BEST Book on Building New Habits – Atomic Habits Book Summary [Part 1]

BEST Book on Building New Habits – Atomic Habits Book Summary [Part 1]


It doesn’t matter if you’re a high school student or a doctor. We all struggle with stopping bad habits and implementing good ones. In this video, we’ll go over James Clear’s highly anticipated Atomic Habits and provide you with actionable advice on how to live more effectively. What’s going on guys? Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. For those of you who are new here, I have a degree in Neuroscience as well as my M.D. I’m obsessed with life optimization, from study habits to effective sleep and everything between. That being said, I’ve read a lot of books and research articles on habits and behavior change. And I can confidently say that Atomic Habits by James Clear is one of the best that I have come across. I’ll be the first to say that there wasn’t necessarily anything new in this book, but it did do a masterful job of synthesizing and condensing the information in a highly digestible and actionable series of steps. First, the underlying principle that this book builds from is the idea that small, incremental changes can result in massive results. Too often, we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. However, the compounding effect doesn’t just apply to investing. Small 1% improvements in your life compound to create astounding effects in your life. For example, if you improve 1% each day for a full year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the end. As James says, “habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” Sure, a 1% better or worse choice in the moment seems insignificant, but these countless moments add up to who you are day-to-day. “Success is the product of daily habits- not once-in-a-lifetime transformations” This effect applies to both positive and negative compounding. Productivity compounds, meaning that automating an old task or mastering a new task allows you to handle more without thinking, allowing your brain to focus on other areas. Same with knowledge – learning one new idea doesn’t earn you your M.D., but a commitment to lifelong learning can make you an excellent doctor. Your negative self-talk compounds as well. The more you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, or stupid, or worthless, the more you’ll interpret life through that lens and ingrain it further and further. Next, understand that progress is not an overnight event. James Clear hits the nail on the head when he describes breakthrough moments as the result of many previous actions. You don’t simply work out for one month and see a huge body transformation. Habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance. He describes this Valley of Disappointment in the early and middle stages, where you are expecting to make linear progress. However, those most powerful outcomes are delayed. To make a meaningful difference, habits must persist past the Valley of Disappointment and cross the Plateau of Latent Potential. I’ve said it time and time again on this channel, Your motivation or goals or inspiration will not carry you, but your systems will. Or as James Clear eloquently says, “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Clear points out a few issues with goals. First, winners and losers have the same goals. We concentrate on those who end up winning and mistakenly attribute their success to their ambitious goals. This is a textbook example of survivorship bias. Second, achieving a goal is only a momentary change. When you solve problems at the results level, you only solve them temporarily. In order to have sustained improvement, you need to solve them at a systems level. And third, goals restrict your happiness. The implicit assumption behind any goal is that once you reach the goal, then, and only then, will you be happy. If you’re a pre-med or medical student, you understand the concept of delayed gratification in becoming a doctor. That is exactly what is going on here. Goals create a dichotomy. Either you achieve your goal and are successful, or you fail and are a disappointment. If you instead fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. Now Clear describes three layers of behavior change – outcomes, processes, and identity. Changing your outcomes would be something like losing weight, or getting into medical school. This operates on the level of goals. The second layer of changing your process would be something like implementing a new routine at the gym, or going through the Med School Insiders website to optimize your medical school application. This applies to changes in your habits. The third and deepest layer is changing your identity. If you believe you are a fit and athletic person, or believe you are well suited to be a doctor, your behaviors and results will follow. This applies to changes in your beliefs. Changing your beliefs change your identity, and this is the most powerful agent of change. To illustrate this point, take two people who are trying to quit smoking. When offered a cigarette, the first person says “no thanks, I’m trying to quit.” But the second says “No thanks, I’m not a smoker.” This is a small and subtle difference, but this power of language is tremendous. The goal is not to read a book, but rather to become a reader. The goal is not to get an A in organic chemistry, but to become an excellent student. The goal is not to bike 100 miles, but become a cyclist. On the flip side, this can work against you. Be careful of saying things like, “I’m bad at math” or “I’m not a morning person”. To get an A in math or consistently wake up at 5 AM now results in cognitive dissonance, where your behaviors and beliefs contradict one another. And people hate contradicting themselves. This all sounds well and good, but how do I actually get my desired identity to stick? Well, the more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior. Each experience in life modifies your self-image, but I didn’t consider myself a YouTuber after uploading just my first video. But after dozens and dozens of uploads, my self-image began to change. This is a gradual evolution. We don’t change in one moment, but rather we change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit. The most practical way to change who you are is to change what you do. Every time you write a page, you are a writer, and you are reinforcing this identity. But each time you engage in a bad habit, you’re reinforcing that identity as well. Changing your identity is a simple two-step process. First, decide the person you want to be. And second, prove it to yourself with small wins to reinforce that identity. But easier said than done. And that brings us to The Four Laws. The Four Laws are the prescriptive method of this book – the actionable steps on how to actually change your habits. But to understand how to change habits, it’s first essential to understand what purpose they serve. Habits are essentially autopilot scripts your brain writes to decrease the cognitive load of solving recurring problems. The first time you walk to a new class, you spend significant effort figuring out where exactly it is. But after a couple of days, you no longer consciously even think about it. Habits are essentially a memory of steps that solved a problem in the past. And whenever the conditions are right, you draw on this memory and automatically apply the same solution. By offsetting these functions to your subconscious, your conscious mind has more space and resources to address novel stimuli. I’m a huge proponent of discipline and systematic habit formation. and I often get asked whether all this structure makes my life dull. Absolutely not. As Jocko Willink says, “discipline equals freedom.” People without a grasp on their habits are those with the least amount of freedom. Without good financial habits, you’ll always be short on cash. Without healthy food and exercise habits, you’ll be constantly lethargic. Without good habits, you’ll always be behind the curve. And with effective habits, you open up more time for yourself, and your mind is free to focus on new challenges and new experiences. Similar to the habit cycle proposed by Charles Duhigg in The Power of Habit, James Clear describes four steps cue, craving, response, and reward. First, the cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. This indication triggers a craving, which is the motivational force behind every habit. Third, the response is the actual behavior that is performed, and finally, the reward – the end goal of every habit. The first two steps, cue and craving, are the problem phase, and the last two steps, response and reward, are the solution phase. For example, The cue is you’ve reached a difficult problem in your MCAT studying Next, the craving. You feel stuck and want to relieve your frustration Third, the response. You pull out your phone and check Instagram Number four, the reward. You satisfy your craving and feel relieved. Checking social media becomes associated with feeling frustrated or bored while studying. Thank you for watching part one, at part two we’ll be covering each of the individual four laws and show you actionable steps on implementing good habits and eliminating bad habits.

56 thoughts on “BEST Book on Building New Habits – Atomic Habits Book Summary [Part 1]

  1. The more I read these new 'habit books' the more I feel all of these books are a derivative of the mother of all habit books – 'The power of habit – by Charles Duhigg'. They all keep presenting the same ideas in new packages. Nothing against these other books – but I have to recommend one, it would be 'The power of habit'

  2. Thanks so much. i bought this book over audible after watching this video. it starts to have impacts in my daily life once i apply the strategy mentioned in this book. Thanks Kevin.

  3. This is an excellent video. But I say this just to ask, not to criticize/condemn: how is it not a copyright violation? It is so good that it seems to undermine the need to buy the book, despite an encouragement to do so.

  4. I have the book and I think your summary and video is great. I do think the book is helping me quite a bit. Your summary though flipped things around in a nice way. Please consider liking and subscribing to my channel, where I am making a habit of painting more, and am very concerned with the process of painting! cheers!!! 🌻✌️🌈

  5. I was about to start this one. So far the best I've come across are "The power of habits" & "Smarter Faster Better" by Charles Duhigg and "Brain Apps" by Robert G. Best, this one is great because it sums up a lot of other books and reasearch

  6. Those who parrot the words of others rarely have any thing new to say and never anything original. Be unique. That is genius.

  7. SUMMARY
    1. HABITS ARE THE COMPOUND INTEREST OF SELF-IMPROVEMENT

    > small incremental changes can result in massive results

    > 1% better/worst choice of the moment seems insignificant, but it will add up to who you are on the day-to-day basis

    > Success is the product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformations, this applies to both positive and negative compound

    > Automating an old task allow your brain to focus on other areas and mastering a new task

    > The negative compound works as well, eg: the more you tell yourself that you are not good enough, the more you will interpret your life to become like that

    2. PROGRESS IS NOT OVERNIGHT

    > Habits often appear to make no difference until you cross into a certain critical point and unlock a new level of performance

    > People often expect to make linear progress, but the fact is, powerful outcomes are delayed. To make a meaningful difference, habits must persist pass the value of disappointment and cross the plateau of potential

    3. YOU FALL TO THE LEVEL OF YOUR SYSTEM

    > You don't rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems

    > If you are having trouble changing habits, the problems isn't you, the problem is your system

    > Goals are the results that you want to achieve, systems are the processes that lead to the results

    > Clear points out a few issues with goals:

    1.) Winners and losers have the same goals.

    We often were mistaken that the winners win because of their ambitious goals, but that's not the case. We concentrate on those who end up winning and mistakenly attribute their success to their ambitious goals. This is a textbook example of survivorship bias.

    2.) Achieving a goal is only a momentary change.

    When you solve problems on the results level, you only solve them temporarily. In order to have a sustainable improvement, you need to solve them at the system level

    3.) Goals restrict your happiness.

    You often think in dichotomy: either you achieve your goal and become happy, OR you failed and full of disappointment.

    If you instead fall in love with the process, rather than the product, you will give yourself permission to be happy

    4. HABITS SHAPE YOUR IDENTITY

    > There are 3 layers of behaviours change:

    1.) Outcome: changing your outcome will be something like losing weight or getting into medical school. This operates on the level of goals

    2.) Process: changing your process will be something like implementing a new routine. This applies into changing your habits.

    3.) Identity: the deepest layer of behaviours change. If you believe that you are a fit and athletic person, your behaviours and results will follow. This applies to change your beliefs.

    EG: For the person who tries to quit smoking, the first person would say: "No thanks, I'm trying to quit". but the second person would say "No thanks, I'm not a smoker".

    The goal IS NOT to read a book, BUT become a READER.

    The goal IS NOT to get an A in organic chemistry, BUT become AN EXCELLENT STUDENT.

    The goal IS NOT to bike 100 miles, BUT become A CYCLIST.

    On the flip side, this can work against you, so BE CAREFUL to say:

    "I'm bad at math"

    "I'm not a morning person"

    5. HOW DO YOU CHANGE YOUR IDENTITY?

    > The more you repeat your behaviours, the more you will reinforce the identity associated with the behaviours

    > We don't change in one moment, but rather, we change by bit day by day, habit by habit

    > The most practical way to change who you are, is to change what you do

    > Changing your identity:

    1.) Decide the person you want to be

    2.) Prove it to yourself with the small win

    s

    > HABITS 101

    1.) Know the purpose of habits

    Discipline equals freedom

    – No grasp on their habits = no freedom

    – No financial habits = short on cash

    – No healthy food and exercise habits = constantly lethargic

    – Without good habits, you will always behind the curve

    2.) Habit Cycle:

    – Cue: triggers your brain to initiate the behavior

    – Craving: the motivational force behind every habit

    – Respond: actual behavior that is performed

    – Reward: the end-goal of every habit

    The first two steps (cue and craving) are the problems phase, and the last two steps (respond and reward) are the solution phase.

    EG:

    – Cue: you reach a difficult problem in your MCAT studying

    – Craving: you feel stuck and want to relieve your frustration

    – Respond: You pull out your phone and check Instagram

    – Reward: you satisfy your craving and feel relieved

  8. I thought this book was disappointing….its examples were far too simple….such as switch the light switch off, make the bed…

  9. I’m currently reading the 7 habits of highly effective people.. I have three books in hand. Atomic habit , the power of habit, the 48 laws of power. Which one I should read first ?

  10. The phrase “life optimisation” is stressful in itself. Anxiety inducing.

    I agree with the concept of tiny baby steps for progressive change. Let’s redefine “success” for the next generation so they feel less pressure to achieve, strive, make things happen. Can’t they just enjoy the moment?

    It would be really nice to see kids just flow & play for a change.

  11. Start building new habits. Smile, meditate, shut up, keep a gratitude journal, journal every day, work on your vocabulary regularly.

  12. Success is not a dichotomy it is a tracheotomy finish, failure (stopping), or contentious analyses and reassessment to the goal. Rinse and repeat.

  13. Totally agree that this book is one of the best regarding self-improvement.
    I was looking for a summary of this book to show my students how great it is and yours is just the perfect one.

    Would appreciate it if you could turn on “autogenerated caption” (just like in Part 2 of the clip) so that my Thai students could understand the content better.

  14. Thanks for the awesome work! Is it possible for you to merge both parts into one video?

  15. I really enjoy your videos. However, one ad per video would be really nice. It's really distracting getting hit with an advertisement every couple of minutes. For that reason I will not be subscribing.

  16. Great video! Can you please let me know who did the animation for you? I want to create something similar for myself.

  17. Thanks for this awesome video. Can you please stitch together the two parts and upload as one so that it's easier to share? We'd love to be able to link directly to it from within our free app.

  18. I buy the part about incremental change as being a better road to success in achieving one's goals. Why? Because it makes sense and doesn't take a huge amount of willpower. You can slowly build an edifice without the fear of slipping as much as you would, say, taking a huge leap towards your goal with the risk that you'll fail massively.. At least, your daily battles won't be overwhelming. However, the rest of it I don't buy. Sorry, folks.

  19. Honestly, this video is amazing! I got so much deep Inspiration and understanding from it. Plus the outline is so clear. Thank You!!

  20. Nice video. But as a person on the spectrum, aka a person with significant differences in my cognitive processing, I see a potential very dangerous problem how the term "identity" is used. If you measure your identity by the "success" of your actions, then you are single-mindedly heading for an identity crisis.

    My solution (or say approach): Your reference must not be what the media is currently selling as desirable, but the reference must be your own sensory perception. In order to be able to use your own sensory perception as a reference, you have to train the sensitivity for it. I use tantra for that. By means of rituals one trains one's own perception explicitly.

    At least in the sexy kind of Tantra that is widespread in europe. idk about the original teaching of tantra from india. I assume there are other possibilities to sensitize your sensory perception too. The sex thing is certainly not for everyone.

    If you want reliability for your identity, don't build it on factors that aren't under your control. You are only one accident or one new financial crisis or one sudden cultural shift away from an identity crises, that throws you months or years back.

  21. My story: I have been on a weight loss awareness since I had my first, second, third and forth child. I though I would have to jump around doing cardio or get a gym membership to lose all the weight. I thought the extreme measures that was taking me out of my comfort zone was gonna help me make dramatic weight loss changes. Tried it and Yes I lost weight here and there. But I yoyo-ed back to even more weight once everyday life hit. 😅. I felt uncomfortable and basically not good about me. Basically I look fat but I didn’t care. 😅 Last year I decided re-program my mind and take out all the un-healthy thoughts and belief I had about weight loss and the main question: Who am I? I slowly work on me, what i enjoyed doing, who I enjoyed life with and basically self-love. I changed from the inside out. I decided to make tiny changes every day and no extreme workouts or gym memberships. This was 10 months ago and with just a new mindset and weeding out unhealthy thought and belief I was able to lose 1 pound every one to two weeks. (For a women that’s a lot😉). Im a different person because I am now choosing to live in every single moment. Enjoy the little things guys, literally.

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