Atomic Habits Summary: During the holidays I try and set aside a little time for some reading. Being a Money Viking I gravitate to investing books or just general books about self improvement. My goal is to then test and try some of the new information in the new year.
Table of Contents
This holiday I picked up Atomic Habits by James Clear. He talks about the power of habits. I have been intrigued by this topic for many years and have written about habits here at the Money Vikings many times. In fact, we recently explored 7 Habits That Will Get You Ahead of 95% of People.
Atomic Habits Summary
In his bestselling book “Atomic Habits,” James Clear delves into the science of habit formation and transformation. He provides practical insights and actionable strategies to help you build good habits and break bad ones, ultimately shaping your life for the better. Here are the top 5 tips you can glean from Clear’s work:
1. Start small and build momentum.
One of the biggest obstacles to habit change is feeling overwhelmed. Clear suggests starting with incredibly small, achievable actions. Instead of aiming for a daily gym session, begin with a five-minute walk. This makes the habit less daunting and increases the chances of success. As you consistently complete these tiny steps, you build momentum and confidence, paving the way for bigger strides.
Money Viking Take: I believe in this concept to my core. We should have big dreams and then boil those down to daily habits and small actions. With a goal of getting in shape, it begins with that first walk out the door. With a goal of saving and investing a million dollars, it starts with that first hundred bucks automatically placed into your diversified investment account. If you want to make a painting, it takes signing up for that art class or putting that first stroke of paint on the canvas.
2. Focus on systems, not goals.
Goals are often vague and distant, making it difficult to stay motivated. Clear proposes a shift towards focusing on systems, which are the processes you put in place to achieve your goals. For example, instead of setting a goal to lose weight, create a system of daily healthy eating and exercise routines. Systems are specific, actionable, and sustainable, leading to more consistent progress and long-term success.
Money Viking Take: For years we have discussed and implemented “Wealth Building Armies”. These are essentially automated systems that will build wealth for you while you live your life. You just have to set them up. This is an example of focusing on systems vice goals. The goal is a natural outcome of the system.
3. Make habits obvious.
Out of sight, out of mind. Clear emphasizes the importance of making your desired habits highly visible. Place your workout clothes near your bed, set reminders on your phone, or use a habit tracker app. These visual cues keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and increase the likelihood of taking action.
Money Viking Take: To this day I deploy various visual aids and cues in my environment to spur me to better outcomes. A recent example is I have wanted to do more exercise planks. I literally put a sign on my bulletin board that says “Do Planks”. Since it does not take much planning to do a plank, this sign has many times motivated me to just drop and do them and not over think.
4. Make habits attractive.
Humans are naturally drawn to pleasurable experiences. To make good habits stick, associate them with positive emotions. Reward yourself for completing a workout with a relaxing bath, listen to your favorite music while cooking healthy meals, or find an exercise buddy to make fitness more enjoyable. When habits are linked to positive feelings, you’re more likely to repeat them consistently.
Money Viking Take: I love this combining healthy activities with something we just purely enjoy. This makes a lot of sense and will attract us to action.
5. Make bad habits unattractive.
Just as you can make good habits attractive, you can make bad habits unappealing. Remove unhealthy snacks from your pantry, block tempting websites on your computer, or find an accountability partner to discourage impulsive behaviors. By making undesirable habits inconvenient and unpleasant, you reduce the urge to engage in them and pave the way for positive change.
What Small Thing Can You Do Now?
Remember, lasting habit change takes time and effort. By implementing these tips from “Atomic Habits,” you can develop systems and strategies that support your desired behaviors, ultimately shaping your life in a way that aligns with your goals and aspirations.
Let me know if you’d like to explore any of these tips in more detail or learn about other helpful strategies from James Clear’s book!