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Five Lessons from the Book Atomic Habits You Can Apply Today

April 20, 2023

What are some of the top lessons from Atomic Habits, and how can they help with well-being? Atomic Habits, written by James Clear, is a bestselling self-help book that delves into the science behind habit formation and offers practical advice for building good habits and breaking bad ones. The book has gained popularity because of its actionable insights and the potential for improving overall well-being. Here are some of its main takeaways and actionable ideas you can apply today.

Small habits, done consistently over time, can significantly improve well-being.

Small habits can lead to big changes.

One of the key ideas in Atomic Habits is that small changes can lead to significant results. Clear argues that habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. Small habits, done consistently over time, can significantly improve well-being. For example, drinking an extra glass of water daily can improve hydration, have clearer skin, and increase energy levels.

Focus on systems, not goals.

Clear suggests that rather than setting goals, we should focus on building systems that support our desired outcomes. For example, instead of setting a goal to lose 10 pounds, focus on building a system of healthy eating habits and regular exercise. By focusing on the system, the goal becomes a natural byproduct of consistent effort.

Make habits obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.

Clear introduces the “Four Laws of Behavior Change” as a framework for building and maintaining habits. These laws state that habits must be obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying to stick to. By making habits obvious, we are more likely to remember to do them. We are more likely to want to do them by making them attractive. By making them accessible, we are more likely to do them consistently. And by making them satisfying, we are more likely to continue doing them over time.

Use habit stacking to create new habits.

Habit stacking is a technique that involves linking a new habit to an existing one. For example, if you already have a habit of brushing your teeth every morning, you could add a new habit of doing five minutes of meditation right after brushing your teeth. Stacking the new habit onto an existing one makes it easier to remember and do consistently.

Surround yourself with supportive people.

Clear emphasizes the importance of social support when it comes to building and maintaining habits. Surrounding yourself with people with similar habits and goals can help keep you motivated and accountable. Additionally, seeking positive feedback and support from friends and family can help reinforce good habits and break bad ones.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

By focusing on small changes, building supportive systems, and using proven techniques like habit stacking, we can improve our well-being and achieve our goals. As Clear says, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” Building strong systems and consistently taking small actions can create positive changes that last a lifetime.

One effective way to implement the lessons from Atomic Habits is to work with a health coach. Health coaches can help clients identify small changes that can lead to significant improvements in well-being and create systems that support those changes.


Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Avery.

Society for Personality and Social Psychology. (2019, February 7). The science of sticking to your goals. ScienceDaily.

Wood, W., & Rünger, D. (2016). Psychology of habit. Annual Review of Psychology, 67, 289-314.


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