Review: Atomic Habits
Thursday, April 27, 2023

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad OnesAtomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a well-written, fast-flowing text that highlights many key concepts of how people form habits, both good and bad. The basic premise is that if there is a behavior you would like to encourage, you should make it easy, attractive, and satisfying so that you are more likely to repeat the behavior. Conversely, if there's a behavior you want to stop, make it harder to do, unattractive, and unsatisfying. Here's a personal example: I want to drink less soda, so I don't keep soda in the house. If I really want a soda, I have to make a special trip to the store just to get it. Making it more difficult makes the behavior less likely.

I didn't find any world-shattering revelations in its advice. It was more a reinforcement of common-sense ideas that are easily overlooked. I was both pleased and disappointed to find that I was already doing many of the suggested actions simply on instinct and logic. Pleased because I have a good natural sense for how to enact changes in my life, and disappointed because I was hoping for some kind of "magic bullet" to break through the final walls of developing habits for things that I really don't enjoy doing, like exercising. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, no such magic bullet exists. If you're hoping this book will provide it, it won't. What it will provide are useful case studies, entertaining anecdotes, and real-world examples of how to put basic principals of habit development into practice. Just know that at the end of the day, it all comes down to your willingness to push through adversity. Even the most well-established habit can't make something that is inherently unpleasant seem fun.

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