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Millionaire Secrets

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones Hardcover – October 16, 2018

by James Clear (Author)

4.8 out of 5 stars

67,826 ratings

Whatever your goal, Atomic Habits gives you a proven system to help you improve every day. James Clear, one of the most renowned experts on habit formation, offers the most effective strategies to show you precisely how to build good habits and break bad ones and master the little habits that produce amazing outcomes.

If you're having difficulty changing your routine, the issue isn't yours. The issue is in your system. The bad habits keep repeating themselves and again, not because you're not willing to change however, you are using the wrong approach to changing. It is not possible to attain the heights of your ambitions. You are unable to rise above the level of your system. You'll find an effective system that has been tested and proven to lift you to new levels.


Clear is well-known by his capacity to break down complicated concepts into simple actions which can be applied to work and daily life. In this book, he draws upon the most tested ideas from psychology, biology and neuroscience to develop an easy-to-read guide to creating habits that are permanent and bad habits insurmountable. As they go readers will be enthused and entertained by true tales of Olympic winners, gold-medallists and award-winning artists entrepreneurs, life-saving doctors and renowned comedians who have mastered the study of small habits to improve their craft and climb into the top of their game.


Learn to:

* Make time for new routines (even when things get crazy);

* overcome the lack of motivation and willpower

* make your space a place to help you succeed;

* return to the right the track when you've strayed off the path;

...and and much more.


Atomic Habits will alter your perception of the process of progress and achievement and will provide you with the strategies and tools that will help you change your life-style habits, whether you're an athlete looking to take home a trophy or an organization that wants to revolutionize an industry or an individual who wants to stop smoking, shed weight, manage stress or reach any other goals.

Haical Sajovic Haddad

5.0 out of 5 stars

Updated review after 100 days building small yet lasting habits.

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2018

Verified Purchase

I previously wrote this review right after reading the book. Today, February 15th, after applying James’s system for 100 days on a few tiny habits, I feel compelled to share updates with you because they have sincerely worked.


I will divide the review into 5 parts. The first part is a summary of the book with short excerpts highlighted while taking notes. Next, I hope to share pieces of advice that have motivated me while building new habits. Following that, I will share how I implemented the first 3 habits throughout these months. Then, some thoughts to whom I would recommend reading the book. Last, there are 4 complementary readings.


SUMMARY


[Introduction] James starts by sharing personal strategies he implemented to recover from a serious accident in high school. That event forced him to improve the quality of his routine to get his life in order, coming to the conclusion that “we all deal with setbacks, but in the long run, the quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits. With the same habits, you will end up with the same results. But with better habits, anything is possible.”


[Section I : The Fundamentals]


[Chapter 1] Here we learn the power of compounding effect: changes that seem small and unimportant at any given day will compound into remarkable results if we are willing to stick with them for months and years. James explains that “breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change.” Comparing to habits, he shows that bamboo can barely be seen during the first couple of years while the roots grow underground before exploding for almost 100 feet into the air in a few weeks. From that perspective, we come to understand the best outcomes are generally delayed.


[Chapter 2] Based on a 3-layer concentric circle behavior change model—divided into outcome change, process change, and identity change—James explains that we should pay attention to our inner identity by focusing on beliefs, assumptions, and values. “Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.” The strongest changes, then, happen from inside out, starting from our identity, passing through the process, and ultimately changing the outcome.


[Chapter 3] In this chapter we are introduced to a 4-step framework, which is composed of cue, craving, response, and reward. James calls it 'The 4 Laws of Behavior Change'. He then explains that we can think of each law as a lever that influences our behavior—when the levers are in the right positions, they create good habits effortless whereas when they are in the wrong position, it is nearly impossible. Through examples, he explains that “the cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and, ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.” Together they create a habit loop that, when repeated many times, habits become automatic.


[Section II : Make It Obvious]


[Chapter 4] A primer on how cues play a crucial role in predicting habit formation without consciously thinking about the outcomes. Once our habits become so common, the cues associated with them become essentially invisible because they are deeply encoded. If we want to create better habits, a good idea is to be aware of the cues. James finishes up by sharing a strategy called 'Habits Scorecard'—a simple exercise to become more aware of our behavior on a daily basis. We first write down a chronological list of our daily habits and, once we have a full list, we score each habit as an effective, ineffective, or neutral habit. Besides noticing what is actually going on, we can notice if certain behaviors help us become the type of person we wish to be.


[Chapter 5] The cues that can trigger a habit come in a wide range of forms, and the 2 most common cues are time and location. When we make a specific plan for when and where we will perform a new habit, we are more likely to follow through. Stacking our habits by pairing a new habit with a current habit is a form to connect our behavior to our own advantage. An example when building a daily journaling habit would be: “after I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will journal for 5 minutes.”


[Chapter 6] This chapter shows how our environment plays a crucial role in defining habit behaviors. “Given that we are more dependent on vision than any other sense, it should come as no surprise that visual cues are the greatest catalyst of our behavior.” To build good habits, then, we should either make desirable cues obvious in our environment or build new habits in a new environment to avoid fighting against old ones.


[Chapter 7] One of the most practical ways to break a bad habit is to reduce exposure to the cue that causes it. As James points out, “it is easier to avoid temptation than resist it.”


[Section III : Make It Attractive]


[Chapter 8] James explains how the modern food industry has created products that are more attractive and addictive to consumers, and by doing so he shows that the more attractive an opportunity is, the more likely it is to become habit-forming. Every behavior that is highly habit-forming tends to be associated with higher levels of dopamine. It is the anticipation of a reward that motivates us to take action. “Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do.”


[Chapter 9] “We tend to adopt habits that are praised and approved of by our culture because we have a strong desire to fit in and belong to the tribe.” That said, it is common to pick up habits and behaviors from our parents, peers, and colleagues. There is also a tremendous internal pressure to comply with the norms of the tribe. And, finally, we try to copy the behavior of successful people because we desire success ourselves. One of the best strategies to build better habits is to join a culture where the desired behavior is the normal behavior.


[Chapter 10] To avoid unnecessary and detrimental cravings, we should highlight the benefits of avoiding a bad habit by making it seem unattractive. “Habits are unattractive when we associate them with negative feelings.”


[Section IV : Make It Easy]


[Chapter 11] “All habits follow a similar trajectory from effortful practice to automatic behavior, a process known as automaticity. Automaticity is the ability to perform a behavior without thinking about each step, which occurs when the nonconscious mind takes over.” The key component is to pay close attention to the frequency we perform a habit, not much for how long we have been practicing it.


[Chapter 12] Since every action requires a certain amount of energy, we are motivated to do what is easy. By contrast, the more energy required, the less likely it is to occur. “You don't actually want the habit itself. What you really want is the outcome the habit delivers. The greater the obstacle, the more friction there is between you and your desired end state.” That is why we should reduce the friction associated with our habits by creating a prosperous environment to make future actions easier.


[Chapter 13] There are decisive moments that deliver an outsized impact every single day. As James puts, these decisive moments are a fork in the road, sending us in the direction of a productive path or an unproductive one. To avoid procrastination, the skill of 'Showing Up' says that we should start a new habit by taking baby steps, making it as easy as possible to take action. “A new habit should not feel like a challenge. The actions that follow can be challenging, but the first 2 minutes should be easy. What you want is a gateway habit that naturally leads you down a more productive path.” He calls it the 'Two-Minute Rule', meaning that new habits should take less than 2 minutes to do in the beginning. Once the habit is established we can improve and master the finer details.


[Chapter 14] In order to keep bad habits away is to make them difficult in the first place. There are 2 interesting strategies to improve our future behavior. [1] Make good choices in advance before we can fall victim to temptation in the future. James gives a personal example by sharing that whenever he is looking to cut calories he will ask the waiter to split his meal and box half of it to go before the meal is served. If, however, he waits for the meal to be served and tries to eat just half, that would never happen. [2] Make onetime actions that can automate our future habits and deliver increasing returns over time such as buying a good water filter, unsubscribing from unwanted emails, moving to a friendlier neighborhood, buying a standing desk, or setting up automatic bill pay.


[Section V : Make It Satisfying]


[Chapter 15] We should make sure to feel immediately satisfied after performing a new habit to increase the odds that the behavior will be repeated next time. “The human brain has evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards.” For that, we can add a little bit of immediate pleasure to the habits that pay off in the long-run.


[Chapter 16] Here we learn how to measure our progress by tracking our habits. The immediate satisfaction it delivers—as mentioned earlier in Chapter 15—is one of the many benefits that standout. Besides that, James says, “when we get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more motivated to continue down that path.” The most basic format to track our habits is to get a calendar and mark an X each time we stick with our routine. One of the most important passages of the entire book is as follows: “If you miss one day, try to get back into it as quickly as possible. The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit. This is a distinguishing feature between winners and losers. Anyone can have a bad performance, a bad workout, or a bad day at work. But when successful people fail, they rebound quickly.”


[Chapter 17] In order to prevent bad habits and/or eliminate unhealthy behaviors, James says that we could either add an instant cost to the action or make it painful. A habit contract is also another strategy to hold our accountability: “It is a verbal or written agreement in which you state your commitment to a particular habit and the punishment that will occur if you don't follow through. Then you find one to two people to act as your accountability partners and sign off on the contract with you.”


[Section VI : Advanced Techniques]


[Chapter 18] We learn how to distinguish habits when genes may or may not influence our performance especially for competitive activities. “One of the best ways to ensure your habits remain satisfying over the long-run is to pick behaviors that align with your personality and skills.” James proposes us to set some time apart to explore new activities in the beginning, before shifting our focus to exploit them thoroughly.


[Chapter 19] When we find the sweet spot of our ability we tend to learn best and fastest. The ‘Goldilocks Rule’ states that "humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.”


[Chapter 20] One downside of certain habits, James explains, is that we may stop paying attention to the little details and errors. To counterbalance that we should review and reflect on the process over time to remain conscious of our own performance. Using a simple chart to convey his message, we learn that “the process of mastery requires that you progressively layer improvements on top of one another, each habit building upon the last until a new level of performance has been reached and a higher range of skills has been internalized.”


PERSONAL THOUGHTS


Reading the book twice helped me take better notes and capture details. In the meantime, I thought about 3 simple strategies that could improve our adherence to new habits. Let me share these strategies here with you, and in the following section, I will describe how I managed to cultivate the first 3 new habits upon reading the book—following the system proposed by James together with these 3 strategies.


[1] The first strategy is about determining a 'commitment time frame' to avoid excuses during this initial trial period. A 1-month time frame is a fair commitment, choosing to start on the first day of the month to practice it every single day for a full month. Just at the end of the period, I will take the time to reflect and evaluate the pros and cons.


[2] The next one is to choose only 1 new habit each month. In doing so we become familiar with the practice intentionally while we develop a sense of purpose.


[3] Last, during the first month of any new habit, I noticed that if I spend time exploring the details and the benefits, my motivation stays high. It doesn't only help us create better practices, but it is also inspiring to learn from others who have succeeded previously by adding the same habit into their lives. Podcasts, articles, videos, books, online courses, tutorials, and blog posts are all good sources.


IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW HABITS


[Nov 1, 2018] I had been wanting to journal on a daily basis for many years but that had never happened. Although I have carried a notebook with me for quite a while, it has never worked as a real journal—a daily routine, when we sit down and write personal thoughts, intentions, and reflections at around the same time. Instead, it has been mostly used to take notes during meetings, to write down ideas and thoughts, to express travel memories, and to doodle. Today, after 3+ months, I haven't looked back once, and still can't believe it took me that long to start this daily habit. During the first month, I read blog posts, watched videos, and even read a short and inexpensive book to foster my creativity.


[Dec 1, 2018] I have been impressed by the physical capabilities we can develop through body movement. Although yoga has been a special part of my life since I was 18, I hadn't given proper attention to handstands. But now, after 2+ months practicing it every day, it is rewarding to see improvements on a weekly basis. Again, I definitely recommend watching videos and reading tutorials to find your favorite method. This is the perfect habit to stack at the end or in the middle of any physical movement practice you may enjoy.


[Jan 1, 2019] By now we know the benefits of cold showers—ranging from healthier skin appearance all the way to a more resilient perspective of the world. I had previously taken cold showers for 3 months in 2017, but it was a “goal” mindset instead of a “habit” mindset. After that trial I set aside and, although I have kept taking cold showers once or twice a week since then, I wished cold showers was the default mode. Now, after 1+ month, I can't see myself taking warm showers. After all, it is about intention. Again, we can learn uncountable benefits of cold showers by reading success stories. One of my inspirations was Wim Hof. It isn't comfortable in the beginning of any chosen day, but after 3-4 minutes, both my breath and thoughts calm down.


Putting them together, these 3 habits don't take more than 30 minutes of my day. While I spend about 10 minutes journaling and 10 more minutes practicing handstands, I save 5 minutes taking cold showers because I won't stay any longer than necessary.


RECOMMENDATION


[1] First, if you have watched videos, listened to podcasts, read articles and books on habit formation and, after all that, you feel satisfied, then, please, save your money and time.


[2] However, if you are like me, that even after reading a few books on building habits and having successfully added good habits to your life, feel that there is still room for improvement, this book can be a terrific addition.


[3] Last, if you haven't spent much time and energy discovering a good system to build lasting habits while breaking bad ones, please, read this book.


COMPLEMENTARY READINGS


[1] Game Changers, by Dave Asprey, exposed me to a wealth array of ideas/habits/tools that have helped me decide which new habit to build next. The book is divided into 46 laws.


[2] Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, helped me focus on less but more important tasks, giving clarity to what matters most. This is especially interesting to break bad habits.


[3] The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle, brought more motivation when learning new skills based on the assumptions that we develop new talents through deep practices, finding our ignition identity, and having the right coach to guide us genuinely. I read it many years ago, then, a few years back, I read his following book called The Little Book of Talent—which is perhaps even more to the point.


[4] The Systems View of Life, by Fritjof Capra, enlightened my perspectives on how nature and living beings are systematically integrated. It is a profound and slightly academic book that can complement Atomic Habits especially to tie together the 4-step framework into the feedback loop system.


I sincerely hope you, too, have fun while building new habits.


Take care,


Haical

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Tom Venuto, Author of Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle

5.0 out of 5 stars

Huge toolkit of actionable, practical, organized strategies to build positive habits

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

Verified Purchase

I've read a lot of books on changing behavior and building habits and James Clear's Atomic Habits is my new favorite. This book is different from others in the way it covers an enormous amount of ground in the larger area of self-improvement while seamlessly tying all these ideas back into the central theme of habits.


One of the core concepts in Atomic Habits is to focus on the small improvement. The impact a 1% improvement per day can make may appear negligible at first, but Clear makes a compelling argument that in the case of habits, thinking small produces the biggest results over time. "Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement," explains Clear.


Over the months and years, the accumulated effect of small habitual daily behaviors is staggering. Early in the book we are also warned that this compounding works both ways, so we'd better make sure we're making it work in the positive direction, not for the negative.


This is a concept I was introduced to years ago under a different name - Kaizen - the Japanese term for continuous incremental improvement. What's different and new in this book is how the concept is applied specifically to building habits.


I found the information introduced in chapter two about behavior change at the identity level to be spot-on. You're also given a simple two-step process for changing your identity and this one idea alone is incredibly powerful.


In chapter three, we are introduced to the habit loop - cue, craving, response, reward - and we learn how to build good habits in 4 simple steps and break bad habits in 4 simple steps.


One of those steps to habit formation, which goes hand in hand with the 1% concept, is how to make it not only small, but easy. In the chapters that follow, this is exactly what you find out.


Other ideas of great value that stood out included, habit stacking (the best way to form a new habit), habit tracking, habit shaping and how to design your environment - physical and social - for habit building success. You learn the truth about self-control, how to stop procrastinating and how to use implementation intentions, temptation bundling and motivational rituals. The book is simply packed with actionable ideas, tactics and strategies.


Virtually every idea in the book is useful and resonated with me. While I may not agree that we should "forget about goals," I agree with one of Clear's core principles in the book - that we must develop systems for change. If we only focus on goals and don't develop systems and a focus on the process, we risk falling into a number of goal-related traps which ultimately lead to stagnation. With the right systems, we're rewarded with continuous improvement on a lifelong journey of success.


Another difference between Atomic Habits and other books in this genre is that while it's based on science it doesn't bog you down with unnecessary details of the research. Clear's book is intensely practical, giving you a huge toolkit of organized and named strategies you can apply immediately to create and strengthen positive habits and stop the negative ones.


The book is conversational, and includes many interesting stories, making it easy to read - and hard to put down (I read it cover to cover in one day).


It's possible this might become your most highlighted personal improvement book because every page is so chocked full of memorable and quotable gems of advice.


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Cady Macon

5.0 out of 5 stars

Adrenaline Junkie HYPES Habits. (What?! Read on, friend...)

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

Disclaimer: I scored the jackpot and got my grubby paws on this early.


I didn't see myself getting especially excited about this book. I was like, "OK James. I like you. You seem like a nice guy. Your work is very link-able and that's made my life simpler on many an occasion. I TOTALLY FEEL SPECIAL because you have involved me (*marginally) in your ~process~. But habits? *yawn* What-evvvvver. Btw, I already know LIKE EV-UH-RYTHING because I read Charles Duhigg's book and was early on the Fogg method game. Ergo: I am The Expert. Bow down b*tches." <--Ok just kidding on that last line. But BA-sicallyy.


My inner world is................. a special place.


I didn't think I was going to get hype about a book about habits, yet here we are. I am hype about a book.... about habits. Why??? Why has this drama-loving, big picture adoring, enthusiastic creature shifted keys to start singing song of habits? Because it's unflattering. And that's EXACTLY why we need to self-examine.


Here's the thing:

Every person reading this review (also, hi!) has bad habits.

Every person reading this review has good ones.

And - I would wager - every person reading this review has unfinished business.


There's some dream, change, or new echelon of self-actualization you have yet to inhabit. The problem isn't your ambitions -- it's your habits. James wrote something powerful I will directly quote when writing with book in hand. The message is this: success isn't determined by the scale of your dreams. Winners and losers have the same dreams. But the winners have better habits.


There are a number of ~juicy nuggets~ that will come out of the woodwork to slap your b*tch-ass into line. I doubled back on more than one occasion. Check out his Instagram -- he's been sharing a number of nice one liners. But if you're like......... 80% of the way there, you might as well.


This book is:

- Actionable

- Pragmatic

- Grounded <-- woah!

- Science-y

- Sweet

- Readable <-- nice.


My advice:

1. If you're this deep in the reviews section, buy the book.

2. Seriously, buy the book.

3. While you wait for it to arrive, mentally accept that James Clear will not personally pry the donut from your grip and supervise your situps.

4. Open your Amazon package.

5. Read the book.

6. Learn things.

7. Implement said things.

8. Rinse repeat.

9. *Flourish*


Thanks for reading along. It's been an honor! *hat tip, bows*


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Brad Revell

5.0 out of 5 stars

One of the best books I have read in 2018! It is worth reading as it will change your life.

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

Verified Purchase

Over the past few years I have been an avid reader of James Clear’s posts and emails. His blogs and other articles have provided me with a solid structure and framework on habit building thereby driving both achievement and fulfilment in everything I do in life. Whether it is healthy eating, hitting the gym, or keeping my focus in the work environment his advice, tools and approaches have greatly benefited me.


I was fortunate enough to get a pre-release copy of Atomic Habits and jumped straight into it. It isn’t a long read, however, it is structured in a way that provides a good overview of why habits are important, tools and techniques on how to establish habits as well as a plethora of real life examples. James also makes reference to an additional set of tools on the Atomic Habits website which you can also leverage (e.g. habit trackers, cheat sheets, guides etc.)


The book centres on the both on the four stages of developing a habit and the laws of behaviour change. The latter he delves into in great detail, again with many examples on how to apply within your own life given constraints. The book had a nice pace and balance on theory and application.


The biggest thing I have learned (also from his blogs) is the difference between goals and habits. For example, instead of setting a goal, create an identity and establish small habits that align to that identity. For example, don’t say you want to lose weight, but rather identify with being a healthy person that exercises most days and eats well. The habits might be drinking x amount of water a day, 10 push-ups a day, walking 10,000 steps per day etc; and increase the habits once they are firmly established.


Given the applicability of this topic, it is a book everyone should read. Unfortunately there are many key areas we don’t get educated on at school. This is one area that is important for life in everything that we do. Highly recommend Atomic Habits!


Three key takeaways from the book:


1. Habit stacking. Put your clothes out next to your bed before going to sleep so that when you wake up it is the first thing you do or think about. That habit will then drive the habit to go to the gym etc.

2. Look to establish identity habits versus reaching for goals or developing finite habits. Habits based on beliefs are much more powerful.

3. When it comes to wanting to do something (good or bad) 90% of the dopamine release is driven by the desire versus and 10% on the actual experience.

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Dmitry Kravchenko

5.0 out of 5 stars

If you want to change and be better, only you can make it happen.

Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2019

Verified Purchase

On of the best motivational books I ever read. I have not finished it yet but James Clear’s ideas and direction about how to charge yourself into better and more organized person is so clear and rational. It’s very easy to read. Very interesting facts about how our habits develop and work and how to change them. If you do want to change your bad habits and improve your good habits you need to work on yourself. I do recommend to buy Clear Habit Journal, it will really help you along the way.


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Mo Bunnell

5.0 out of 5 stars

A great read that will change your life

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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So many nonfiction books are too full of fluff, too text book-y or just plain too long.


Not Atomic Habits.


Somehow, James Clear has packed it all in:


- Innovative, novel concepts with the

- Proven science of what’s behind them with

- Practical steps for easy implementation and

- Memorable, entertaining stories that bring the ideas to life.


I was lucky to get access to the audiobook early, and I devoured it. I’m glad I did.


If this book doesn’t change your life in some significant way, I don’t know what will.


Mo Bunnell

Author, The Snowball System: How to win more business and turn clients into raving fans

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Kindle Customer

5.0 out of 5 stars

This is a useful book

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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8/10


Atomic Habits is a useful book. It’s a practical guide to identifying and changing your habits. It’s something you can actually put into practice in your life.

I think that all of the concepts in the book are good and useful to know but some of the action points I think are slightly oversimplified. If you take the action points in some chapters and modify them to your specific situation you can still apply most of them but you do have to do some critical thinking with the material.

I like that the book is simple and straightforward. James Clear doesn’t bog you down with a lot of conceptual material. He starts each chapter with an example (some are better than others), gives you the concept plainly, and then gives you concrete actions to apply the concept in real life. It’s a nice formula. Each chapter is roughly 15-20min.

This book is worth reading. It’s easy to apply the knowledge and action steps. Even if it doesn’t completely change your behavior, it will make you more aware of yourself. It provides a good lens that you can use to view yourself and others. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to really set an air-tight routine. If you follow the book you can definitely make something a habit.

I’m a fan of James Clear. I have read his newsletter for about 2yrs now. His newsletter is one of the best I’ve read because it’s interesting and well researched and always has some take away for me. His book is really an expansion on a lot of things he’s covered in his newsletter. There are some chapters that I was already very familiar with because I had read his previous material on it. This doesn’t detract from the book. He expands on most things he’s written about before. The book is laid out like a road map and builds upon itself, which is something you don’t really get from the newsletter.

The intro is pretty graphic. It’s about a personal injury the author has faced. I recommend being prepared for that. Once you get through that it’s all good.

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Scott Iardella, MPT, CSCS, CISSN

5.0 out of 5 stars

Truly A Breakthrough Book!

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2018

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I've been a fan of James Clear for some time and I think his work is amazing. I couldn't be more happy to see his new book come out and I've been devouring this since I got it. I've read a lot on the topic of habits, including Charles Duhigg's book. I think Atomic Habits delivers the best science and easiest practical applications for habit change that is available today.


This book has not only been blowing my mind, but I've been taking diligent notes on the strategies and tactics to put to use immediately. The Habit Scorecard is a great example of a self inventory on good, neutral, and bad habits - which starts with awareness about your habits.


Chapter 2 is a total game-changer and something I've actually believed for a long time, to change your habits, you have to change your beliefs about who you want to become. You have to aspire to become what you are seeking to change. In other words, it's not about the outcome, it's about what you value and who you're striving to be. This is transformative stuff and so glad James has written about this.


Honestly, there is not one person I know who wouldn't benefit from reading this book as habits are truly the core of success in any area of life.


I HIGHLY recommend reading and applying this book because it speaks the truth: small changes repeated over and over make the biggest difference in the quality of our lives. These strategies can be applied to anything.


HUGE congrats to James Clear for sharing such brilliant

work!

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John Chancellor

TOP 1000 REVIEWER

5.0 out of 5 stars

How to Harness Habits to Serve You

Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2018

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For centuries people have understood the power of habits. Around 2,000 years ago, the Roman poet Ovid wrote, “Nothing is stronger than habit.” The 18th century English writer Samuel Johnson wrote, “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”


For some time now, we’ve even known how to break habits. Erasmus, a 16th century Dutch philosopher, wrote, “A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.”


Stanford Professor B.J. Fogg has made quite a name for himself with his research and teaching of Tiny Habits.

If you have done any reading/studying around habits and changing human behavior, you might wonder if there is anything new or exciting in Atomic Habits written by James Clear.


The short answer is yes. This is a well written, well thought out approach to changing habits.


Mr. Clear starts by showing why changing behavior is so difficult. Most people approach behavior change from a wanting something different standpoint. A few improve their odds by approaching behavior change from a process standpoint. As Mr. Clear points out, unless you approach behavior change from aligning your long-term behavior with your core beliefs, you have little chance of succeeding. Instead of focusing on the have or doing, you must first focus on who you wish to be. There is a short hand for this – Be – Do and then Have.


Mr. Clear then guides the reader on a four-step process showing how any behavior is created and developed into a habit. He calls this Cue – Craving – Response (action) – Reward.


To create a new habit, you need to 1) Make if obvious 2) Make it attractive 3) Make it easy and 4) Make it satisfying. To break a habit, simply do the reverse 1) Make it invisible, 2) Make it unattractive 3) Make it difficult and 4) Make it unsatisfying.


The book is thoroughly engaging. Mr. Clear is an accomplished writer. His writing style is very conversational. He illustrates the concepts with engaging, real stories.


You will be a slave to your habits. You also have the power to choose the ones you want in your life – they can serve you or rule you. This book gives you all the tools and information you need to dramatically change your life by changing your habits.

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L. Froment

5.0 out of 5 stars

This book can change your life

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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The most impactful book I've ever read about habits was The Power of Habit....and then Atomic Habits came along. James takes everything I loved about The Power of Habit and expands on it here. The book is chock full of real, practical, and actional advice anyone can take to add more good habits and tweak bad habits over the long term.


I was able to listen to a copy and James is a clear narrator who tells an interesting story. He mixes the perfect blend of science and stories to get the point across and make you feel like creating new habits is not some daunting task only for special people but for anyone. I found myself nodding along as I listened and stopped it at least a dozen times to take notes.


I got at least 4-5 'a-ha' moments about building habits that shattered the conventional wisdom I'd always thought about before. From realizing that I've been approaching will-power the wrong way and the question that I should ask myself next time I want to lose weight or work out.


I've been thinking about Atomic Habits since I finished it and cannot wait to dig into it again. I've been recommending it to everyone.

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Natalie K Pariano

5.0 out of 5 stars

A book that will stay with you long after you've finished it

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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A long time fan of James Clear's supremely researched articles and helpful newsletter, I've been eagerly awaiting this book. It does not disappoint. Clear's thoughtful approach to a topic that could easily be considered boring, is a delight to read. Not only is the advice in the book practical, Clear explains the science and evidence behind the ideas. When reading a book like this, the real test for me is how often I think about it after I've finished the read; that's when I know it's made an impact on my thinking or behavior. I find myself thinking back on Atomic Habits daily; making connections to the material in my own life and work, and making changes accordingly. Must-read.

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Andy

5.0 out of 5 stars

Most actionable "self help" book I've ever read

Reviewed in the United States on November 16, 2018

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"Self help" is in quotes because I think this book is unfairly lumped into that category. This isn't some feel-good book that gets you excited for a day or two before going right back to who you were before reading it. Not only is this scientifically backed and driven at every step, but its steps are also simplified down to a single page that you can reference as much as you need (it's so easy though that you won't need to).


It's all about starting small and big things will happen down the line - and how to start on the smallest level possible.


A few weeks later and I can already point to multiple small things that I've changed in my life that are paying large dividends.


I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has been putting off learning a new skill or trying to get rid of a bad habit. You'll be upset how easy it actually was all long but glad you finally did it.

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Yy's Closet

5.0 out of 5 stars

A fan of James Clear even before this book was written

Reviewed in the United States on November 3, 2018

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I've been a fan of James Clear since I came across the YouTube video in November 2017, "1% Better Every Day" (I actually have a recurring reminder set up in my task manager every 6 months to rewatch this video since then---absolutely not kidding!).


When I heard on The Productivity Show Podcast that James Clear is coming out with this book on 10/16 I purchased it right on the day it got released. I've read over 40 books this year and I'd consider this book to be one of my personal top 3 most impactful book of 2018.


I admit that I am a recovering perfectionist and put a lot of pressure on myself to excel at goals I've set out for myself. After reading this book, instead of focusing on goals I've listed out processes and micro habits it will take to "become" the person I want to identify with. I can already feel a huge amount of pressure taken off. Side note: I also love how each chapters start out with a short story relevant to the chapter topic. I look forward to re-reading this book again and reviewing all of my highlighted sections.

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Julie A

5.0 out of 5 stars

The Perfect Mix!

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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Wow, What a great book!


First I love that the author read the audio version help self. I always think you get more hearing it straight from the author and he has a great voice for it.


Second, I really appreciate how practical the whole this is. It’s the perfect mix of how-to advice with scientific research and memorable stories.


I’m already seeing results from his “Four simple steps to building better habits.” I can see why some habits I’ve tried to create in the past have failed and why some have succeeded. I also really like the bonus downloads he talks about in the book. The Cheat Sheet has been especially helpful.


Third, I love that it’s appropriate and engaging for all ages. I’ve listened to a lot of it with my 11 year old and he’s already experimenting with creating new habits to help him focus on his homework. Of course, it’s because he wants to finish early and move on to video games! But I see how appealing of a reward that is for him, so it’s not all bad.

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Michelle S

5.0 out of 5 stars

Change your crappy habits one tiny step at a time!

Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2018

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Nothing against Charles Duhigg, his book was also very good, but James really brought it home on how to change my horrible habits! It’s a fantastic read, and it is saving me from my emotional eating issues one small teeny tiny habit at a time. Baby steps! His interviews are great too, check him out on YouTube. Great book! Well worth the money, seriously. Quit messing around telling yourself that you will change your habits tomorrow, and get it going TODAY.

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Greg Soare

5.0 out of 5 stars

Absolutely fabulous! This has been a huge help.

Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2021

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I love this book! I got it just over a month ago and implemented some habit changes right away. 30 days later and I have 4 new habits locked in: a) drinking a sip of water every time I walk into the kitchen, b) eating 1 carrot before I open the snack cabinet, c) doing 10 pushups before I eat lunch, and d) walking after dinner to hit 5k steps for the day. He lays out the 4 components of every behavior: 1) the cue, 2) the craving, 3) the behavior, and 4) the reward, and then talks about how to influence them by making each one, respectively, 1) make the cue obvious, 2) make the craving attractive, 3) make the behavior easy 4) make the reward satisfying. And do the reverse to break and bad habit. He also talks about how to use the habit to change your identity, which has worked surprisingly well (I now feel more like the type of person who is healthy than just my 4 habits alone would suggest, which makes it easier to do them).


And above all, when creating a new habit, focus most on cementing the habit as a new behavior, so make it incredibly easy to perform it and set the bar really low (I set my water/carrot/pushups goal such that it could be done in less than 15 seconds). Only later worry about the quality or quantity of doing it.

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asweet1

5.0 out of 5 stars

Small changes, dramatic results

Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2022

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I believe I am an above average disciplined person, but I just couldn't bring myself to do a few things I know are important. I gave this book a shot and actually tried some of the suggestions and I'm shocked at the permanent changes that have taken root! One small example, I now floss EVERY day when I used to do it at best twice a year. How? I listen to podcasts (something I enjoy and look forward to) while I do my tooth care routine (something I didn't enjoy). I also find myself brushing much longer because I don't want to stop listening to the episode. I've also removed "cues" for things I want to do less of like spending too much time on Instagram. Just moving the app link to my second iPhone screen means every time I open my phone to check email or answer a text I don't see it and get sucked into using it. I went from more than an hour a day on IG to going days at a time before I realize I haven't checked it just by that one small tweak. I could go on but this book works period.

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Cody Allen

5.0 out of 5 stars

Change your habits, change your life

Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2022

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If you imagine the structure of your life as a brick building, your habits are the bricks. They are the foundation that allow you to lead the life you desire, the life of your design. The reason habit formation is so important is because the conscious brain can only focus on one task at a time. Rote habits are carried out by the subconscious (or nonconscious) mind, and the more aspects of your daily life that you can pass off to your subconscious, the more mental bandwidth you have available to concentrate on other problems.


In his book, Clear lays out four laws that influence habit formation: Make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, and make it satisfying. Each of these laws govern both our good habits and our bad habits, and they are the roadmap for change. For example, if we want to start exercising first thing in the morning, we can make it obvious by putting our running sneakers next to the bed the night before. For another example, if we are trying to quit a bad habit like smoking, we might make it difficult (the reverse of making it easy) by locking our cigarettes up in a place that is difficult to get to.


The two biggest cues that activate a habit are place and time. If you eat breakfast at the same time every morning, your body will learn to get hungry at that time. Similarly, if you always smoke cigarettes in your garage, when you go in there to do your laundry, your body will crave nicotine. This is because our “environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.” We often think that changing bad habits into good ones requires diligent will-power, and while this internal approach does sometimes work, it is not the only solution: sometimes changing the external environment that we are existing in can be just as impactful. This is because “our behavior is not defined by the objects in the environment but by our relationship to them.” If your relationship with your garage is that it is a quiet place where you go to smoke, then anytime you go there for any other reason, you will be triggered to smoke. You must change your relationship to your garage in order to curb the desire to smoke every time you enter.


The biggest misconception about habits is the difference between setting goals and building systems. “The purpose of setting goals is to win the game,” Clear writes, “the purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.” You might start a habit because you are motivated to do so, but you’ll stick with it because it becomes a part of your identity. It is the difference between saying to yourself “I am going to lay 100 bricks” and “I am going to be the best brick layer I can be.” Achieving a goal only changes your life momentarily, whereas adjusting your system changes your life forever. This is the purpose of creating strong and healthy habits: to improve your life one small brick at a time.


Reading this book led me to a personal revelation about my writing. When I first started writing book reviews, I set the goal of completing three a month. This inevitably became tiresome. Instead of remaining chained to this goal, I decided to change my mindset: Instead of writing three a month, I simply write as many as I can with the time that I have. I may have some months where I only produce one or two book reviews, but this will not take any wind out of my sails. My goal is no longer to write three reviews a month, but instead it is to be the best writer I can be. Reading and writing book reviews started off as something I was motivated to do because I wanted to share my favorite books with the world. Now it has become a part of my identity. I am a writer.


I humbly thank you for reading!


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BM

5.0 out of 5 stars

Life changing book for procrastinators like me

Reviewed in the United States on August 19, 2020

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For those who are at times weak-willed creatures of habit vs. logic (like me), this book is life-changing. As a general rule you know something is spot-on when it had never occurred to you before, but after reading it, it just seems so obvious. This book is focused mainly on 1) on setting up systems such as your environmental factors of how you make good or bad habits easier or harder for yourself [e.g. having potato chips in plain view on the counter, or putting your workout clothes out the night before] and 2) how to identify habits, set up goals and hold yourself to them. I haven't achieved every single habit goal yet, but 6 months after finishing the book I've lost 30 pounds and re-instilled a handful of key good habits that I'd been wanting to get back to for years.

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John Holmes

5.0 out of 5 stars

Unexpectedly, I learned something new

Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2018

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This book came to me as amazon recommended. I thought, oh great, another book on building good habits. But I took a glance at it, and decided to look deeper, so I bought a copy. It completely changed my thinking about setting and focusing on goals. I had fallen into the same trap the author writes about. I would set an ambitious goal, with no particular system for achieving that goal. I wasn't consistent about my goals. Sometimes I did the small 1% steps to get to the goal, other times I would do something a few times and give up. It was purely by chance whether I would stick to something or not. What I've learned from the book is to be systematic about my approach. Even more important to to align my identity to the goal I want to achieve.

11 people found this helpful


Adrienne

5.0 out of 5 stars

You may color me impressed...

Reviewed in the United States on January 14, 2019

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I think I've read just about every book on habits ever written. Some of them have been highly touted as the end all and be all of breaking bad habits and forming good ones. I already use a habit tracker, but wasn't moving the needle on my behavior and habits. I frequent James Clear's website and couldn't figure out what he could have said in his book that he hadn't already covered - or that someone else hadn't covered. I was wrong.


After wearing me down with constant emails and offers (thanks, James) I finally said, "Oh, what the heck - it may be a good read and I've spent money on way less important things.


What Clear does is take the best of all the other studies on habits and synthesizes them down into a useful program for change. Usually, I balk at too much information, but Clear presents it in such a manner as to make you go, "Aha!"


I also like that he gives credit to those who came before like Charles Duhigg who wrote The Power of Habits. Clear takes Duhigg's work to the next level.


So, thanks again, James, for bugging me until I finally got your book.

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Richard Weddle

5.0 out of 5 stars

Excellent and SO helpful - make helpful changes - today, this week and this month

Reviewed in the United States on October 17, 2018

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James writes an excellent book here. Magic baby steps that grow into mountains of personal gold. The writing is quick, easy to read, with stunning insights that we can all use. Some of the ideas are quite complex - human behavior, negative compulsion, changes. This is heavy stuff - but he writes it so clearly and makes it so easy, it is like unlocking a giant dangerous lock with an easy key. He also brings examples from 100s of sources. You read this and you've read the best parts of another 100 books. Key here is he gives you a magic key to make life better - NOW, and that little bit of better, the easy step, compounds into more and more benefit, this week, and next week, and in a month it is BIG and in 90 days it is HUGE.

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Nagy Barnabás

5.0 out of 5 stars

Probably the most practical book I've read on Habits

Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2018

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In short: I expected a lot - and I got it. :)

Simple in content, not much new under the sun - but very clear and most of all actionable.

Since I am a strong believer of the power of habits, this is a book I will keep rereading once in a while. Most refered books and authors were well known for me, but this does not take away the achievement of the author - who summarizes everything in a crisp and "easy-to-put-into-practice" way. This has NOT been done before by the other authors.

I already made some changes, and reinforced some simple atomic habits, while reading te book.

Congrats James, you have done well and created a very useful book for your followers.

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mary anne radmacher

5.0 out of 5 stars

On the reference shelf of my LIFE LIBRARY.

Reviewed in the United States on January 1, 2020

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I’d heard the name of James Clear for some time from industry peers and other authors. I have to confess, I thought he was another author jumping on the “how to build good habits” wagon. When Mr. Clear quoted a poem of mine some time back, I took a closer look. And I kept looking! I was inspired and delighted by what I saw and read. He’s been constructing valuable and helpful content and fun needed into the world well before his book deal. His book is now a reference book in my life library.


Here’s what I observed that’s very different from typical non-fiction narrative in his book and his work in the world - transparency and authenticity. From the get-go James reveals the origin of his experience, his personal story, with habit building. That story alone is inspiring and motivating. What follows in ATOMIC HABITS is a synthesizing and integrating of his own experiences with all of the best information currently available about habit. Rather than try to impress you with prolific citations and academic language, Mr. Clear uses his narrative to impress upon you the manner in which positive, sustainable habits can be built in the reader’s life.


This book has turned my head, disproven my initial assumption and inspired me to elevate my work in the world a percentage point at a time. If it’s not yet on the reference shelf of your life library, I encourage you to make sure that it is!

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Laurie

5.0 out of 5 stars

This Doctor Highly Recommends this Book!

Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2018

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Listen, I am a family and lifestyle medicine physician who has been fascinated with improving lives by helping patients improve their lives which ultimately comes down to behavior change. I have devoured hundreds of books looking for a format to present to my patients about habit change and I finally found it! This book should be in the hands of every medical student and physician who cares about helping patients make better choices. Keep up the good work James, I am a super fan!

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Book Flingz

5.0 out of 5 stars

Atomic Sized Help Creates a Huge Change!

Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2021

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“What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers”*


This is just the tip of the iceberg for this book. There is a reason James Clear’s advice is receiving over 40,000 five star ratings. I had to witness this for myself so as a bookworm that wishes to finally apply concepts from reading---I bought it.


I think the reason this book was such a godsend for me, is that for the very first time, I have a book about habits that actually breaks down what habits are in “atomic” sized pieces, while not boring me at the same time. Secondly, the book has praises because the steps are actionable, which is important especially in this day and age where people’s good habits have went South and bad habits are increasing.


I have utilized index cards and helpful templates from his website to jot down and journal my habits journey. This is key while reading his book. Please get this book only if you are serious about finally breaking free from bad habits. I enjoyed how he used real-life examples of athletes, regular people, authors, and philosophers to hone in on a good point.


Already I am breaking the chains of bad habits and it is one day at a time. I wish the same for you all.


*Quote is from Clear, James. Atomic Habits: an Easy Et Proven Way to Build Good Habits Et Break Bad Ones: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results. Avery, an Imprint of Penguin Random House, 2018, pg. 48

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Andreas Aristidou

5.0 out of 5 stars

Distilled and clear ideas made into a simple system of behavior change. Top notch!

Reviewed in the United States on April 26, 2020

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I began reading this book with very high expectations and it did not disappoint. I, myself, am a big believer of the power of habits and have done a lot of research on the topic. Yet I learned a lot, especially the clarity with which the author presents his ideas. Big parts of the book were, in some sense, confirmation that I was doing things the right way, since I was oftentimes thinking "oh yeah, that's similar to what I'm doing". Still, parts of the book and strategies proposed were new to me and really helped add habit strategies to my toolbox. As mentioned though, the best thing about this book is the clarity with which the ideas are presented and the way they blend together.


This quote from the last chapter summarizes the "Four Laws of Behavior Change" (that the book is about) well: " (1) Sometimes a habit will be hard to remember and you'll need to make it obvious. (2) Other times you won't feel like starting and you'll need to make it attractive. (3) In many cases, you may find that a habit will be too difficult and you'll need to make it easy. (4) And sometimes, you won't feel like sticking with it and you'll need to make it satisfying."


Here's some of the notes I made while reading the book:

- Habits are like compound interest in self-improvement.

- Outcomes are a lagging measure of habits.

- The "Valley of Disappointment" is the period where you are putting in the hard work but still seeing no results. --> but remember, your work is not being wasted, it is being stored.

- You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.

- Your habits shape your identity and your identity shapes your habit. It's a feedback loop. (reverse causation for the nerds here)

- Make clear plans - Use the "Implementation Intention": When X happens, then I will do Y OR if Z happens, then I will do W.

- Use "Habit Stacking": After behavior X, I will immediately perform behavior Y OR If Z happens, I will immediately perform behavior W. (i.e. As soon as I begin boiling water for tea, I will do 10 burpees). Also, be very clear. (i.e. I will do the burpees next to the fridge in the kitchen, or whatever, you get the idea. As long as it works, it's good!)

- People with high self-control are the ones who structure their environments in such a way to minimize exposure to tempting situations.

- Use "Temptation Bundling" + "Habit Stacking": After X, i will Y. Right after Y, I will immediately Z,

where X - habit I already do, Y - habit I need to do, Z - habit I want to do. (The anticipation of a reward is what gives us the most motivation - and not the reward itself.)

- Do something you enjoy before a difficult habit.

- Planning can sometimes be a form of procrastination because it can make you feel like you are making progress (while you are not).

- Make your habits as easy as possible to start (i.e. do one set of abs, read one page of my book) - This is called a "Gateway Habit". and it helps to reinforce your identity of who you are which will itself help motivate you to keep going.

- Prime your environment for future use - "resetting your environment" (i.e. Take out your coffee and mug the night before, make your bed perfectly, to remove the sense of sleep / bedroom if you'll be working from your bedroom)

- Use pre-commitment devices to make it harder/ impossible to deviate from good habits.