Monday, 17 February 2020

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear


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BOOK DESCRIPTION
The instant New York Times bestsellerOver 1 million copies sold!

Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results


No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field.

Learn how to:
    make time for new habits (even when life gets crazy);
    overcome a lack of motivation and willpower;
    design your environment to make success easier;
    get back on track when you fall off course;
...and much more.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits--whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.

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Release date 


OCTOBER 16, 2018



MY REVIEW

I've read a lot of books on changing behavior and building habits and James Clear's Atomic Habits is my new favorite. This book is different from others in the way it covers an enormous amount of ground in the larger area of self-improvement while seamlessly tying all these ideas back into the central theme of habits.

One of the core concepts in Atomic Habits is to focus on the small improvement. The impact a 1% improvement per day can make may appear negligible at first, but Clear makes a compelling argument that in the case of habits, thinking small produces the biggest results over time. "Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement," explains Clear.

Over the months and years, the accumulated effect of small habitual daily behaviors is staggering. Early in the book we are also warned that this compounding works both ways, so we'd better make sure we're making it work in the positive direction, not for the negative.

This is a concept I was introduced to years ago under a different name - Kaizen - the Japanese term for continuous incremental improvement. What's different and new in this book is how the concept is applied specifically to building habits.

I found the information introduced in chapter two about behavior change at the identity level to be spot-on. You're also given a simple two-step process for changing your identity and this one idea alone is incredibly powerful.

In chapter three, we are introduced to the habit loop - cue, craving, response, reward - and we learn how to build good habits in 4 simple steps and break bad habits in 4 simple steps.

One of those steps to habit formation, which goes hand in hand with the 1% concept, is how to make it not only small, but easy. In the chapters that follow, this is exactly what you find out.

Other ideas of great value that stood out included, habit stacking (the best way to form a new habit), habit tracking, habit shaping and how to design your environment - physical and social - for habit building success. You learn the truth about self-control, how to stop procrastinating and how to use implementation intentions, temptation bundling and motivational rituals. The book is simply packed with actionable ideas, tactics and strategies.

Virtually every idea in the book is useful and resonated with me. While I may not agree that we should "forget about goals," I agree with one of Clear's core principles in the book - that we must develop systems for change. If we only focus on goals and don't develop systems and a focus on the process, we risk falling into a number of goal-related traps which ultimately lead to stagnation. With the right systems, we're rewarded with continuous improvement on a lifelong journey of success.

Another difference between Atomic Habits and other books in this genre is that while it's based on science it doesn't bog you down with unnecessary details of the research. Clear's book is intensely practical, giving you a huge toolkit of organized and named strategies you can apply immediately to create and strengthen positive habits and stop the negative ones.

The book is conversational, and includes many interesting stories, making it easy to read - and hard to put down (I read it cover to cover in one day).

It's possible this might become your most highlighted personal improvement book because every page is so chocked full of memorable and quotable gems of advice.

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