Atomic Habits // James Clear // WONDERFUL

2018 // Nonfiction // Habits // Psychology


On the final day of my sophomore year of high school, I was hit in the face with a baseball bat.


A revolutionary system to get 1 per cent better every day. People think when you want to change your life, you need to think big. But ... real change comes from the compound effect of hundreds of small decisions – doing two push-ups a day, waking up five minutes earlier, or reading just one more page.


This is a readable, practical book about building and breaking habits. There are almost too many insights to digest into five excerpts, but I'll try.

#1 We underestimate small daily improvements

It's easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action.

#2 Habits are strongest when bound up with your identity

If you show up at the gym five days in a row - even if it's just for two minutes - you are casting votes for your new identity. You’re becoming the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts.

#3 Fall in love with the process rather than the product

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.

#4 Never miss twice

Never miss twice. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.

#5 Mastery is putting the reps in and, at a certain point, all reps become boring

Really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.

Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.

Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, and then using this new habit as the foundation to advance to the next frontier of your development.


How to Create a Good Habit:

  1. (Cue): Make it obvious

  2. (Craving): Make it attractive

  3. (Response): Make it easy

  4. (Reward): Make it satisfying

How to Break a Bad Habit:

  1. (Cue): Make it invisible

  2. (Craving): Make it unattractive

  3. (Response): Make it difficult

  4. (Reward): Make it unsatisfying


If you want more notes from Atomic Habits, Derek Sivers has tonnes on his blog.


ISBN: 978-1-84-794183-1
264 pages ~70,000 words
Read: 23 November to 1 December 2019 (9 days)