Atomic Habits

An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

James Clear

Maybe you just want to be the kind of guy who commits to something?
My friend Gabriel Tomescu

Gabe and I were part of a practice coaching session at Wave, and I asked for help on a question of whether I should go to the gym even at my advanced age, because what was the point of trying to stay in shape?

Gabe flipped the question; maybe I do want to be the kind of person who commits to things.

That’s pretty much the underlying theme of Atomic Habits; how to build habits so that you become the person you want to be;

He breaks down the parts of a habit into:

  1. Cue
  2. Craving
  3. Response
  4. Reward

and if you can leverage these to either reinforce a good habit, or break a bad one. So far I’ve been using this (along with “habit stacking” of following one thing with a habit I want to keep) to make some progress. I’ve also used the “response” part of the cycle to make things easier or harder. For example, I deleted Twitter from my phone. Now when I have the craving, it’s difficult to respond.

The last part I found interesting: the compounding effects of small changes. He has this table.

Very Easy Easy Moderate Hard Very Hard
Put on your running shoes Walk ten minutes Walk 10k steps Run a 5k Run a marathon
Write one sentence Write one paragraph Write a thousand words Write a five-thousand word article Write a book
Open your notes Study for 10 minutes Study for three hours Get straight As Earn a Ph.D

And I’ve already managed two of the three “very hard” things!