Atomic Habits Summary


James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, has already sold over 15 million copies, and for good reason. It’s the most effective and concise book for behavior change.

The #1 habit for success is self-discipline. Getting yourself to do what you need to do whether you feel like it or not. This book helps in a big way. Print this out and refer to it on a weekly basis. Let’s get started.

First, The Fundamentals:

An atomic habit is a tiny change, a marginal gain, a 1% improvement.

Think of The Compound Effect, if you’ve read Darren Hardy’s book.

There are three layers of behavior changes:

The first layer is changing your outcomes.

The second layer is changing your process.

The third and deepest layer is changing your identity.

The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.

Then get busy proving it to yourself with small daily wins. Get your reps in.

The Four Laws of Behavior Change is a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits.

How to Create a Good Habit:

Make it obvious.

Make it attractive.

Make it easy.

Make it satisfying.

How to Break a Bad Habit:

Make it invisible.

Make it unattractive.

Make it difficult.

Make it unsatisfying.

The 1st Law – Make It Obvious

Habits are easier to start if you have an implementation intention, which is a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act.

Before we can effectively build new habits, we need to get a handle on our current ones. This can be difficult to do, but there are two exercises that can help.

Pointing-and-Calling is an exercise that involves verbalizing each of your actions in order to raise your awareness from an unconscious habit to a more conscious level.

Once you’re aware of your habits, keep a Habits Scorecard and mark whether the habit is negative, positive, or neutral.

The implementation intention formula is: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

Habit stacking is another exercise that can help. The habit stacking formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].

Gradually, your habits become associated not with a single trigger but with the entire context surrounding the behavior. The context becomes the cue. It is easier to build new habits in a new environment because you are not fighting against old cues.

You can break a habit, but you’re unlikely to forget it. Once the mental grooves have been carved into your brain, they are nearly impossible to remove entirely. That means you must reduce exposure to the cue that causes bad habits.

The 2nd Law – Make It Attractive

Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop. When dopamine rises, so does our motivation to act. It is the anticipation of a reward – not the fulfillment of it – that gets us to take action. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine spike.

Temptation building is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy involves pairing an action you want to do with an action you need to do. The formula is: After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].

Social norms are extremely powerful. We tend to imitate the habits of 3 social groups: The close (family, friends, & mastermind groups), The many (the community), and The powerful (those with status and prestige). One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a community where your desired behavior is the norm.

The 3rd Law – Make it Easy

The Two-Minute Rule says, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do”.
So break your habits down into bite-size chunks. Standardize before you optimize.

You can’t improve a habit that doesn’t exist.

Prime your environment to make future actions easier.

The 4th Law – Make it Satisfying

The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change says,

What is immediately rewarded is repeated.

What is immediately punished is avoided.

To get a habit to stick, you need to feel immediately successful, even if it’s in a small way.

The first three laws of behavior change increase the odds that a behavior is performed.

The fourth law increases the odds that the behavior will be repeated.

One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress.

A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit – like marking an X on a calendar on the days you did it.

This is why we use the DYB Scoreboard for tracking all of the habits needed to Double Your Business. If you’re a DYB member, there is a video in the walking you through how to fill it out.

Habit trackers and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress.

Don’t break the chain.

Do your best to keep your habit streak alive.

If you do miss a day, try to get back on track as quickly as possible.

Never miss twice in a row.

We are less likely to repeat a bad habit if it is painful or unsatisfying.

An accountability partner can create an immediate cost to inaction.

We care deeply about what others think of us, and we do not want others to have a lesser opinion of us.

Dream BIG
Hustle Smarter
You’ve Got This!

Steve Burnett 🙂

About the Author

As a newly single father of two from MI, he struggled to start over as a paint contractor in FL, going door to door. His situation was so bad, even the IRS had mercy on him.

 Feeling completely hopeless, he remembered the story of King Solomon praying for wisdom. Could it be so easy? 

He felt he had absolutely nothing to lose. So, as a bankrupt, divorced, high school dropout, single father of 2 young kids, now living 1250 miles away from all friends and family, started to pray for wisdom.
 And while he continues to wait for the wisdom to arrive, what did come was an insatiable desire to learn and read books… 
Thanks to God for giving him the burning passion to read books, and attend seminars, (oh and winning the wife lottery) he not only cracks the success code and overcomes the struggle, but also streamlines his painting business in less than 3 years, published a how to book, then sold the company. Now he leads a business coaching company for painting contractors so he can help other businesses, like yours, to do the same. Hear more... Or