Atomic Habits Book Review

Atomic Habits, by James Clear

This book is unreal. A serious contender for my favourite book of the year.... already. Take FL1GHT, at its core, is an action oriented podcast. How do we make taking action easier? We make those actions habitual. 

Some of the concepts in this book blew my mind and I’ve written the stand out lessons below. 

1st bombshell was in chapter 1 and I wasn’t ready:

Habits stick based on your understanding of who you are. What is your identity? Are you someone who gets up in the morning and meditates? Are you an athlete and therefore smash the gym? Are you someone who takes action towards their goals or just talks about them? 

Ed Mylett spoke about Identity in episode #020 and killed it. But i’d never thought about it in this way before. 

James Clear states: to change your habits, change your identity. To change your identity change your goal from being outcome focused. Instead of “I will run a marathon” make it “I am a runner”. Instead of “I’m going to build a business” make it “I’m an entrepreneur”. Who you are dictates how you act. 

2nd gem which was so good it gave me a  headache. 

Imagine a lion strolling the savannah. They are 100% present. They are aware of any danger or threat that may come their way. Aware of any prey they will come across and need to react to.

Our caveman ancestors were the same. See it do it. See danger, run. See food, eat. 

We now live in a world where we have a what’s called ‘delayed reward environment’. Work hard for 5 years get a promotion. Write a book for 2 years then release it, promote it, get on the top sellers list and be rewarded for it. Our brains are yet to adapt to this way of living. Most of the time we get bored of waiting for the reward.
Only in the last 100 years have we seen the invention of cars, planes and the internet, yet our brains still operate on ‘see it, do it’ and want instant gratification. We need to get comfortable being bored.

Habits don’t give you benefit right now. Gym this morning won’t make you ripped this afternoon. It’s about consistency over time. Don’t look at where you are right now. Look at your trajectory. If you’re rich, but are spending more than you earn, that’s a bleak future. If you’re poor but saving each month your trajectory is more positive than the spender! 

3rd worldy: The Goldilocks rule. 

A question I regularly ask myself and others is; “how do you stay motivated?”. This rule answers the question. 

Goldilocks and the three bears is a classic. She breaks into some random bears house in the woods. For some reason the bears have gone on a family walk and left their porridge out. Goldilocks thinks she’s hit the jackpot. She tries them all. Ones too hot & ones too cold. She’s livid. Goldilocks ignores the old saying “once bitten twice shy” and goes for the third bowl, which turns out to be just right!

Then she tries the chairs. Ones too big, ones too small and the last one is just right! After all this she gets tired and fancies one of Nick Littlehales ‘Controlled Rest Periods’ (CRP / nap. Find out more in episode #012). One bed is too hard, ones too soft and the last one is just right! 

In order to maintain motivation (whether for a morning habit, life goal, sporting achievement or business venture) we must find that magic zone of skill vs difficulty. Too difficult and we get disheartened when experiencing consistent failure. Not difficult enough and we get bored and become disengaged. However, when the difficulty level is just right, we are pushed out our comfort zone just enough that the motivation level remains high and the challenge tests us enough to grow and develop. 

Remember the Goldilocks rule the next time your motivation levels are wavering. 

This book is a combo of ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg and ‘The Rise of Superman’ by Steven Kotler. It’s amazing and immediately one of my favourite books. Going straight on the TF Bookshelf!