What I Highlighted While Reading Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear is a habit guru. Atomic Habits is an easy-to-read book and offers a system of small gradual changes for developing and increasing good habits while getting rid of bad ones. I highlighted quite a few key thoughts throughout the book. Here are a few of my favorites. I encourage everyone to check this book out.


Have you ever made a resolution? Set a goal? Had the desire to make a real change? Many good plans like these fail because once they are made, we’re not sure what to do next. My first read of the year was Atomic Habits, authored by James Clear.

The author, James Clear lays the groundwork of how not every good habit has to start with large goals. It’s the smaller steps over time that lead to either greatness or regret. He goes on to explain that goals are more of a one-time achievement versus a system that leads to a “cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement.”

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. In the same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They can seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous.” Pg. 16

I love this philosophy and found it empowering instead of overwhelming (as some goals can make you feel). Clear suggests creating your desired identity and then creating small changes in your life to be “votes” toward this identity. One of the identities I personally wanted to have was to be an organized person. I then made an implementation intention to clean off my desk before I finish work for the day. When I do, I am casting a vote for being an organized person.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” Pg. 38

Those two points are the crux of the book with the rest diving further into the four Laws of Behavior Change, the science behind these laws (in a digestible read), how to get started and keep going, and tips on how to succeed.

Of course, creating lasting habits does depend on your willingness to do them over and over again without excuses. As the author says, “When a habit is truly important to you, you have to be willing to stick to it in any mood.” Pg 236

I enjoyed this book. The way it’s set up with a summary of key points at the end of each chapter made it easy for me to read a chapter and then try some of the ideas discussed. It’s exciting when you can put ideas into action and see them at work firsthand.