Atomic Habits by James Clear: Summary and Action Guide (2/2)

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I recently read Atomic Habits and wrote a summarised version of each chapter for my own reference. But I went beyond to include my own tables and exercises based on James’s suggestions. And thus the Summary/Action Guide to Atomic Habits was born. I’m sharing it here in the hopes that others will find it useful.

This is part 2/2 of the book summary. Read part 1 here if you haven’t already!

Mandatory recommendation to support James Clear by buying his book. While I think my guide is fantastic, it can never beat learning from the author himself.



Motion vs action

  • Motion: planning and strategising and learning “how to”, but without doing.
  • Action: actually doing.
  • Examples
    • Motion: outlining ideas for 10 blog posts (haha!)
    • Action: actually sitting down to write a post
  • It’s easy to fall into the trap where you’re in motion convincing yourself you’re making progress. But motion in itself does not produce any outcome. Only actual action will get the results we’re looking to achieve.
  • Takeaway: Start practicing your habits immediately instead of spending all the time planning and delaying!

Habits form based on frequency of repetition, not time

  • Repetition leads to change at the neuronal level.
  • After enough repetitions, habits move from effortful practise to become automatic
    • Automaticity occurs when we no longer need to think about the steps involved
  • The key to developing a habit is that you take the actions you need to make progress and do it frequently.
  • We can practice our habits by making them easy (next chapter).

Exercise 11.1: Taking action

  • Write down one habit action you’ve been meaning to do
  • List 1 “motion” and “action” aspect.
  • How can you take action today to start the activity?

Select page 2 below to continue.

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