Every once in a while, you find a gem of a book that changes your life. This book for me is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

This book not only has changed my life but also made me much happier. When I’m happier I’m a better mother, partner, employee, daughter, and friend, and It goes without saying that everyone around you benefits when you are happy.

Atomic Habits has taught me tactics that are making me stick with small habits that will eventually compound creating the impact that I desire. For example, thanks to Clear’s tactics, I’m now exercising every day. How did I force myself to do that? I became aware of why I stopped exercising before, which was that I looking for instant gratification, and not understanding how the math of small changes works.

Clear explains:

“If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you will end up thirty-seven times better by the time you are done. Conversely, if you get 1 percent worse each day for one year, you’ll decline nearly down to zero. What starts as a small win or a mere setback accumulates into something much more.”


So now I use this mantra before I find myself trying to avoid exercise, ” 1 percent better every day.”

Another idea he proposes is that we need to forget about goals and focus on systems instead.

He  says:

“Goals are about the results try to want to achieve, Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. A handful of problems arise when you spend too much time thinking about your goals and not enough time designing your systems.”

For example, I would keep telling myself I need to create a YouTube channel, but it took me a while to focus on the actual system. What kind of equipment do I need? Where do I shoot the video in my house? What time? What topic?

I should have focused on the system itself, not on the abstract concept. Now I zoned in on the topic, I have purchased the necessary equipment and created a mini studio in one small corner of the house.

The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.

Another illuminating idea is that true “behavior change is identity change. ” You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you’ll stick with one is that it becomes part of who you are.”

The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.
The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.
The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.

So now, the million-dollar question. How to create a good habit:

He proposes four laws of behavior change:

1- Make it obvious
2- Make it attractive
3- Make it easy.
4- Make it satisfying

To make it obvious: The are two cues. Time and location. Pair a new habit with a current habit. For example,  I exercise in the basement at 8:00 am every day.

Make it attractive is by offering yourself a reward, For example. I will check TikTok after I do 5 burpees.

Make it easy: James clear says:

The idea is to make it as easy as possible in the moment to fo things that pay off in the long run. For example, if you want to exercise, set out your workout clothes, the night before. Want to eat healthy? Chop up a ton of fruit and vegetables on weekends and pack them inc continuers.

Make it satisfying: For example, you want to save money by skipping your late, open a bank account and label it for something you like, lets’ say a trip to Hawaii. Every time you skip your morning latte add $5 dollars to your Hawaii saving account.

Finally, one thing that really stuck with me is how to recover quickly when your habits break down.

Clear warns against missing your habits twice.

“Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.”

On the few days, I miss exercise, If I have a morning call or if I’m behind on a work project, I keep telling myself, by hook or by crook I will exercise tomorrow. Never miss two days in a row.

I would be definitely reading this book again and again and will be gifting it to many of my friends.

James Clear actually has a free newsletter that you can subscribe to and get useful tips, so I advise you to do that.