Atomic Habits by James Clear – Book Highlights

Atomic Habits by James Clear book review
Injured on the couch, reading, house-sitting a friends house and their therapy dog Jimi :)

At the start of this year, and after I fractured my other arm/shoulder, I found myself in a bit of a funk and needed to get out of it. I used to read business books all the time when I ran my agency for 3 years, but somehow recently fell out of the habit over the last 5 years or so… That changed when a book recommendation came from someone I respect, Atomic Habits by James Clear, was the book… and it was my first time reading anything by this author.

Although I don’t consider myself as someone who has a lot of bad habits, I understand the value of building good ones, and this seemed like the perfect book to reinspire me out of the funk and on a pathway to a better place and give me direction in the new year.

I took a ton of notes while reading, so for this post, I’ll just list those under the chapter as inspiration for anyone who might think they could also benefit from reading the whole book.

Please excuse some of those notes might be a bit caveman speak, and maybe listed under the wrong chapter but you’ll get the idea. I like doing these types of posts because it’s nice for me to come back and reflect on them after some time and be re-inspired as I do with The Win Without Pitching Manifested by Blair Enns review I wrote.

Chapter 1

  • Importance of regular/weekly publishing.
  • Overcoming setbacks
  • Fulfilling my potential
  • Cue, Craving, Respoinse, Reward
    • stimulus, response, reward
    • cue, routine, reward
  • Lifelong learning
  • Knowledge compounds
    • Stress compounds
    • Negative thoughts compound
    • Outrage compounds
  • Stick with it through the valley of disappointment.
  • All about the process that leads to the goal.
  • Fix inputs, outputs will fix themselves.
  • Longterm thinking, should be goalless thinking
    • endless refinement & continuous improvement
  • You fall to the level of your systems

Chapter 2

  • True behavior change is identity change
  • Identitiy = Repeated Beingness
  • First, decide the type of person I want to be
  • Second, prove it to myself with small wins
  • Who is the type of person that could get those results?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • You become your habits

Chapter 3

  • Cue, craving, response, reward – repeat. Habit Loop.
  • Problem Phase 1. Cue 2. Craving
  • Solution Phase 3. Response 4. Reward
  • 4 laws of behavior change
    • Make it obvious
    • Make it attractive
    • Make it easy
    • Make it satisfying

Chapter 4

  • Make it obvious
  • The human brain is a prediction machine
  • Does this habit help me become the person I want to be? (identity)
  • Awareness. Pointing & calling.

Chapter 5

  • Implementation intention
    • When X happens, I will Y
  • Habit Stacking
    • Need a shower? Go to the gym.

Chapter 6

  • Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.
  • The context is the cue
    • New environment, no old cues.

Chapter 7

  • You feel bad, you eat junk food, which makes you feel bad.
  • Optimize your environment.
  • Make the cues of your good habits obvious and the cues of your bad habits invisible.
  • It’s easier to avoid temptation than resist it.

Chapter 8

  • Temptation Bundling + Habit Stacking

Chapter 9

  • A genius is not born but educated and trained.
  • We imitate the habits of:
    • The close
    • The many
    • The powerful
  • Shared Quest: Nothing sustains motivation better than belonging to a tribe.

Chapter 10

  • Underlying motives

Chapter 11

  • We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.

Chapter 12

  • The law of least effort
    • Remove the kink int he hose vs. turn up water
  • Addition by subtracting
  • Make it easy

Chapter 13

  • Two-minute rule
  • Once you’ve started doing the right thing it’s easier to keep doing it.
  • Read one page…

Chapter 15

  • The costs of your good habits are in the present, the costs of bad habits are in the future.

Chapter 16

  • Paperclip Strategy


You can see my notes got a little thinner near the end as I was sort of getting the point. I’m really happy I was recommended this book, and I know I’ll look back on the lessons learned and my notes here to improve my life.

When I broke my arm early in the ski season this year I had a bit of an identity crisis as I build my life around Snowboarding, and that was taken away from me with this injury. This book helped me get past that by recognizing my identity as not just a snowboarder, but an adventurer and snowboarding is only a single means of expressing that identity.

By Raleigh

I am really fortunate for my work that allows me a flexible enough schedule to live my life in a way that affords me much happiness.

One reply on “Atomic Habits by James Clear – Book Highlights”

I literally finished listening it today.

It’s a very good book, sort of a continuation on The Power Of Habit by Duhigg.

P.S. Nice to see Codeable peers reading the same stuff as I do :)

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