Atomic Habits: 25 Discussion Questions and Quotes
8 May 2019
If you only read one book in your life Atomic Habits by James Clear is the one you should read.
Have you read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhugg? It’s a great book, isn’t it? Well, Atomic Habits takes what you learn in The Power of Habit and builds upon it in an astronomical way. The best part is its practicality. There are many pieces of advice you can apply in your life.
Honestly, when I first started reading Atomic Habits for a book club called Book Brewers in Surabaya, Indonesia that I helped co-found I wasn’t expecting anything different from any other self-development book. But then I realized after reading and discussing it at Book Brewers’ second meeting that this is not just ‘some’ ordinary book.
James Clear has done a superb job of mixing learning about habits and embodying lifelong learning. He’s a pretty sneaky guy because most people don’t want to read about lifelong learning unless they’re interested in lifelong learning specifically. But a lot of people are interested in building better habits and stopping bad ones. It’s in actuality a book about lifelong learning disguised as a book about habits.
Well, good for James Clear. It’s about time someone stepped up to the plate and delivered an actionable product. That’s what Atomic Habits is. An actionable product.
How to Approach Atomic Habits
The best approach you can take while reading this book is to try different strategies to find out which one works best for you. Don’t try them all out at once. As Mr. Clear put it, these are the strategies he’s tried applying in his life but may not work for every person. You’ll have to do some experimentation and find out what works best for you.
The most important takeaway you can get from Atomic Habits is that small changes seem unimportant at first, but then start compounding over time. Any good habit that is continuously repeated over time, no matter how small, will have a positive impact on your life in the long-run. The most important thing you can do is to show up.
In order to make a habit stick, you must make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying. These are the four laws of building a habit.
25 Discussion Questions, Quotes, Strategies and Book Recommendations From Atomic Habits
Thesis: Changes that seem small and unimportant at first will compound into remarkable results if you’re willing to stick with them.
Cue Craving Response Reward
One: Make It Obvious
Two: Make It Attractive
Three: Make It Easy
Four: Make It Satisfying
Best Quote for this club: BOOK BREWERS
One of the best ways to become better is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior. Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. You’ll rise together.
-The close, the many, the powerful
- What do you think the purpose of this book is?
- How has this book changed the way you look at your own life?
- What identity (who do you want to be?) do you want/already have? Why?
- What have you learned about society?
- In what ways has your life changed since reading this book (perspective)?
- What has been the most difficult for you when creating new habits? How can you get over this?
- What has been the most difficult for you when stopping bad habits? How can you get over this? Maybe it’s a habit you’ve had since you were a young adult or child.
- When implementing 1% improvement systems (1% wins)/habits are you going to apply/already have in your life to help you reach your ultimate identity/goals?
- What motivates you not to give up on your habit (goals)?
- Do you have problems you are looking to solve? What are they? What habit might help you solve that problem?
- Which strategies have you used already or want to use? How will these strategies help improve your life/business?
- Technology has increased, the world has changed, but our brains are fundamentally the same. What do you think about this?
- What ‘cultural norms’ where you’re from do you feel are an advantage or disadvantage to creating good habits? (You follow the habits of your culture without realizing it)
- What’s the most common act people put on to please others?
- To what point do you think it’s okay to mimic your idols?
- What environmental issues have held you back? How have you solved this issue?
- Give an example of a Decisive Moment that did or didn’t work to your advantage.
- What do you think about journaling and do you fo it?
- How can you get an immediate return on a delayed return action such as writing a book or exercise?
- What good habits do you truly enjoy?
- What habit trackers do you use if any? Tell us about it. Personal and work life.
- Which measurements do you try avoiding?
- What is your natural ability and which fields align with your ability?
- What are the tasks you know are good for you but you’ve become bored with? How can you overcome this?
- How do you fine-tune your skills?
Donald: If you have several habits that you’d like to build, would you build them one by one or all at once? If it’s one by one, how do you choose which habit to build first?
Arlan: What strategy do you recommend to break bad habit such as procrastination?
Rama: It’s about the British cycling team example…How do you identify the variables to focus on for the given result you’re after? Especially if you’re trying to accomplish something big… I mean for a healthy lifestyle and other general stuff like that it’s pretty easy to identify the variables. What if you’re in a sector where there’s no clear roadmap?
J: Give one example of a bad habit you will delete from your life, and how do you plan on doing so?
Give one example of a good habit you will create, and how do you plan on doing so?
Richi: I see the parallel between Atomic Habits’ (smaller habits improves the bigger things) w/ Kanban (lean method) & Kaizen (continuous improvement).
How can we apply Atomic Habits for improving office workflow, w/ similar level as Kanban & Kaizen combined?
Atomic Habits Strategies
–Habit Scorecard +, -, and = list to decide what you can replace.
–Always ask yourself if your behavior is helping you to become the type of person you wish to be.
–Implementation Intention (The Power of Habit) On (Day), At (Time), In/At (Place)
–Habit Stacking After <Current Habit> finishes, I will <New Habit>
–Habit Stacking and Temptation Bundling – After <Current Habit>, I will <Habit I Need>. After <Habit I Need>, I will <Habit I Want>
–In Motion – Plan, strategize, learn.
–Action – Deliver an outcome on what you planned, strategized, and learned.
–Associate your habits with something you enjoy.
–Leave your phone in a different room when trying to focus on a task.
–Two-Minute Rule: When you start a new habit it should take less than two minutes.
Read one page
Run for 2 minutes
–Just Show Up
–Make sure your rewards align with your identity.
You want to lose weight, don’t eat a donut as your reward.
–Habit Tracking will help keep you motivated throughout your journey.
Never miss twice
Record immediately after habit
Show up even on bad days
–Habit Contract is a verbal or written contract in which you state your commitment to a particular habit and the punishment that will occur if you don’t follow through. Find one or two people to hold you accountable and sign a contract.
Wear something you don’t like
Run a mile
–Combine two or more of your experiences to create a new field.
–Study, Experiment, Adjust, and Practice (SPAR)
-Flow State (in the zone) – Tasks should be about 4% beyond your current ability.
Not too hard, not too easy, it should be just above just right. You must slightly push yourself.
–Keep your habits novel
Be endlessly fascinated
Always be aware not to let mistakes slide
–Habits + deliberate practice = Mastery
Favorite Quotes From Atomic Habits
- It’s not about becoming legendary, it’s about fulfilling your own potential.
- Winners and losers have the same goals. The thing that makes the difference is how they approach their practice or systems.
- We must stay in a cycle of endless refinement and improvement. (lifelong learning)
- Behind every action is a belief.
- By making a habit automatic it frees you up to focus on continuous improvement.
- If your habits remain mindless you can’t expect to change them. (awareness)
- Your habits change depending on the room you’re in and the cues in front of you.
- ‘The lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.’ Game of Thrones, Ned Stark says to Arya in the first season.
- We don’t choose our earliest habits, we imitate them.
- It’s easy to get bogged down trying to find the best plan. Sometimes we get so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action. (This is why most people don’t succeed at what they want to do because they never get started.)
- It’s better to do less than you hoped than to do nothing at all.
- Positive emotions cultivate habits. Negative emotions destroy them.
- Most people will spend all day chasing quick hits of satisfaction. The Road Less Traveled is the road of delayed gratification. If you’re willing to wait for the rewards, you’ll face less competition and get a better pay off.
- The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It’s the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows.
- Genes don’t determine your destiny. They determine your areas of opportunity.
- Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, then using this new habit as the foundation to advance.
Book Recommendations Similar to Atomic Habits
–Cadence by Pete Williams (1% improvements)
–The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett (Lifelong learning, The science behind creativity, purposeful practice)
–The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (Making agreements with yourself (your behavior))
–Influence by Robert Cialdini (Influencing people’s choices)
–Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday (pursue power, prestige, and status)
–The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene (pursue power, prestige, and status)
–The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
–Principles by Ray Dalio