Atomic Habits are pretty…big

Kareena Shah
4 min readSep 26, 2020

Read one page every night and you’ll end up finishing a book. Write one sentence a day and you’ll end up writing an entire article. Exercise one minute a day and you’ll end up with beefy muscles. 💪 💪

Seems simple right? Well, that’s what Atomic Habits by James Clear is all about.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The Fundamentals of Atomic Habits:

  • Habits should be small and simple to do, you should never feel obligated or unwilling to do them. They should be so easy that it takes you a maximum of 5 minutes to complete.
  • Habits are “fundamental units” of life just as atoms are the particles that make up life. Habits are what make you you.
  • Atomic also means “source of immense power”. You won’t see the effects of your habits right away, but as time goes by you’ll be more than surprised with the results.
Source: Google Images

Building habits is lifelong, but many find this continuous process hard to adhere to (trust me I’ve been there). People start making excuses like: “I’m busy” or “I’m tired” or “There just aren’t any results” when it comes to following through and completing their habits.

Why is it so hard? How come people start getting bored with their habits after a certain period of time? In simplest terms: they’re doing it wrong.

Atomic Habits provides you with a 4-fold guide to ensure you’re staying on track.

1. Cue ✅

It’s particularly important to make sure to put physical cues in a visible place, whether it be a book, a fruit, or weights, in order to signal your brain to start a specific behavior. When you see this cue, your brain will attribute it to a reward (which is something that it’s always in search of). This will then increase your dopamine levels.

2. Craving 🍽️

This leads to the next step in this process, which is where your cue ushers in a craving. This particular part is what truly motivates you to continue with the designated habit (as long as your habit is attractive). You start to crave the possible outcomes or feelings when the habit is complete prompting you to do it again and again.

3. Response 💬

Your craving leads you to execute and (finally) start your habit, such as doing meditation, practicing yoga, or watching the news. It’s essential to ensure that this habit is something you are comfortable with. If you can’t sit still for 30 minutes, then don’t try and meditate for 30 minutes. This will make your habit unattractive and you’ll stop doing it because you won’t receive the intended reward. Instead, try an alternative that is more personalized to you. In this case, meditate for 10 minutes.

4. Reward 🎁

Ding! Ding! Ding! Spoiler Alert! The secret ingredient to building habits is the reward. Rewards provide a sense of satisfaction, like after eating a meal and make the brain want to do it again and again. Rewards also help the brain to remember and know what habits to repeat in the future, thus forming the foundation for good habits.

These four steps are imperative to be able to build habits, but there are other factors that enable one to maintain them.

Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery

Environment:

A major component to making sure your cues are successful is making sure they are OBVIOUS. If you can’t see the cue, then you won’t ever do the habit. For example, if your Nintendo Switch is on your bed you’ll end up playing on it for hours, but if you place textbooks there instead, you’ll be more inclined to study.

Sometimes rearranging or dividing your space can be key when trying to maximize your ability to accomplish your habits.

Stay Committed:

Setting a specific time and place to complete a habit during your day can greatly increase your chances of completing it. If you know where and when to do it, you’ll feel a sense of ease and certainty.

Not only that, but stay intentional when trying to maintain the habit. Make a conscious effort to aid yourself throughout the process. For example, if you want to eat fruit every day, then buy enough fruit that will last you a week. Simple, right?

Every person has different needs and preferences, so personalizing your plan with elements specific to you will increase your chances of keeping and sticking with your good habits.

🔑 Takeaways

  • Atomic habits are like “compound interest.” The longer and more you do it, the better the outcome will be.
  • Keep your habits short and concise to prevent you from getting bored with them and also motivating you to do them.
  • Follow the 4-step process: Cue, Craving, Response, & Reward.
  • Other factors determine your ability to maintain your habits: Environment and your ability to Stay Committed.

Habits are an integral component in ensuring your exponential growth and allow you to change your life for the better.

Remember:

“Forming habits now is a gift to your future self.” — Atomic Habits

Kareena Shah is an inquisitive 15-year-old starting her unconventional journey to gain unconventional success. She is interested in Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing and is working towards making Space Inhabitation a reality.

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Kareena Shah

A 17-year-old space tech enthusiast interested in leveraging space technology to make space exploration and inhabitation a reality.