Atomic Habits
Atomic Habits

Atomic Habits

Table of Contents

changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them for years. (Location 150)

Tags: compound

Note: .compound

“the aggregation of marginal gains,” which was the philosophy of searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything you do. Brailsford said, “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.” (Location 219)

Tags: favorite, improvement

Note: .improvement break down a process into its parts and increase performance of each by 1%

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. (Location 252)

Tags: compound

Note: .compound 1% better every day for a year = 37 times better

Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations. (Location 279)

You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results. (Location 281)

Tags: trajectory, progress

Note: .progress trajectory is more important than results

Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. Your knowledge is a lagging measure of your learning habits. Your clutter is a lagging measure of your cleaning habits. You get what you repeat. (Location 284)

Tags: outcomes, lead measures

Note: Focus on lead measures rather than lagging measures

Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy. (Location 290)

Tags: compound

This is one of the core reasons why it is so hard to build habits that last. People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result, and decide to stop. You think, “I’ve been running every day for a month, so why can’t I see any change in my body?” Once this kind of thinking takes over, it’s easy to let good habits fall by the wayside. But in order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to persist long enough to break through this plateau—what I call the Plateau of Latent Potential. (Location 327)

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.19 Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it—but all that had gone before.” (Location 341)

Tags: patience

Note: .patience nothing happens over night

Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. (Location 367)

Tags: goals, systems

Note: .systems

The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress. (Location 414)

Tags: systems

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. (Location 420)

Tags: systems

Note: .systems

■ Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. Getting 1 percent better every day counts for a lot in the long-run. ■ Habits are a double-edged sword. They can work for you or against you, which is why understanding the details is essential. ■ Small changes often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold. The most powerful outcomes of any compounding process are delayed. You need to be patient. ■ An atomic habit is a little habit that is part of a larger system. Just as atoms are the building blocks of molecules, atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results. ■ If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead. ■ You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

Note: Focus on a sustainable system that allows you to make continuous small gains each day

The first layer is changing your outcomes. This level is concerned with changing your results: losing weight, publishing a book, winning a championship. Most of the goals you set are associated with this level of change.

The second layer is changing your process. This level is concerned with changing your habits and systems: implementing a new routine at the gym, decluttering your desk for better workflow, developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build are associated with this level.

The third and deepest layer is changing your identity. This level is concerned with changing your beliefs: your worldview, your self-image, your judgments about yourself and others. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level. (Location 455)

democracy is founded on beliefs like freedom, majority rule, and social equality. (Location 479)

Tags: democracry

Note: .democracry freedom majority rule and social equality

The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this. (Location 497)

Tags: habit

Note: .habit get a habit to become part of your identity

It is a simple two-step process: Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins. (Location 583)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits decide.who you want to be and look for proof

■ There are three levels of change: outcome change, process change, and identity change. ■ The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become. ■ Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. ■ Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity. ■ The real reason habits matter is not because they can get you better results (although they can do that), but because they can change your beliefs about yourself. (Location 618)

Note: Focus on the person you want to be. What would that person do?

A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. (Location 649)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits habits are automatic behaviours

The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. (Location 691)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits cue, craving, response and reward

You do not want to turn on the television, you want to be entertained. Every craving is linked to a desire to change your internal state. (Location 706)

Tags: cravings

Note: .cravings

The cue is about noticing the reward. The craving is about wanting the reward. The response is about obtaining the reward. We chase rewards because they serve two purposes: (1) they satisfy us and (2) they teach us. (Location 716)

In summary, the cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue. Together, these four steps form a neurological feedback loop—cue, craving, response, reward; cue, craving, response, reward—that ultimately allows you to create automatic habits. This cycle is known as the habit loop. (Location 735)

Tags: habit

Note: .habit

The 1st law (Cue) Make it obvious. The 2nd law (Craving) Make it attractive. The 3rd law (Response) Make it easy. The 4th law (Reward) Make it satisfying. (Location 762)

Tags: habits, favorite

Note: Obvious, attractive, easy & satisfying

Whenever you want to change your behavior, you can simply ask yourself: How can I make it obvious? How can I make it attractive? How can I make it easy? How can I make it satisfying? (Location 774)

Tags: habit

Note: .habit make it obvious,appealing,easy and satisfying

■ A habit is a behavior that has been repeated enough times to become automatic. ■ The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of life with as little energy and effort as possible. ■ Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop that involves four steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. ■ The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits. They are (1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying. (Location 783)

Note: Make habits visible, attractive, easy and satisfying

The Japanese railway system is regarded as one of the best in the world. If you ever find yourself riding a train in Tokyo, you’ll notice that the conductors have a peculiar habit. As each operator runs the train, they proceed through a ritual of pointing at different objects and calling out commands. When the train approaches a signal, the operator will point at it and say, “Signal is green.” As the train pulls into and out of each station, the operator will point at the speedometer and call out the exact speed. When it’s time to leave, the operator will point at the timetable and state the time. Out on the platform, other employees are performing similar actions. Before each train departs, staff members will point along the edge of the platform and declare, “All clear!” Every detail is identified, pointed at, and named aloud. This process, known as Pointing-and-Calling, is a safety system designed to reduce mistakes. (Location 847)

Tags: pointing-and-calling, japan

Note: Pointing-and-calling is a safety mechanism

Pointing-and-Calling is so effective because it raises the level of awareness from a nonconscious habit to a more conscious level. Because the train operators must use their eyes, hands, mouth, and ears, they are more likely to notice problems before something goes wrong. (Location 859)

Tags: communication, pointing-and-calling

Note: Raise awareness and engagement by getting people to speak and move

Broadly speaking, the format for creating an implementation intention is: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.” (Location 946)

Tags: principles

The punch line is clear: people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. (Location 957)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits having a plan for your habit makes it more likely you will complete

Too many people try to change their habits without these basic details figured out. We tell ourselves, “I’m going to eat healthier” or “I’m going to write more,” but we never say when and where these habits are going to happen. We leave it up to chance and hope that we will “just remember to do it” or feel motivated at the right time. (Location 958)

There is another benefit to implementation intentions. Being specific about what you want and how you will achieve it helps you say no to things that derail progress, distract your attention, and pull you off course. We often say yes to little requests because we are not clear enough about what we need to be doing instead. When your dreams are vague, it’s easy to rationalize little exceptions all day long and never get around to the specific things you need to do to succeed. (Location 977)

Tags: focus

Note: .focus

In fact, the tendency for one purchase to lead to another one has a name: the Diderot Effect. The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption that leads to additional purchases.14 You can spot this pattern everywhere. You buy a dress and have to get new shoes and earrings to match. You buy a couch and suddenly question the layout of your entire living room. You buy a toy for your child and soon find yourself purchasing all of the accessories that go with it. It’s a chain reaction of purchases. (Location 1001)

Tags: clutter, consumption

Note: the purchase of one item often leads to the need to buy more

The habit stacking formula is: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

For example: ■ Meditation. After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute. (Location 1015)

Tags: habits

■ The 1st Law of Behavior Change is make it obvious. ■ The two most common cues are time and location. ■ Creating an implementation intention is a strategy you can use to pair a new habit with a specific time and location. ■ The implementation intention formula is: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]. ■ Habit stacking is a strategy you can use to pair a new habit with a current habit. ■ The habit stacking formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]. (Location 1093)

Note: Make it obvious. Select time and location to do habit. Couple it with existing habits

“disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations. (Location 1275)

Tags: temptation

Note: .temptation structure your life to reduce unhealthy temptations

reliable approach is to cut bad habits off at the source. One of the most practical ways to eliminate a bad habit is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it. ■ If you can’t seem to get any work done, leave your phone in another room for a few hours. ■ If you’re continually feeling like you’re not enough, stop following social media accounts that trigger jealousy and envy. (Location 1305)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits cut habits off at the source by changing your environment

■ The inversion of the 1st Law of Behavior Change is make it invisible. ■ Once a habit is formed, it is unlikely to be forgotten. ■ People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than resist it. ■ One of the most practical ways to eliminate a bad habit is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it. ■ Self-control is a short-term strategy, not a long-term one. (Location 1320)

Note: Focus on changing your environment and removing negative cues

Junk food, for example, drives our reward systems into a frenzy. After spending hundreds of thousands of years hunting and foraging for food in the wild, the human brain has evolved to place a high value on salt, sugar, and fat. Such foods are often calorie-dense and they were quite rare when our ancient ancestors were roaming the savannah. When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, eating as much as possible is an excellent strategy for survival. (Location 1373)

Tags: diet, food

Note: .food junk food with salt,fat and sugar creates urges in us as it is calorie dense and would have been rare in the past

One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior. New habits seem achievable when you see others doing them every day. If you are surrounded by fit people, you’re more likely to consider working out to be a common habit. If you’re surrounded by jazz lovers, you’re more likely to believe it’s reasonable to play jazz every day. Your culture sets your expectation for what is “normal.” Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. You’ll rise together. (Location 1585)

Tags: friends, habits

Note: .habits join a culture where your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour

If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection. You don’t need to map out every feature of a new habit. (Location 1872)

Tags: habits

Note:  initially focus on repetition rather than perfection

One of the most common questions I hear is, “How long does it take to build a new habit?” But what people really should be asking is, “How many does it take to form a new habit?” That is, how many repetitions are required to make a habit automatic? (Location 1917)

When agriculture began to spread around the globe, farmers had an easier time expanding along east-west routes than along north-south ones. This is because locations along the same latitude generally share similar climates, amounts of sunlight and rainfall, and changes in season. These factors allowed farmers in Europe and Asia to domesticate a few crops and grow them along the entire stretch of land from France to China. (Location 1942)

Tags: agriculture

television steal so much of our time because they can be performed almost without effort. They are remarkably convenient. (Location 1974)

The central idea is to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. Much of the battle of building better habits comes down to finding ways to reduce the friction associated with our good habits and increase the friction associated with our bad ones. (Location 2028)

Tags: environment

Note: Reduce friction to performing good habits

the Two-Minute Rule, which states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.” You’ll find that nearly any habit can be scaled down into a two-minute version: ■ “Read before bed each night” becomes “Read one page.” ■ “Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.” ■ “Study for class” becomes “Open my notes.” ■ “Fold the laundry” becomes “Fold one pair of socks.” ■ “Run three miles” becomes “Tie my running shoes.” The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. (Location 2122)

Tags: habits

As another example, my friend and fellow habits expert Nir Eyal purchased an outlet timer, which is an adapter that he plugged in between his internet router and the power outlet. At 10 p.m. each night, the outlet timer cuts off the power to the router.3 When the internet goes off, everyone knows it is time to go to bed. (Location 2209)

Every habit produces multiple outcomes across time. Unfortunately, these outcomes are often misaligned. With our bad habits, the immediate outcome usually feels good, but the ultimate outcome feels bad. With good habits, it is the reverse: the immediate outcome is unenjoyable, but the ultimate outcome feels good. The French economist Frédéric Bastiat explained the problem clearly when he wrote, “It almost always happens that when the immediate consequence is favorable, the later consequences are disastrous, and vice versa ….18 Often, the sweeter the first fruit of a habit, the more bitter are its later fruits.” Put another way, the costs of your good habits are in the present. The costs of your bad habits are in the future. (Location 2431)

As a general rule, the more immediate pleasure you get from an action, the more strongly you should question whether it aligns with your long-term goals. (Location 2442)

the last mile is always the least crowded. (Location 2449)

Tags: quotes

Note: .quotes

One of my readers and his wife used a similar setup. They wanted to stop eating out so much and start cooking together more. They labeled their savings account “Trip to Europe.” Whenever they skipped going out to eat, they transferred $50 into the account. At the end of the year, they put the money toward the vacation. (Location 2479)

Tags: saving

Note: .saving

■ The 4th Law of Behavior Change is make it satisfying. ■ We are more likely to repeat a behavior when the experience is satisfying. ■ The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards. ■ The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change: What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided. ■ To get a habit to stick you need to feel immediately successful—even if it’s in a small way. ■ The first three laws of behavior change—make it obvious, make it attractive, and make it easy—increase the odds that a behavior will be performed this time. The fourth law of behavior change—make it satisfying—increases the odds that a behavior will be repeated next time. (Location 2495)

Dyrsmid began each morning with two jars on his desk. One was filled with 120 paper clips. The other was empty. As soon as he settled in each day, he would make a sales call. Immediately after, he would move one paper clip from the full jar to the empty jar and the process would begin again. “Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialing the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar,” he told me. (Location 2510)

In summary, habit tracking (1) creates a visual cue that can remind you to act, (2) is inherently motivating because you see the progress you are making and don’t want to lose it, and (3) feels satisfying whenever you record another successful instance of your habit. Furthermore, habit tracking provides visual proof that you are casting votes for the type of person you wish to become, which is a delightful form of immediate and intrinsic gratification. (Location 2560)

Tags: tracking

Note: .tracking habit tracking provides good visual reminders an is satisfying to see progress

Second, manual tracking should be limited to your most important habits. It is better to consistently track one habit than to sporadically track ten. Finally, record each measurement immediately after the habit occurs. The completion of the behavior is the cue to write it down. (Location 2577)

Tags: measurements

No matter how consistent you are with your habits, it is inevitable that life will interrupt you at some point. Perfection is not possible. Before long, an emergency will pop up—you get sick or you have to travel for work or your family needs a little more of your time. Whenever this happens to me, I try to remind myself of a simple rule: never miss twice. If I miss one day, I try to get back into it as quickly as possible. Missing one workout happens, but I’m not going to miss two in a row. (Location 2591)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits reover from a lapse quickly

The first mistake is never the one that ruins you.7 It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident.8 Missing twice is the start of a new habit. (Location 2597)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits

like. Too often, we fall into an all-or-nothing cycle with our habits. The problem is not slipping up; the problem is thinking that if you can’t do something perfectly, then you shouldn’t do it at all. (Location 2602)

Furthermore, it’s not always about what happens during the workout. It’s about being the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts. It’s easy to train when you feel good, but it’s crucial to show up when you don’t feel like it—even if you do less than you hope. Going to the gym for five minutes may not improve your performance, but it reaffirms your identity. (Location 2610)

Goodhart’s Law. Named after the economist Charles Goodhart, the principle states, “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.”9 Measurement is only useful when it guides you and adds context to a larger picture, not when it consumes you. Each number is simply one piece of feedback in the overall system. (Location 2629)

Tags: goodharts law

Note: When a measurement becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure

■ One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress. ■ A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit—like marking an X on a calendar. ■ Habit trackers and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress. ■ Don’t break the chain. Try to keep your habit streak alive. ■ Never miss twice. If you miss one day, try to get back on track as quickly as possible. ■ Just because you can measure something doesn’t mean it’s the most important thing. (Location 2644)

Thomas Frank, an entrepreneur in Boulder, Colorado, wakes up at 5:55 each morning.7 And if he doesn’t, he has a tweet automatically scheduled that says, “It’s 6:10 and I’m not up because I’m lazy! Reply to this for $5 via PayPal (limit 5), assuming my alarm didn’t malfunction.” (Location 2729)

Tags: morning

Note: .morning automated tweet if dont rise by a certain time

■ The inversion of the 4th Law of Behavior Change is make it unsatisfying. ■ We are less likely to repeat a bad habit if it is painful or unsatisfying. ■ An accountability partner can create an immediate cost to inaction. We care deeply about what others think of us, and we do not want others to have a lesser opinion of us. ■ A habit contract can be used to add a social cost to any behavior. It makes the costs of violating your promises public and painful. ■ Knowing that someone else is watching you can be a powerful motivator. (Location 2736)

When you can’t win by being better, you can win by being different.

By combining your skills, you reduce the level of competition, which makes it easier to stand out. You can shortcut the need for a genetic advantage (or for years of practice) by rewriting the rules. A good player works hard to win the game everyone else is playing. A great player creates a new game that favors their strengths and avoids their weaknesses. (Location 2922)

Tags: favorite, competition

Note: be different by combining your skills. This is similar to the concept of being hard to be #1 in a field, but it's easier to be top 10% in multiple fields.

Boiling water will soften a potato but harden an egg. You can’t control whether you’re a potato or an egg, but you can decide to play a game where it’s better to be hard or soft. If you can find a more favorable environment, you can transform the situation from one where the odds are against you to one where they are in your favor. (Location 2932)

Tags: environment, metaphor

Note: .metaphor boiling water will harden an egg and soften a potato. Play to your strengths and find your ideal environment

The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right. (Location 2988)

Note: Work on tasks at the edge of your skillset

We all have goals that we would like to achieve and dreams that we would like to fulfill, but it doesn’t matter what you are trying to become better at, if you only do the work when it’s convenient or exciting, then you’ll never be consistent enough to achieve remarkable results. (Location 3048)

■ The Goldilocks Rule states that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. ■ The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. ■ As habits become routine, they become less interesting and less satisfying. We get bored. ■ Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated. It’s the ability to keep going when work isn’t exciting that makes the difference. ■ Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way. (Location 3064)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits you need to stick with habits when you are not motivated

The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside of habits is that you get used to doing things a certain way and stop paying attention to little errors. You assume you’re getting better because you’re gaining experience. In reality, you are merely reinforcing your current habits—not improving them. In fact, some research has shown that once a skill has been mastered there is usually a slight decline in performance over time. (Location 3079)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits the downside of automated habits is that you ignore small errors

Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery (Location 3089)

Tags: mastery, habits

Note: .habits .mastery

I know of executives and investors who keep a “decision journal” in which they record the major decisions they make each week, why they made them, and what they expect the outcome to be. They review their choices at the end of each month or year to see where they were correct and where they went wrong. (Location 3156)

Tags: decisions

Note: .decisions keep a decision journal of the major decisions you make each week

Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard. Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry. Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death. Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life. The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail. —LAO TZU (Location 3212)

Tags: learning, change

Note: .change .learning you have to be able to change when needed.

■ The upside of habits is that we can do things without thinking. The downside is that we stop paying attention to little errors. ■ Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery ■ Reflection and review is a process that allows you to remain conscious of your performance over time. ■ The tighter we cling to an identity, the harder it becomes to grow beyond it. (Location 3222)

Four Laws of Behavior Change until you find the next bottleneck. Make it obvious. Make it attractive. Make it easy. Make it satisfying. (Location 3265)

Tags: habits

Note: .habits obvious, attractive,easy and satisfying

Happiness is simply the absence of desire. When you observe a cue, but do not desire to change your state, you are content with the current situation. Happiness is not about the achievement of pleasure (which is joy or satisfaction), but about the lack of desire. It arrives when you have no urge to feel differently. Happiness is the state you enter when you no longer want to change your state. (Location 3287)

Tags: desire, happiness

Note: .happiness happiness is the absence of desire

Your actions reveal how badly you want something. If you keep saying something is a priority but you never act on it, then you don’t really want it. It’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Your actions reveal your true motivations. (Location 3328)

Tags: actions

Note: .actions your actions reveal your priorities

Reward is on the other side of sacrifice. Response (sacrifice of energy) always precedes reward (the collection of resources). The “runner’s high” only comes after the hard run. The reward only comes after the energy is spent. (Location 3330)

Tags: sacrifice, reward

Note: .reward reward is on the other side of sacrifice

Seneca’s famous quote, “Being poor is not having too little, it is wanting more.” (Location 3342)

Tags: desires, poor

Note: .poor