Atomic Habits: Making Habits Stick And Getting Things Done

atomic habits book review

I’m not sure how many of you out there are like me, but have you ever watched those morning routine videos and wondered how to get one yourself? Y’know like those videos where they get up at 6am to go to the gym, take their cold shower and meditate before getting started on working?

I mean, it always seems like these people have their lives in order and they’re just working on improving themselves every single day, right?

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Well, the thing is, you can! (If you want of course hehe). Routines like this don’t happen by chance and definitely no one was born waking up at 6am and taking cold showers in the morning! These are routines formed through, you guessed it, habits.

In this book by James Clear, Atomic Habits covers how to make habits form and perhaps more importantly, how to make habits stick in our lives.

Without further ado, let’s get right in!

Make it Obvious

Wanted to read before sleeping but forgot about it until it was too late? You’re not alone.

When starting a habit, it’s always important to make it as obvious as possible so that we don’t ever forget it. If you want to read before sleeping, place your book near your bed so you don’t forget about it. If you want to eat healthier foods, place healthy foods in more obvious locations in your kitchen or fridge!

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Make It Attractive

Always dragging yourself to the gym? Well, I think for many, it’s pretty normal to dread exercise. 

Making it attractive means to increase your desire to follow through on the habit that you’re building by using pull factors. One way to do so would be to pair things that you need to do with things that you want to do. An example would be doing 20 pushups before watching your favourite show on Netflix. This gives you something to look forward to at the end of a habit that might be difficult. Kinda like a carrot on a stick heh.

This can also include being in an environment where the behaviour you are trying to cultivate is the norm. Let’s say you’re trying to run fast, but you’ve always had trouble sticking to it. Join a running club to keep you accountable! When faced with an environment that encourages said habits, you’ll find it easier to build them. 

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Make It Easy

Oftentimes, when we start with something new, we tend to aim a tad too high, which can easily cause disappointment when we miss our mark. As such, James Clear advocates for making things easy to encourage the building of the habit.

By keeping our habits easy, we reduce the inertia required to complete it. If you’re looking to get in the habit of reading, you can always start with reading 2 pages every night. If you wish to run regularly, try running for 5 minutes a day. By making a task seem so simple, it reduces the friction required to complete hence allowing us to build the routine we require with these tasks.

James Clear takes it one step further with the 2 minute rule, where he breaks habits down into a task that requires no more than 2 minutes. This can be as simple as reading 1 page or even putting on your shoes. What this does is that it makes it easy to continue with the habit once you’ve started it. In a sense, this is like a ‘gateway habit’ to help you follow through with the rest of it!

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Make it Satisfying

Finally, when we’ve gotten around to doing what we needed to do, we should round it up to make it satisfying so that we are incentivised to repeat it. This is not so different from Step 2: Making It Attractive.

This is especially useful when trying to get rid of bad habits. For example, if you’re trying to avoid fast food, you might not feel the satisfaction of doing so, since nothing really happens as opposed to exercising when you feel the satisfaction of, say, completing your run.

As such, it is important to give yourself a reward to ensure that you are satisfied when you complete your habits and this will push you to stick with it. One example James Clear gave was in the example of avoiding frivolous expenses. This couple would set up an account for which they transferred money into when they passed on a frivolous expense. Didn’t buy a cup of Starbucks on the way to work? Send $5 into the account. Stopped a subscription you didn’t need? Send $16 into the account. This helps to build the positive emotion from saving the money and hence, keeping you going with this habit!

Another way to do this would be through habit trackers. Habit trackers help to keep you on track and also incentivise you to not ‘break your chain’.

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Closing Thoughts

Habits are a great way to build handy routines and useful activities into your lives, be it to stay healthy, save more money or work on a  new hobby or skill. It may not always be the easiest journey, but going about it the right way definitely helps!

If you’re interested to find out more and learn the other tricks this book has to offer, consider picking up a copy from Amazon here!

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