Atomic Habits Book Review

Practical and insightful, Atomic Habits equips and inspires those ready to tackle their habits, one small change at a time.

Reviewed by: Steph Huddleston

Author: James Clear

Genre: Self-help

Publication date: 16th October 2018


Through Atomic Habits, James Clear shares research and his personal experiences with habit-forming (and breaking). His message is this: real change comes from the compound effects of hundreds of small decisions. Sharing inspiring stories of people who’ve implemented simple life hacks, Clear hopes to share the science of tiny habits with readers so that they can see lasting results throughout all areas of their life.

What we thought of Atomic Habits

‘Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. It is not always obvious when and where to take action. Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.’

Atomic Habits, James Clear

January for many of us is the time when we reevaluate aspects of life. Whether you made New Year’s resolutions, or not, Atomic Habits is certainly an encouraging read. Clear breaks down habit making and breaking into practical steps that feel achievable.

The book itself is well-written, with a spark of humility that makes one feel as though any difficulties forming habits up til now, is not a personal failure. But rather a case of not having the right strategies in place. The saying, ‘if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again’, feels very apt. But nevertheless, the many anecdotes of triumphant habit formers (athletes, CEOS, and scientists) left me feeling inspired to take control of my habits.

Where Clear seems to differ in his philosophy is in his emphasis that habit-forming is not as much about the particular habit — but about identity and systems to help you get closer to the identity you want to have. eg. being a healthy person or an organised person. Habits, in Clear’s perspective, cast a vote toward the type of person we want to become.

Clear does provide helpful, though simplified, solutions to assist with habit forming and breaking.

And, while I did indeed find myself rearranging my fridge to better reach my health goals (thank you chapter six, and environmental cues!) I am left wondering if there are some things that Clear does not really address in this book.

Atomic Habits does not address the additional challenges many people face, such as mental illness, which can be a real challenge when looking at behavioural changes. It may leave some readers feeling overwhelmed, or despondent, due to the books insistence on constant improvement.

To get the most out of this book, as with many self-help books, readers need to be poised already to take action on these specific life areas. They usually must have the time, resources and support to properly enact the proposed solutions. Atomic Habits is a helpful guide for some readers, looking to take charge of their life habits.

Get a copy of Atomic Habits

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