Atomic Habits:
Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

Key Notes

Power of Atomic Habits

  • Tiny changes in our habits can change the trajectory of our lives.
  • It is the tiny improvements that create incredible change.
  • Success is the product of daily habits – not once in a lifetime transformations.

The valley of disappointment

  • Progress is compounding, not linear.
  • At the start, progress is extremely slow and small.
  • Patience is required.
  • The most powerful outcomes of any process are delayed.

Focus on systems

  • A goal is a result that you wish to accomplish.
  • Systems are the processes that lead to results.
  • Goals are good for setting direction, but systems are best for making progress.

Layers of behaviour change

  1. Outcomes – what you get.
  2. Processes – what you do.
  3. Identity – what you believe.
  • Make it part of your identity and your behaviours will change.
  • Do not say – I want to run a marathon. Say – I will become a runner.
  • When you workout, you are an athelete.
  • When you write code, you are a programmer.

Habit Loop

  • A habit is something that is repeated so many times that it becomes automatic.
  • Over time, rewards become associated with cues.
  • The key to habits, it to create a feedback loop that is continuosly improved.
  1. Cue – phone buzz.
  2. Craving – want to know who messaged.
  3. Response – pick up the phone.
  4. Reward – know who messaged.

📝 Law 1: Make it Obvious

Habit scorecard

  • Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.
  • Most habits are so automatic, that we do not even notice them.
  • Create a habit scorecard to observe daily life.
  1. Write down all your daily behaviours – from waking up to bedtime.
  2. Categorise each habit as positive, neutral, or negative.
  3. Observe your daily life.

Habit stacking

  • Tie desired habits to existing habits.
  • After [current habit], I will [new habit]
  • After brushing my teeth, I will do 50 push-ups.
  • A chain of habits is more likely to be sustained when practiced consistently.
  • Choosing the correct trigger is essential. The trigger should be automatic.

Define a time and place

  • Define a time and a place.
  • Clearly state your intention to act.
  • I will [behaviour] at [time] in [location]
  • I will read a book for 15 minutes, at 7pm in the bedroom.

Design your environment

  • The environment shapes human behaviour.
  • Make the cues visible and obvious.
  • To drink more water – place water bottles everywhere.
  • The same environment may create different cues for different people. For some, it may be a queue to read, whereas for others it may be a queue to watch TV.
  • Make seperate zones in the hose for different activities.
  • One space = one use.
  • Make it invisible – to get off your phone, put it in another room.

😍 Law 2: Make it Attractive


  • When we expect to be rewarded, we take action.
  • The more rewarding an action, the more likely we are to repeat it until it becomes a habit.
  • Our motivation levels are affected by dopamine.
  • Dopamine is released when we expect pleasure.
  • Gambling addicts experience a dopaine spike when they place the bet, not when they win.
  • The anticipation of a vacation can be better than the vacation itself.
  • It is the craving that causes us to take action.

Temptation bundling

  • Make a habit more attractive by combining a habit that we need to do, with habit that we want to do.
  • Bundle watching TV with working out.
  • Premack Principle – more probable behaviours will reinforce less probable behaviours.

Group influence

  • Become part of a culture where that habit is the norm.
  • To get in better shape – surround yourself with fit people.
  • To read more – join a book club.

Understand your underlying motives

  • Obtaining food and water.
  • Conserving energy.
  • Finding love and reproducing.
  • Connecting and bonding with others.
  • Winning social acceptance and approval.
  • Reducing uncertainty.
  • Achieving status and prestige.

Enjoy hard habits

  • Associate your habits with positvie experience.
  • Fitness = health and wellbeing, not fatigue.
  • Cleaning house = environment conducive to peace and mind, not waste of time.
  • Saving money = financial freedom, not sacrifice.

🌴 Law 3: Make it Easy

Law of least effort

  • The more energy required, the less likely it is to happen.
  • Eliminate any friction that makes the habit more difficult.
  • Make your good habits convenient.

Prime the environment

  • Automate your environment to reduce friction for later action.
  • For the gym – lay out the clothes the night before.
  • For breakfast – place pan and ingredients on the stove ahead of time.

2 minute rule

  • Find a two minute version of your desired outcome.
  • To run a marathon – put on running shoes and stretch.
  • To read a book – read just one page.

Law 4: Make it Satisfying

Associate pleasure

  • Pleasure encourages the brain to repeat the action.
  • What is immediately rewarded is repeated.
  • Add a little immediate pleasure to help sustain long-term habits.

Feel successful

  • Use little wins.
  • For each sales call – move a paperclip or marble from one jar to another.
  • Visual measurements – logs, progress bars, habit trackers.

Habit tracking

  • Make tracking a reward within itself.

Don’t break the chain

  • Lost days hurt you more than successful days help.
  • Create a daily chain and do everything to keep it going.
  • If you normally do 50 pushups, just do 10 to keep the chain going.
  • Use accountability partners – tell others about your habits, or give something away each time you break the chain.

🦸‍♂️ Action Plan

  • Identify the positive habits that you want to develop.
  • Identify the negative habits that you want to eliminate.
  • Observe your current situation by using a habit scorecard to assess your daily routine.
  • Create commitment – specify an action, time, and place.
  • Prime your environment – remove friction and make the habit easily accessible.
  • Increase dopaine during habit – eg listening to music whilst working out.
  • Reframe your perspective – eg working out is energising, not fatiguing.
  • Start easy by performing the habit for only 2 minutes initially.
  • Focus on small, 1% improvements.
  • Do not break the chain – consistency is king.

📹 Video Summary

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