abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary

Atomic Habits by James Clear (Summary & Notes)

Author: James Clear
Pages: 288 pages
Book Reading Time: 12 days
"I" Read in: July 2020

Brief comment

This book has been life-changing for me personally, a comprehensive and practical guide to building better habits that can help in fulfilling our potential.

Summary Read time: 30 min

The book in a paragraph

“Atomic Habits” is an incredibly helpful book for anyone who wants to improve their life. By following the practical strategies and insights in the book, readers can create positive habits that lead to personal growth and success. These habits can have a profound impact on daily life, such as increasing productivity, improving health and fitness, boosting confidence, and reducing stress. The book teaches readers how to make lasting behavior changes by focusing on small, incremental improvements and aligning habits with their desired identity. Atomic Habits is an essential read for anyone who wants to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life, and this summary is an attempt to give you that motivation to start.

What makes reading it worthwhile?

Atomic Habits” is a fantastic book that teaches us how to create positive habits that lead to success. Here are five important takeaways:

  1. Small habits are powerful, and incremental improvements over time can have a big impact.
  2. To create lasting habits, follow the four laws of behavior change: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying.
  3. Identify with the type of person we want to be and align our habits with that identity.
  4. Our environment plays a big role in shaping our behavior, so make intentional changes to support our desired habits.
  5. Persistence is key, so focus on progress rather than perfection, and view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.

How it changed me as a person?

Small changes can lead to big improvements in my life, and that is something “Atomic Habits” has helped me to understand. One major key takeaway was the idea that our habits are shaped by our identity. By identifying the type of person we want to be, we can create habits that align with that identity and help us achieve our goals.

Another significant aspect that has resonated with me is the importance of the environment in shaping our behavior. I’ve started to make intentional changes to my surroundings to support my desired habits, and it’s made a big difference in my ability to stick to them.

The book’s emphasis on persistence and the power of incremental improvements has also been hugely inspiring. Instead of getting discouraged by setbacks, I now view them as opportunities to learn and grow. “Atomic Habits” have helped me to become a more mindful and intentional person, and hence inspired me to write the first book summary of my life as well. Focus on progress rather than perfection, and that will drive us to grow and improve every day.

My favorite quotes from the book

  1. Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.
  2. The quality of our lives depends on the quality of our habits.
  3. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
  4. Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.
  5. Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.

Atomic Habits – My summary and notes

One fundamental question that many people may have in mind is, “How can I make lasting changes in my life and turn positive behaviors into habits?” This is the question that the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear aims to answer.

For example, let’s say that someone wants to start exercising regularly but finds it difficult to stick to a consistent routine. They may have tried multiple times to make exercise a habit, but always seem to fall back into their old, less active ways. This is where the concepts in “Atomic Habits” come in.

The book offers practical strategies for making small, incremental changes that add up to big improvements over time. One key idea is the concept of “habit stacking” which involves attaching a new habit to an existing one in order to make it easier to remember and stick to. For example, someone might decide to do ten push-ups every time they come in-out from their homes, gradually increasing the number of push-ups over time.

Another important concept is the idea of focusing on the process rather than the outcome. So, rather than setting goals based on results (e.g. losing 20 pounds), it’s more effective to focus on the daily habits that will lead to that outcome (e.g. eating healthy and exercising regularly).

“Atomic Habits” gives a roadmap for making lasting changes in our lives by focusing on small, consistent improvements. By simply implementing the strategies in this book, we can transform positive behaviors into automatic habits and achieve the goals that matter most to us.


The way James explained how he was hit in the face with a baseball bat, resulted in multiple injuries. And even after such a heartbreaking event, how he lived up to a journey of overcoming and regaining physical abilities to become a college athlete with the highest academic honor, and indeed a successful career is mind-blowing lesson to to learn from him. In this book he gives a step-by-step approach to building better habits that anyone can follow and achieve.

In the book, I found these three most important points that changes everything:

  1. Overcoming Adversity – James’s injury was a life-changing event that tested his resilience and determination. He lost his ability to smell and had a bulging eye, which required surgery. After months of rehabilitation, he returned to the baseball field but had to practice basic motor patterns and struggled to make it on the field. However, he persisted and eventually became a college athlete, focusing on small habits like lifting weights and maintaining a disciplined routine. James’s story taught me that no matter how difficult our circumstances may be, we can overcome adversity with patience and perseverance.
  2. Building Better Habits James believes that small changes can compound into remarkable results if we’re willing to stick with them for years. In his book, he presents a four-step model of habits that can help us build better habits, regardless of where we start or what we’re trying to change. The model explains how external stimuli influence our habits, but it lacked an explanation for how our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs impact our behavior. James’s framework is an integrated model of the cognitive and behavioral sciences, the first to accurately account for both the influence of external stimuli and internal emotions on our habits.
  3. The Four Laws of Behavior Change – And the backbone of the book, the four laws of behavior change:
    1. Make it obvious
    2. Make it attractive
    3. Make it easy
    4. Make it satisfying

Fundamentals first

In 2003, British Cycling hired Dave Brailsford as its new performance director. The team had been mediocre for almost a century, and no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France. Brailsford believed that if they improved every aspect of their performance by just 1 percent, it would lead to a significant increase in their overall performance.

So, Brailsford and his coaches started making small adjustments like changing bike seats, rubbing alcohol on the tires, and using biofeedback sensors to monitor the athletes’ performance. They even tested different types of massage gels, hired a surgeon to teach each rider the best way to wash their hands, and painted the inside of the team truck white. In just five years, the British Cycling team dominated the road and track cycling events at the Olympic Games in Beijing and London, setting nine Olympic records and seven world records.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - compound interest for self improvement

So what exactly happened and how it happened? Lets understand this, getting 1 percent better each day for one year can make us 37 times better by the time we’re done. Habits are like compound interest for self-improvement. They may not make much of a difference on any given day, but over time, they can have an enormous impact. We often dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter much in the moment, but when we repeat 1 percent errors, day after day, our small choices can compound into toxic results.

Making a change in our habits can have a big impact on our life. Choosing to do something that is 1 percent better or worse can make a significant difference in who we are and who we could be. Our outcomes are a lagging measure of our habits. If we want to predict where we’ll end up in life, following the curve in above illustration of tiny gains or tiny losses, can potentially help us see how our daily choices will compound over time.

Habits can be a double-edged sword. Good habits can build us up, while bad habits can cut us down. Positive compounding leads to productivity. Automating tasks or mastering new skills allows our brain to focus on other areas. Knowledge compounds, and each book we read teaches us something new and opens up different ways of thinking about old ideas.

Negative thoughts also compound, and outrage compounds. Breakthrough moments often occur as a result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.

We often expect progress to be linear, but in reality, it is often delayed, and we do not realize the full value of our previous efforts until much later. All big things come from small beginnings, and every habit is a single, tiny decision. The trick to building a good habit is to take it one day at a time.

James used to approach habits by setting specific, actionable goals, but he failed at many of them. Eventually, he realized that his results had very little to do with the goals he set. Instead, he learned that he needed a system to achieve the desired outcome. If we want to win in any sport, we should focus on getting better each day, and forget about setting goals. Goal setting suffers from a serious case of survivorship bias. Successful people share the same goals, but it’s the implementation of a system of continuous small improvements that differentiates the winners from the losers.

One very, very, very important aspect in the book was about how achieving a goal only changes our life for the moment. To improve for good, we need to change the systems that cause those results. So, the book emphasizes that it’s important to focus on building good habits and creating systems that work for us, rather than just setting goals.

Summary of the FIRST LAW of Atomic Habits

To understand the first law, i.e. “Make it obvious“, James tried a very interesting way to explain it through situations and examples. Like, he spoke about this paramedic woman who got real worried about her father-in-law after she took his clinical assessment. She insisted that he go to the hospital right away, and a few hours later he was undergoing lifesaving surgery. You know how that happens? When the major arteries get blocked, the body sends blood to critical organs and away from peripheral locations near the surface of the skin. A paramedic can recognize this pattern on sight, just like military analysts who can identify an enemy missile from their own fleet even though they look identical on radar. Museum curators can tell if a piece of art is authentic or counterfeit, and radiologists can predict a stroke before any obvious signs are visible.

It’s incredible what our bodies can do without us even thinking about it. Our brains are like prediction machines that continuously take in information from our surroundings and analyze it. With enough practice, we can pick up on the cues that predict certain outcomes without even consciously thinking about it.

That’s how habits are formed. We don’t even have to be aware of the cue for a habit to begin. Our automatic and nonconscious mind takes over when we fall into old patterns, and the more we repeat these patterns, the less likely we would question about what we’re doing.

B = f(P, E)

Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment.

Over time, our habits become so common that they are invisible. We must begin the process of behavior change with awareness and get a handle on our current habits. The Japanese railway system is regarded as one of the best in the world, and the conductors have a peculiar habit of pointing at different objects and calling out commands. This process is known as Pointing-and-Calling, and it reduces errors by up to 85 percent and cuts accidents by 30 percent.

Fogg Behavior Model:
Behavior = f(Motivation, Ability, Prompt): B = MAP

The more automatic a behavior becomes, the less likely we are to consciously think about it, and we begin to overlook things. That’s where the Habits Scorecard comes in. It’s a simple exercise we can use to become more aware of our behavior. Once we have a full list, we should ask ourselves if each behavior is a good habit, bad habit, or neutral habit. Scoring our habits is more complex because there are no good habits or bad habits, only effective habits. Good habits have net positive outcomes, while bad habits have net negative outcomes.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - Habit Scorecard

Here is a sample scorecard that we can look at:

  1. Wake up
  2. Turn off alarm
  3. Check my emails
  4. Go to washroom
  5. Watch social media shorts
  6. Brush my teeth
  7. Take a shower
  8. Take a note of my weight
  9. Dress up
  10. Make a cup of tea
  11. . . . and so on.

To change bad habits, we need to be aware of them, and speak out loud the action we are thinking of taking and what the outcome will be. This makes the consequences seem more real, and helps us to avoid slipping into an old routine. Remember, the process of behavior change always starts with awareness. Pointing-and-Calling and the Habits Scorecard are simple exercises one can use to become more aware of our behavior.

There’s a study from Great Britain mentioned in the book that I also want to highlight. Researchers worked with 248 people to build better exercise habits over the course of two weeks. The subjects were divided into three groups: the control group, the motivation group, and the exercise group. The third group received the same presentation as the second group, but were also asked to formulate a plan for exercising over the following week. In the first and second groups, only 35 to 38 percent of people exercised at least once per week. But in the third group, 91 percent of people exercised at least once per week.

Implementation intentions increase the odds that people will stick with habits like recycling, studying, going to sleep early, and stopping smoking. They have even been shown to increase voter turnout. People who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Once an implementation intention has been set, we don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike. We simply have to follow our predetermined plan.

So, don’t let our fears or doubts hold us back from pursuing our goals and dreams. It’s okay to take calculated risks and step outside of our comfort zone. In fact, it’s often necessary for growth and progress. We should always remember, every successful person has faced challenges and setbacks, but they didn’t let that stop them. Instead, they used those experiences to learn and improve. So, embrace the uncertainty, trust yourself, and go after what you truly want in life. We never know what amazing things we might achieve if we just take that first step.

Summary of the SECOND LAW of Atomic Habits

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - baby seagulls chicks
Baby seagulls chicks

Make it attractive“, is the second law which was written very attractively by James. I am not sure if you know (I also did not knew), Niko Tinbergen found out that herring gull chicks can’t resist pecking at a red dot on dummy beaks? He then made a beak with three big red dots on it, and the chicks went crazy over it! What they found out was that other animals, like the greylag goose, had a rule embedded in their brain too: when they see a round object nearby, they gotta roll it back into the nest.

It’s like their brain is preloaded with certain rules for behavior and when they come across an exaggerated version of those rules, it lights up like a Christmas tree! Us humans are no exception, we tend to fall for exaggerated versions of reality too. These days, we live in an environment that’s rich in calories, but our brain still craves salt, sugar, and fat, which the food industry exploits. They stretch our Primitive impulses beyond their evolutionary purpose to make their products more attractive to consumers.

There are other processed foods that enhance dynamic contrast, which keeps the experience novel and interesting, encouraging us to eat more. As a result, we overeat because hyperpalatable foods are more attractive to our brains. Society has created highly engineered versions of reality that are more attractive than the world our ancestors evolved in. These supernormal stimuli drive us into excessive shopping habits, social media habits, porn habits, eating habits, and many others.

Habit Stacking + Temptation Bundling Formula

After I [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED].
After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].

If history serves as a guide, the opportunities of the future will be more attractive than those of today. To make a habit more enticing, we must first understand what a craving is and how it works. Scientists can track the precise moment a craving occurs by measuring a neurotransmitter called dopamine. When dopamine is blocked, a rat loses all will to live, won’t eat, won’t have sex, and doesn’t crave anything.

Researchers flooded the reward system of the brain with dopamine, and within minutes mice began poking their nose in a box eight hundred times per hour. Dopamine plays a central role in many neurological processes, including motivation, learning and memory, punishment and aversion, and voluntary movement. When it comes to habits, the key takeaway is that dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it. This is why the anticipation of an experience can often feel better than the attainment of it.

Satisfaction = Liking โ€“ Wanting

Dopamine is released when a reward is experienced for the first time. The next time around, dopamine rises before taking action, immediately after a cue is recognized, and this spike leads to a feeling of desire and a craving to take action whenever the cue is spotted. Your brain allocates far more neural circuitry for wanting rewards than for liking them. Desire is the engine that drives behavior, and craving leads to the response.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - The Dopamine Spike
The Dopamine Spike

Have you heard about Ronan Byrne? He connected his stationary bike to his laptop and TV and created a computer program that would allow him to watch Netflix only if he was cycling at a certain speed. He was employing temptation bundling to make his exercise habit more attractive. Businesses are masters at temptation bundling. When ABC launched its Thursday-night TV lineup for the 2014-2015 season, they promoted temptation bundling on a massive scale by associating the thing they needed viewers to do with activities their viewers already wanted to do.

Over time, people began to associate watching ABC with feeling relaxed and entertained. You’re more likely to find a behavior attractive if you get to do one of your favorite things at the same time. Temptation bundling is a way to apply the psychology theory known as Premack’s Principle, which states that more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors. Supernormal stimuli increase our desire to take action. Temptation bundling is a simple strategy that can be used to make it easier to form and maintain new habits. It involves pairing a desirable activity that you enjoy doing with a less desirable activity that you need to do. By doing this, you can make the less desirable activity more enjoyable and increase your motivation to do it.

Environment >= Willpower

For example, if you love listening to podcasts but struggle to make time for exercise, you could combine the two activities by only allowing yourself to listen to your favorite podcast while you’re working out. This way, you’ll look forward to your workout as a chance to catch up on your favorite podcast, and you’ll be more likely to stick to your exercise routine.

Temptation bundling can be applied to many different habits, such as studying, cleaning, or even budgeting. The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and can only do while you’re completing the less enjoyable task.

Temptation bundling is a powerful tool that can help you create and maintain new habits. By pairing enjoyable activities with less enjoyable tasks, you can increase your motivation and make it easier to stick to your habits over time.

Summary of the THIRD LAW of Atomic Habits

The most effective form of learning is practice (deliberate), not planning.

Make It Easy” is an eye-opener. James told about the story of Jerry Uelsmann, a famous film photographer. He taught a photography class and divided his students into two groups: the quantity group and the quality group. The quantity group was graded solely on how much work they produced, while the quality group was graded on the excellence of their work.

Now, here’s the twist. At the end of the term, the professor discovered that the quantity group had produced the best photos, while the quality group had only produced unverified theories and one mediocre photo. This just goes to show that sometimes, taking action and producing quantity is better than striving for perfection and producing only a little bit. This rule is widely accepted in the YouTube community for example, their people who tend to be consistent have resulted to build a stronger YouTube footprint, than the ones who just produced a one single video.

But, how do we actually take action and create the results we want? Sometimes, we get bogged down in the details and never actually get started. We might think that we’re making progress by being in motion, but that’s not enough. Motion doesn’t lead to results. Instead, we need to start with repetition, not perfection. We don’t need to map out every single feature of a new habit, but we do need to start practicing it.

The Two-Minute Rule

When you start a new habit, it should take less than 2 minutes to do.

Habit formation is the process by which a behavior becomes automatic through repetition. The more we repeat an activity, the more efficient our brain becomes at that activity. Repeating a habit even leads to physical changes in the brain. In fact, mathematicians have increased gray matter in the inferior parietal lobule. And, did you know that scientists found that the hippocampus of taxi drivers was larger than that of non-taxi drivers, and that it decreased in size when a driver retired? That’s how powerful repetition can be!

Learning Curves

โ€œHow long does it take to build a new habit?โ€
โ‡Š
โ€œHow many repetitions are required to make a habit automatic?โ€

Of course, forming a habit requires effort and concentration in the beginning. But, the more we practice, the easier it becomes. After enough practice, the habit becomes automatic. Researchers even track the level of automaticity for an actual habit, like walking for ten minutes each day.

But, what makes the difference in habit formation? It’s the rate at which you perform the behavior. You need to string together enough successful attempts until you cross the Habit Line. To build a habit, you need to practice it. And, the most effective way to make practice happen is to adhere to the 3rd Law of Behavior Change: make it easy. Focus on taking action, not being in motion.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - Learning curve and Habit line
Learning Curve and the Habit Line

Speaking of easy, did you know that different continents have different shapes? Jared Diamond pointed out that this difference in shape played a significant role in the spread of agriculture over the centuries, because farmers had an easier time expanding along east-west routes than along north-south ones. The primary axis of Europe and Asia is east-west, while the primary axis of the Americas and Africa is north-south. This leads to a wider range of climates up-and-down the Americas than across Europe and Asia. As a result, agriculture spread two to three times faster across Asia and Europe than it did up and down the Americas, which allowed for more rapid population growth and stronger armies.

This provides an example of the 3rd Law of Behavior Change on a global scale. Human nature is to follow the Law of Least Effort. So, when it comes to expanding your farm or building a new habit, you’re more likely to succeed if you make it easy on yourself. For example, if you want to do a hundred push-ups per day, it takes a lot of energy to get started. But, if you want to do one push-up per day, it takes almost no energy to get started.

But, let’s be real. Every habit is just an obstacle to getting what you really want. If you can make your good habits more convenient, you’ll be more likely to follow through on them. You are capable of developing the habits that will help you achieve your goals, but it takes time and effort.

One approach to making good habits more convenient is to make them a part of your daily routine. For example, if you want to start exercising in the morning, try laying out your workout clothes the night before and scheduling your workout for the same time every day. This can help make exercise a habit that feels automatic, rather than something you have to actively think about and decide to do each day.

Another strategy is to eliminate barriers to your good habits. If you want to eat healthier, try keeping healthy snacks on hand so that you’re less likely to reach for junk food when you’re hungry. If you want to read more, try keeping a book by your bed so that you can easily read a few pages before you go to sleep each night.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - Decisive Moments

The whole idea is to be kind to yourself as you work to develop new habits. It’s easy to get discouraged when you slip up or miss a day, but remember that developing new habits is a process. Rather than beating yourself up, focus on the progress you’ve made and use any setbacks as opportunities to learn and adjust your approach.

With a little patience and persistence, you can make good habits a natural part of your daily routine and set yourself up for success in achieving your goals.

Summary of the FOURTH LAW of Atomic Habits

Make It Satisfying – This part of the book has reached to a point where its all about evidence, results, and outputs. James took a very unique example of Stephen Luby who went all the way from Omaha, Nebraska to Karachi, Pakistan to help with the public health crisis caused by poor sanitation. And when Luby arrived, he found a densely packed neighborhood with makeshift houses and no waste removal system, electricity grid, or clean water supply.

Luby discovered that many people knew the importance of handwashing but failed to make it a habit. He teamed up with Procter & Gamble to supply the neighborhood with Safeguard soap, and people mentioned how much they liked the soap. They began to enjoy the habit of handwashing, and the researchers saw a rapid shift in the health of children in the area. The long-term effects were even better, as the children had become habituated to washing their hands and had maintained the practice for over five years.

Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery

Similarly, in 1891, Wrigley launched a new flavor of chewing gum that made the product flavorful and fun to use. They also promoted chewing gum as a way to keep your mouth clean. Toothpaste manufacturers enjoyed great success when they added flavors like spearmint, peppermint, and cinnamon to their products. But we all know that these flavors don’t improve the effectiveness of toothpaste.

It's simple: if an experience is not satisfying, we have little reason to repeat it. And we learn what to do in the future based on what we were rewarded for doing (or punished for doing) in the past. The four laws of behavior change: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying increase the odds that a behavior will be performed.

Imagine you’re an animal roaming the plains of Africa. Most of your decisions have an immediate impact, but in modern society, many of the choices you make will not benefit you immediately. Human brains did not evolve for life in a delayed-return environment. Only in the last five hundred years has society shifted to a predominantly delayed-return environment, and human nature has changed little.

Our ancestors placed a high value on instant gratification, just like other animals on the African savannah. This tendency is known as time inconsistency, and it serves us well most of the time. When you understand how the brain prioritizes rewards, you can understand why people smoke, overeat, and have unsafe sex. The consequences of these bad habits are delayed while the rewards are immediate.

โ€œThe road less travelled is the road of delayed gratification.โ€

James Clear

Every habit produces multiple outcomes across time, and these outcomes are often misaligned. With bad habits, the immediate outcome feels good, but the ultimate outcome feels bad. The brain’s tendency to prioritize the present moment means you can’t rely on good intentions. When the moment of decision arrives, instant gratification usually wins, and you should question whether an action aligns with your long-term goals or not.

Most people know that delaying gratification is the wise approach, but they seldom think of it at the decisive moment. The best way to train yourself to delay gratification is to add some immediate pleasure to good habits. The key to getting a habit to stick is to feel successful. This is why immediate rewards are essential, while delayed rewards accumulate in the background.

โ€œIncentives can start a habit. Identity sustains a habit.โ€

James Clear

When you reinforce a behavior, you make it more likely to occur. This is done by tying the behavior to an immediate cue and an immediate reward. Immediate reinforcement can be especially helpful when dealing with habits of avoidance, like skipping happy hour drinks or not buying that pair of shoes.

One way to make avoidance visible is to open a savings account and label it for something you want. Whenever you pass on a purchase, put the same amount of money in the account. A reader of mine and his wife labeled their savings account “Trip to Europe” and put $50 a week toward a vacation.

It is important to select short-term rewards that reinforce your identity rather than ones that conflict with it. For example, if you are trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, rewarding yourself with a sugary treat might provide short-term pleasure, but it conflicts with your long-term goal of improving your health.

โ€œIt is better to consistently track one habit than sporadically track ten.โ€

James Clear

Another important aspect of setting up a successful reward system is to make sure that the rewards are attainable and realistic. Setting unattainable goals or rewards that are too difficult to achieve can be demotivating and lead to a sense of failure. On the other hand, setting achievable goals and rewards that match your progress can be a powerful motivator.

Also, it is must to track your progress and celebrate your successes along the way. This can help you stay motivated and continue working towards your long-term goals. Consider keeping a journal or chart to track your progress and reward yourself for each milestone you reach.

Remember, building new habits and making lasting changes takes time and effort. But with a well-designed reward system in place, you can stay motivated and focused on your goals, making it easier to achieve the results you desire.

The Advanced Tactics

Its really hard to depict the true value of this part of the Atomic Habits in a summary, but I am giving it a shot. When we talk about the greatest athletes in history, Michael Phelps is often the first name that comes to mind. However, Hicham El Guerrouj is no less of an amazing athlete, holding two Olympic gold medals himself. One interesting fact about these two great athletes is that despite their height difference, they both wear the same length inseam on their pants. Phelps has shorter legs and a longer torso, making him a perfect fit for swimming.

How to Go from Being Merely Good to Being Truly Great?

It’s important to understand that success in any field depends largely on choosing the right field of competition. People are born with different abilities, and genes can provide advantages in favorable circumstances while creating disadvantages in unfavorable ones. It’s our environment that determines the suitability of our genes and the utility of our natural talents. Therefore, if we want to achieve greatness, we must focus on the right thing.

But here’s the thing: genes can predispose you to certain personality traits, but they don’t determine them. The key is to direct your efforts toward areas that match your natural skills and excite you, to align your ambition with your ability. Your genes are at work beneath the surface of every habit you form, including how obedient or rebellious you are when facing authority, how vulnerable or resistant you are to stressful events, and how proactive or reactive you tend to be.

You know, now personality traits can be analyzed scientifically as well, and the most proven analysis is the Big Five personality traits. These include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, which describe different types of people. For instance, extroversion can be tracked from birth; babies who turn toward a loud noise are more likely to grow up to be extroverts. Meanwhile, people who are high in agreeableness tend to be kind, considerate, and warm, and they naturally have higher oxytocin levels, which act as a natural antidepressant. On the other hand, people who are high in neuroticism tend to worry more than others and are more sensitive to negative cues in their environment.

But, our habits are not solely determined by our personalities only, our deeply rooted preferences make certain behaviors easier for some people than for others. To achieve our goals, we must build habits that work for our personality, and tailor our habits accordingly. But the fact is, it’s not enough to simply tailor our habits to our personality. We also need to design situations that put us at a natural advantage. It’s critical to learn to play a game where the odds are in our favor, to maintain motivation and feel successful.

Picking the right habit is easy if we make it easy. However, we also need to consider the long-term benefits of picking the right habit and the explore/exploit trade-off. At the beginning of a new activity, we should explore many possibilities, research a broad range of ideas, and cast a wide net. After this initial period of exploration, we should shift our focus to the best solution we’ve found, but we should also not forget to keep experimenting occasionally. If we have time to explore, it makes more sense to explore. But if we’re pressed for time, we should implement the best solution we’ve found so far.

abhilashshuklaa - Atomic Habits books summary - Mastering a field

Phelps and El Guerrouj were lucky to be born with a rare set of abilities and placed in an ideal environment. However, their success was not only due to their natural talent, but also their dedication and hard work. Both Phelps and El Guerrouj trained tirelessly, often for hours every day, to perfect their technique and build their endurance. They also had the support of coaches, trainers, and teammates who helped them along the way.

Both Phelps and El Guerrouj faced setbacks and challenges throughout their careers. Phelps struggled with ADHD and faced criticism for his behavior outside of the pool, while El Guerrouj battled asthma and injuries. However, they persevered and continued to work towards their goals. Their success serves as a reminder that while natural talent may give some individuals an advantage, hard work, dedication, and perseverance are also key factors in achieving greatness.

My final take on the Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits” is by far one of the most life changing books that I have ever read. Let me begin with my final thoughts by saying that the notes and summary I have written are just my personal take on this incredible book Atomic Habits. They are not a substitute for reading the book in its entirety.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to read “Atomic Habits” from cover to cover, beyond this summary. The knowledge and insights that you’ll gain from this book are truly priceless. My Atomic Habits =summary is merely a way for me to remember and revisit some of the key takeaways that resonated with me.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking, “Why bother reading the whole book when we have a summary right here?” Well, my dear friends, I’m here to tell you that a summary can never capture the full value of a book like “Atomic Habits”. What I’m sharing with you today is just a tiny fraction of the goldmine of knowledge that you’ll find in the book.

So, why am I sharing this Atomic Habits summary with you if I still believe that reading the book in its entirety is necessary? Because I want you to be encouraged and uplifted to read “Atomic Habits”. I want you to experience the joy and excitement that comes from discovering new insights and strategies for creating lasting habits. And this Atomic Habits summary a.k.a. notes is just a 1% representation of it.

I urge you to read “Atomic Habits” by James Clear and don’t settle for just a summary or notes. Dive into the book and immerse yourself in the wealth of knowledge and insights that it contains. I promise you won’t regret it. Happy reading!

Feelings precede and follow behavior

Cue = Perception
Cravings = Feeling
Response = Behavior
Reward = Feeling


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