.e. not too hot, not too cold).
  • Have a system for reflection and review to have continuous improvements over a career.
  • Review
    a) what went well
    b) what didn’t go well
    c) what did I learn.

Hope this was useful in some way!

I read 90% of books on Kindle, and refer to my saved highlights & notes that are automatically added to my Goodreads account. Sometimes when I really want to study a book however, I get it in paperback.

I read this book in paperback format, and studied it like a textbook with highlighters & pens.

Happy learning my loves!

Big hugs,