Atomic Habits is a book that asks one simple question: how do you motivate yourself to do the things that you want to do? Getting trapped in a lazy routine is so easy, and once trapped, it's difficult to break free. I know that I’ve wasted most of my days being on my phone (I’m ashamed to admit that on my bad days, I’ve spent around 8 hours on my phone). However, this book has played a major role in changing my lifestyle.
I want to preface this by saying that Atomic Habits should not replace therapy or medication. Often, lifestyle changes may need to start with a meeting with a therapist or a psychologist. However, this can be a great book to serve as a supplement to aid in any sort of healing. Even if you don’t have any deep issues, this book also helps provides practical tools to increase your productivity.
To start, this book is easy to read. The author, James Clear, knows his audience well enough to fill his book with illustrations, easy wording, and short chapters to keep his readers hooked. Anyone, even those who don’t read often, will get through this book easily. This is not made for the average reader but for the average person.
Clear does very well at explaining his terms, and what they mean. “Atomic Habits” refers to tiny changes in the day. These changes may seem insignificant at the moment but repeating the same tiny changes over the periods of weeks and months will result in miraculous changes.
Clear calls this the “1% Theory,” and here is how it goes. Every day you should add something tiny to your schedule. This could be anything, but no matter what it is, it must create a good habit. For example, today you may decide to go on a five-minute walk at 8 am. The next day, you may decide to do the same thing, but then afterward, do some stretching for ten minutes. The next day, you may decide to repeat the same schedule, but then add journaling. The point is, every day, you add something new to your schedule, and no matter how tiny it is — it will serve a greater narrative of improvement. James says that if you do this over 365 days, then you will have improved by 35%!
However, the same thing can be applied in the opposite direction. If you do tiny bad habits every day, then your health will decrease by 1% every day. Over 365 days, you will end up back at zero. I’d personally like to add that bad habits can even push you past zero and into the negatives. An unhealthy diet may lead to issues like diabetes, or too much screen time on the phone can lead to mental health issues.
Clear’s book dives deep into using psychological and sociological theories to hijack the brain and create techniques to improve motivation, create good habits, and break bad ones. He doesn’t simply say, “get better,” but provides dozens of techniques that anyone can apply and master. I highly recommend anyone to buy this book and read it.