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Atomic Habits by James Clear

James lays out a digestible framework for building and breaking habits. His breakdown of habit formation into the Cue, Craving, Response, Reward (CCRR) feedback loop supports common sense in a lot of ways, and it’s re-assuring to see some formal research and anecdotal evidence to support his claims.

The anecdote about the British cycling team did not age well, but I appreciate that he was able to link to some updates in a footnote before the book was officially published.

The book uses the same narrative devices that all modern self-help and business books have come to rely on. I found myself speed-reading through certain sections because I could already see where the passage was headed. That said, there are some great nuggets that can be extracted from the book.

While reading I identified several smaller areas of my life where I could immediately apply some of these concepts. Make it obvious can go a long way, especially for smaller habits. When the floss picks are next to my tooth brush on my bathroom vanity, and vitamins are on the kitchen counter, I am more likely to use them.

Mapping back to identity is also a very deep way to sustain habits. Reflecting on whether or not a habit supports the person you want to be can motivate me to keep going in times when I’m feeling bored, lazy, or uninspired. A yearly reflection is also a meaningful way to determine if my habits are actually serving my identity.

Over the years I’ve been using some ideas within this framework at an unconscious level—its nice to have a full-picture view and more tools at my disposal.