Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

Perfect for: Building good habits, Breaking bad ones

Length: 320 pages

Depth: Fun to read and try his methods as you go

About the Book

The Basics:

The book first begins by explaining the scientific process of a habit including the cue, craving, process and reward. Then it dives into learning how to break bad habits, start new habits or improve old ones.

All the Feels:

I loved this book because the author provides many different ways to change your habits. He doesn’t swear by one method, instead, he offers about 20 different actionable techniques to improve your habits.

My Main Takeaway(s):

The best way to make a habit stick is to change your identity, not your behavior. The goal is not to run a marathon, it is to become a runner. Every action is a vote for the type of person you want to become.


The habit loop

  1. Cue – triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. A bit of information that predicts a reward. Ex: you wake up
  2. Craving – motivational force to change your internal state and receive a reward. Ex: you want to feel alert
  3. Response – thought or action you perform. Ex: you drink coffee
  4. Reward – end goal that satisfies us and our craving. Ex: you satisfy your craving to feel alert. Drinking coffee becomes associated with waking up.


4 laws of behavior change (build new habit ||| break old habits)

  1. Cue: make it obvious ||| make it invisible
  2. Craving: make it attractive ||| make it unattractive
  3. Response: make it easy ||| make it difficult
  4. Reward: make it satisfying ||| make it unsatisfying


  1. Make the Habit Obvious

(Actionable) Habit Scorecard:

Make a list of your daily morning habits. For each action, rate it positive, negative or neutral. Does this action help bring you closer to the person you want to be?

Implementation Intention:

the two most obvious cues are time and location. Therefore to make a new habit obvious, you should make a specific plan of when to perform a behavior and begin to build a new habit. I will behavior at time in location.

Habit Stacking:

Use one of your current habits as a cue for your new habit. For example, say you want to begin meditating. You brush your teeth every morning. Therefore after brushing your teeth, you will immediately meditate for 5 minutes. The cue for your meditation practice is now finishing brushing your teeth.

Design your environment:

Self-control and will power is a short term strategy, you are better optimizing your environment and avoiding having to use self-control altogether. Makes the cues of your good habits obvious and the cues of your bad habits invisible.

  1. Make the Habit Attractive

Temptation Bundling:

Link an action you want to do, with an action you need to do. Ex: binge watching Netflix while riding a stationary bike.

Culture Surroundings:

Join a group or culture where your desired behavior is the norm. Ex: joining a workout class makes you part of a community where it is normal to be in shape.

Motivation Rituals:

Do something you enjoy directly before doing a difficult habit. This is a form of habit stacking.

Reframe your Mindset:

Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habit. Ex: if you smoke cigarettes, list out the benefits of not smoking such as better stamina, more money, etc.

  1. Make the Habit Easy

Don’t Overplan, Dive In:

The most effective form of learning is practice not planning. Focus on taking action, even if it’s not perfect. The number of times you perform a habit is more important than the amount of time you perform it.

Prime Your Environment:

Prepare ahead of time to make practicing a good habit frictionless. Ex: want to eat healthier? Prepare healthy meals ahead of time and store them in your fridge so they are convenient and ready to eat when hunger strikes.

2 Minute Rule:

When you start a new habit, it should be no longer than 2 minutes. This makes it less daunting and more likely you will do it every day. Once you are in the routine of initiating the habit, it will be easy to add time on and make it longer.

  1. Make the Habit Satisfying

Mismatch of Reward Timing:

Good habits are hard now but provide benefits in the future. Bad habits are easy now but have a detrimental impact in the long run. In general, anything that delivers instant gratification should be questioned.

Add Some Instant Gratification to Your Good Habits:

Give yourself an immediate reward anytime you complete a good habit or avoid a bad one. For example, every time you pass on junk food, add a dollar to a savings account.

Habit Tracking:

Keep a calendar and put an X on each day that complete the habit. It uses a visual stimulus to keep you focused on the process and not the results. Don’t break the chain!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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