Why you should read: Atomic Habits, by James Clear


Atomic Habits breaks down the building blocks of behaviour change to find smarter ways of reaching your goals.

Want to achieve your goals this year? Forget ‘em, James Clear argues in Atomic Habits. OK, not exactly: rather than fixating on outcomes, routine is the secret to goal-grabbing success.

The book uses the four laws of behaviour change to illustrate what effective habit formation looks like:

  • Obvious: become aware of your automatic actions and whether they help or hinder you
  • Attractive: bundle habits you need to do with things you want to do
  • Easy: make it effortless to practice your intentions
  • Satisfying: use rewards and streaks to stick with it.

The book isn’t just about creating and sticking to good behaviours, though. Clear flips each of the above strategies to explain how to conquer bad habits, too.

Either way, repetition is key to mastering productivity and self-fulfilment. This is where the ‘atomic’ change comes in. Clear argues real change comes from showing up day after day, time after time; in taking small bites rather than big chunks:

“Can one tiny change transform your life? It’s unlikely you would say so. But what if you made another? And another? And another? At some point, you will have to admit that your life was transformed by one small change.”

Atomic Habits

As with anything, whether this changes your life, business and bank balance depends on you (it’s called self-help for a reason). Clear’s conversation style helps, but perhaps the biggest motivation is how compelling the small things are. You might not be able to run a marathon right now but, the book argues, if you can take a single step, you’re already on your way.

Atomic Habits, by James Clear

Quoted edition published by Cornerstone Digital, 2018

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Picture credit: Jukan Tateisi