Please note that the explanations in this review are all handled to the rights of the author, and my analysis is just my viewpoint and takeaway of his words and knowledge. All rights reserved to James Clear.
I started to form a regime of reading into my lifestyle. During the day I read a self-help or mindful based book, and at night I read a fictional novel that gives me a sense of entertainment like a show would. The daytime book I indulged in this past week was ‘Atomic Habits’, like the title spoiled, and I do not think there could have been a better book to start off my reviews. This is not as much a book review than as a personal analysis, and key takeaways I got from this book that could possibly be an agreed or new perspective for you.
I take notes on my self-help and mindful books I read, which is also why I dedicate them to the day, so that I’m not awkwardly leaning in bed at night trying to jot down notes nonstop. So, basically, here is an analysis of ‘Atomic Habits’ coming straight from my notes to your computer screen. Enjoy.
This is a work of art to say the least. The beginning of the book had me instantly jot down good and bad habits in my life I could think of off the top of my head, and that simple activity set the entire tone for the rest of my reading. In short, habits are the compound interest of self-improvement, never dismiss the small changes. All of the single percent changes in your life lead to your biggest successes.
My personal example would be to write on my blog as often as possible and constantly post on my Twitter. Small activity day by day leads to active viewers and consistent followers. Sometimes the improvements will not even be noticeable, and that’s ok.
Mastery requires patience, and boy is patience a jumping factor for me. I had patience as a younger kid, then grew out of it as I was trying to find myself and felt like a self-centered teenager with time for no one but my own. And now I’ve gained that authority back. Living in a new city, in college, new people, new lifestyle, new obstacles; it all requires patience.
Patience is also a good example for the idea to focus on the progress more than the results desired. Focus day by day on becoming more aware of self and surroundings.
Focus on WHO I want to become. IDENTIFY who I am willing to strive for as a person. Decide the person I want to be, and prove to myself with small wins that I can in fact become that person.
I want to be an author one day? I want to be an editor one day? I want to work for The New York Times or The New Yorker one day? That is who I want to be, and my small wins are posting on this blog, making writing friends on Twitter, and planning on thriving in NaNoWriMo 2021.
In order to become my favorite self and person, I need to continue to edit my beliefs and expand my identity. I will not stay bottled up as the simple college girl taking classes to get a degree and move on with a 9-5 job and start a family once I’m settled. As normal and easing that sounds, that’s stopping. That is not expanding my potential or beliefs, that is giving up. Obviously that lifestyle is successful for many, but in my mind I know that that lifestyle will not cut it for me.
To start becoming who I want to be, simple habits must be implemented. Using the given statement rehearsals in this book, I am able to figure out when, where, why, and how I can train these new habits:
I will journal at 10:00 am in my room.
After I make coffee in the morning, I will read for 20 minutes.
After I read, I will start doing my school work.
While taking a break from school to eat lunch, I will relax and watch some Youtube.
You get the idea.
Now, a big concept I learned is that behavior is a function of the person in their environment. A stable environment is the root to creating stable habits. Even if you find ways to complete positive habits in a negative environment, you cannot stick to these in the long run.
Example: I cannot complete homework in the room where a bunch of my friends are talking, watching a show, and asking me questions/input to the conversation at hand. Maybe I could complete an assignment after multiple interruptions, but the chances of getting a good grade are slim, and if I keep falling back on staying in this environment during my dedicated schoolwork time, my grades will rot.
Anyways, make the habit attractive James Clear says. So basically, I need to make the desk in my room more fit to my needs. It needs to have a visual appeal that lures me in, so that I use that space to focus and do schoolwork rather than on the couch surrounded by people.
Next, I was blown away by Clear’s clear description (ha ha ha) of the desire to belong. Describing humans as herd animals, he states that proximity has a powerful effect on behavior. As much as I point myself out to enjoy alone time and be independent, he is not wrong. Although I do my own thing and write under the surveillance of my eyes only, there’s always that invisible peer pressure, as he puts it, that lures me into complying with the group norms of say my roommates, family, friends, or strangers at the club. This has made me think deeply about who I chose to surround myself with.
After that mind explosion of a concept, this author brought up a concept I partially already knew, which made me fancy myself. It’s as simple put as this; you don’t have to, you get to. Boom. You don’t have to go to college and study and learn, you get to. That’s the one I use on myself all the time, because I like to procrastinate. But it’s important to point out from this book that habits are formed by frequency, not time. It does not matter if you are in college for four years, if you do not show up to class and stay up to date on your assignments, what reward, challenge, or success did you really achieve?
Just master the habit of showing up.
Now this college example I’m using easily ties into the next point I found important in ‘Atomic Habits’, which is that the consequence of bad habits are delayed while the rewards are immediate. Didn’t go to class? Sure you got that extra hour of sleep that you insisted on needing, but what about all that content you missed that’s about to appear on next week’s test? Yup.
If you miss one class by accident, fine. But if you miss it again? That is starting a new habit, and not a good one. In quote by author James Clear, “don’t break the chain”.
So those are my takeaways from ‘Atomic Habits’. I truly believe I benefitted from this novel in a way that I never have before. I want to thank James Clear, even though he probably will not see this, for helping me become even more motivated to reach my goals and start new habits in my lifestyle change that I can easily see sticking with me. Again, most of these words besides the few examples are all given rights to the author, these were just my favorite and most important takeaways. I appreciate that Clear included a different example of famous people, organizations, and companies for each chapter to display the vulnerability of humankind, and to portray that if you have the right mindset, anything is possible. This was an amazing book.