Title: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author: James Clear
We all have numerous habits- some good, some bad. And, all habits have an effect- sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse, depending on whether it is a good or bad one. While we inch through life, we have goals that we try to achieve through processes, and the processes incorporate a lot of our habits. James Clear, in Atomic Habits, talks about practical ways to make some good ones, and break a couple of the bad ones.
"Can one tiny change transform your life? It’s unlikely you would say so. But what if you made another? And another? And another? At some point, you will have to admit that your life was transformed by one small change."
This the crux of what the book is about. The author goes on to break down habits to their very fundamentals, and show us that it is the thousands of small habits done over thousands of times that yields what looks like a big achievement. Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change. And without such a build up of potential, it is rarely possible to bring any major change.
The book is extremely practical, and the ideas it talks about is not something that we don't know already. It is something that we all know and yet fail to do. And, the book seeks to give you pointers on actually doing them. Habits are necessary for everything- from businesses, to parenting, to self-maintenance, to your professional work, and social life, they play a strong role in every single facet of your life.
I loved the way Clear has brought down the concept of habit to 'identity'. Associating a good habit with your very identity makes things much easier and more natural to maintain such habits. I can absolutely understand this at my personal level, for example. Sandhya has a reputation or identity, over the years, for being punctual, not gossiping, sleeping early, waking up on time, etc. Now, these comments about my good habits are most definitely associated with the very identity of my personality by both myself and the people around me- and this makes me motivated to keep it up! More than the identity in other people's eyes, it is your own that makes you stick to your habits. When I tell someone that I hate when people are late, and I am proud of myself being punctual, I can never go late myself. It is as simple as that.
“If you’re proud of how your hair looks, you’ll develop all sorts of habits to care for and maintain it. If you’re proud of the size of your biceps, you’ll make sure you never skip an upper-body workout. If you’re proud of the scarves you knit, you’ll be more likely to spend hours knitting each week. Once your pride gets involved, you’ll fight tooth and nail to maintain your habits.”
But, as much as such reputation and pride can make you stick to good habits, it can do the same thing to a bad habit, too! And, that is the catch. James Clear once again gives great actionable insights on how to wean away from destructive habits. Just like one day's workout will not result in a toned body, going five minutes late to a class may also not have any immediate negative effects. But, over time both these habits will have the cumulative effect of having been done a thousand times over when it seemed like they didn't matter.
I loved the way James Clear has tried to explain all the other concepts associated with habits, like identity, practice, disappointment, and the rest. I think for those who have long pending lists about a habit they wanted to inculcate, this is a book that you can actually try out like a thoughtful workbook!
It was a great read, and I really enjoyed the way it expressed simple and necessary ideas with such freshness, clarity and diction!
I have previously written about how my own blog looks as beautiful as it is today because of what became a habit through several years, in my post The Power of Habit! Think about your habits- both the good and the bad- and evaluate them for yourself, whether or not you read this book!