My notes from Atomic Habits, by James Clear


  • changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound if you stick at them for years.
  • 1% improvements look at every area that can be improved!
  • remember: that improvement is nonlinear, you'll have to stick at it to break through plateaus.
  • forget goals, focus on systems.
  • long lasting "true" behaviour change is made possible by identity change.
  • the goal is not to display confidence. the goal is to become a confident person. (replace "confidence" with whatever you are trying to achieve)
  • when you have been telling yourself a story for years, it's easy to accept them as fact.
  • every time you choose to vote for a good or bad habit, you choose that identity.
  • step 1: decide the sort of person you want to be. step 2: prove it to yourself with small wins.
  • if in doubt ask yourself questions like: what would a healthy person do? what would jesus do?
  • cue, craving, response, reward.
  • cut any of first 3 away and the habit won't occur. cut he last and it won't stick.
  • ask yourself: how can I make it obvious?
  • ask yourself: how can I make it attractive?
  • ask yourself: how can I make it easy?
  • ask yourself: how can I make it satisfying?
  • reverse the above to removing bad habits.
  • write a complete list of all habits you perform and afterwards assign a positive, neutral or negative ranking to each.
  • ask yourself "does this behavior help me to become the type of person I want to be?"
  • saying what you need to do out loud before hand increases the chance you will do it.
  • implementation intention. when situation X arises, I will do Y.
  • I will behaviour at time in location - defining this improves likelihood.
  • if you want to make a habit a big part of your life, make the cue a big part of your environment.
  • every habit should have a home (physical or digital)
  • surround yourself with people who have the habits you wish to have yourself.
  • nothing sustains motivation more than belonging to a tribe.
  • desire is the difference between where you are now and where you want to be in the future.
  • change "have to" to "get to" in your self talk. reframe as opportunity not obligation.
  • frequency not time is important to create new habits.
  • addition by subtraction. remove points of friction. remove anything or one that saps your time or energy. (focusing on 80:20)
  • prime your environment for future use and vice versa for preventing negative habits.
  • be aware of decisive moments which have outsized impact down stream or limit your future options. e.g. opening y YouT ube is the decisive moment for wasting hours watching shitty videos.
  • when you start a new habit it should only take 2 minutes to complete.
  • 2 minute habits should be a gateway. e.g. put on your gym shoes or open journal - they lead to desired outcome.
  • while establishing a habit, always stop before it feels like a chore. this keeps motivation high.
  • use "habit shaping" to scale up habits slowly.
  • commitment devices. make choices now that prevent bad habits in the future.
  • reinforce habits with artificial rewards if they don't have inherent rewards.
  • Paper Clip Strategy Fill jar with paperclips and make one sales call for each paperclip until jar is empty.
  • use habit trackers or habit calendars.
  • Benjamin Franklin kept a notebook on him to track his progress with 13 virtues.
  • don't break the chain. but if you do miss a day, don't miss another!
  • failure/mistakes are inevitable but never miss twice!
  • focus on: becoming the type of person who does not miss a workout (example for fitness, but adapt sentence for what ever goal)
  • never interrupt the compounding effect of habits unnecessarily.
  • remember: when a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a good measure.
  • an accountability partner can change everything!
  • for max results: work on tasks right at the edge of your ability. not too hard, not too easy.
  • find ways to show up despite boredom or lack of motivation.
  • professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way.
  • master one chunk at a time, then move on to the next once it's a habit.
  • give your best effort spiritually, mentally and physically.
  • keep journals, track stats, record decisions. then, review and look for ways to improve.
  • www.atomichabits.com/journal.
  • "keep your identity small" quote by Paul Graham.