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Atomic Habits by James Clear - A Book Review

Updated: May 15

Atomic Habits book review

Whatever your goals may be, Atomic Habits by James Clear, gives a clear framework for making progress, showing us how to start small and create exponential growth. James Clear is one of the world's leading experts on habit formation and in Atomic Habits he gives practical actionable steps to help you form good habits, break bad habits, and integrate into your daily routine the small yet powerful behaviors that lead to the desired results.


Daily systems create habits, and these habits lead to success or failure. To correct course, it is necessary to correct the system.


Clear succinctly distills complicated ideas into simple behaviors that can be quickly and easily applied to day-to-day life - both at home and at work. Drawing on research from the fields of biology, psychology and neuroscience he has created a simple guide for making good habits easy and bad habits difficult. Throughout the book there are true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, lifesaving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to become leaders and mentors in their respective fields, showing us how to become the best we can be.


Some things you will learn in this book are how to make time for the new habits that are important to your success, move forward even when there is a lack of motivation, create an environment for success, and even get back on track when you get off course.


A few of my favorite quotes from this book are as follows -


"You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems."


I think about this quote often and have heard it repeated by others many times. And there is debate around which is most important - goals or systems. I would say they are equally important. Without goals what is the point of developing systems, and without systems goals are unlikely to be reached.


"Professionals stick to the plan, amateurs let life get in the way."


This one hits me hard! I am an expert at making plans, creating lists, and crafting complicated schedules. But unless I actually act on these plans, cross things off my lists and follow the schedules, they are worthless. James Clear helps the reader understand that the actions taken do not have to be huge and difficult, simply consistent. Consistently stick to the plan, one small action at a time and progress begins to compound, growing exponentially and creating success.


"Every action you take is a vote for the kind of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity."


Who am voting for with action I take? Am I voting for the version of myself that always takes the path of least resistance, looking for the easiest way out, or am I voting for the best version of myself?


"You don't have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it."


This is such an empowering statement. It is far too easy to blame the people or circumstances in my environment for anything that I think is wrong around me instead of taking the responsibility to be the architect of my own circumstances or environment.


"Be the designer of your world and not merely the consumer of it. "


I love the idea of being the designer of my world! I don't have to allow circumstances to dictate the kind of life I live. While there is much that is out of my control, there is still so much that I do have control over and can use to build and design the life I was meant to live. My attitude and actions are my choice and it's up to me to choose wisely. It's up to me to create the systems and habits of thought and actions that will design a beautiful life.


"Success is the product of daily habits - not once-in-a-lifetime transformations."


I can't expect things to happen all at once. It took a lifetime for me to get where I am now and it will take time go where I want to go. But with consistent daily habits I will get there. And you can too.


Meanwhile, improving by 1 percent isn't particularly notable - sometimes it isn't even noticeable, but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run. The difference a tiny improvement can make over time is astounding. Here's how the math works out: If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you'll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you're done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you'll decline nearly down to zero". What starts as a small win, or a minor setback accumulates into something much more."


What this book really brought home to me was how profoundly the small things I do each day effects the long-term outcome of my life. Success can be much simpler than I ever realized. The steps I take to get there do not have to be big, in fact, they can be tiny. But they do I have to happen. Otherwise, I slowly slip backward, further and further from where I want to be.


There are so many more quotes I could include from this inspiring book but maybe you should just go read it and see for yourself how many valuable nuggets are included.


This book will reshape the way you think about progress and success, as well as give you tools and strategies to transform your habits. Changes that may seem small and inconsequential at first will with time (and probably less time than you think) compound into big powerful results.

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