Atomic Habits by James Clear [Infographic + Summary]

Applied Psychology / Monday, April 8th, 2019

This infographic and the summary will provide you the key insights from Atomic habits book. You will discover how to change bad habits.

Infographics of the summary of Atomic Habits by James Clear. James Clear is Author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making and human behaviour. The book is Genre : Applied Psychology Release date : October 16, 2018 Pages : 319. It have a review of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon. Key quote from the book : "Really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.". 4 STEPS TO BUILD A HABIT : 1. Cue = A piece of information that suggests there is a reward to be found (in the environment). 2. Craving = The anticipation of a positive reward or the avoidance of negative rewards. 3. Response = The habit itself (the behaviour). 4. Reward = Positive reward given after the actual behaviour is performed. 4 LAWS OF CHANGE : 1. Make it obvious (Cue) = The cue is visible. 2. Make it attractive (Craving) = Your brain to want the reward. 3. Make it easy (Response) = The friction toward action is reduced. 4. Make it satisfying (Reward) = The behaviour is rewarded. TO DISCOVER IN THE BOOK : 1. Why habits shape your life, 3. Why changing your behaviour change your identity, 4. What is habit stacking, 5. What is temptation bundling, 6. What is the law of least effort, 2. What is the difference between 1% improvement and 1% decline.
Book summary #1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear

The author (James Clear)

James Clear is an author and speaker focused on habits, decision-making and human behaviour.

You can find more information on his personal website :

The author of the book made an amazing work to synthetize numerous behavioural science theories into practical examples with the goal to help us improve our life.

The book (Atomic habits)

We would put it in Applied Psychology because it gives us insightful advices grounded in Psychology. The release date was on October 16, 2018 and the book contains 319 pages. The book count 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 866 reviews (on April 22, 2019).

A quote from the book

“Really successful people feel the same lack of motivation as everyone else. The difference is that they still find a way to show up despite the feelings of boredom.”

James Clear, Atomic Habits


Our identity is completely shaped by the Habits we opt. If you are looking for a plant that guides you stepwise in order to build a better set of habits for a lifetime, then the Atomic habits are the best guide for you written by the author James Clear.

As the name suggests the atomic habits are tiny or small habits just like atoms (the smallest building block of matter), but they can take the shape of permanent and life lasting habits with the passage of time and repetition of hundred or thousand times.

One thing you have to take into consideration about bad habits is that they are not easy to change and there a number of reasons for that. The reasons may include that you are considering them smaller and not making enough effort to change them or the way/ procedure opted by you is wrong. But the fact is that small changes over a span of time can make a huge change in your set of habits if and only if you are consistent about it.

This concept has been stated very clearly by James Clear. He states that being human we perceive that massive changes require a huge or a sudden push, but this is not the case. The fact is that the small changes on a daily basis make a major difference then waiting for a big change.

Let’s try to comprehend this with a small example:

Consider yourself in a process where you are improving in certain aspects of life or habits by 1% each day in the time period of a year. If your improvement plan is consistent and compact, then you will be better at that certain aspects by 37% once you are up with that process. This technique applies to every aspect of life whether if they are small or big goals like losing weight, winning a race or improving your business.

The impact of small changes

The book clearly describes the change of habit in a way that they become compound as time passes. It can be best understood by comparing habits as compound interest. We know that the amount of compound interest keeps on incrementing each time, so is the case about habits. You may not notice a big change in your life or anything by the small changes in your habit on daily portions, but these changes do account when it comes to the time span of months or years.

As we have discussed that the change in habits is compound, we should not forget that bad habits are also compound. You may think about procrastinating on a project on the next day thinking that it would not make a difference. The fact is that it would rather not make a difference on a daily basis, but it does account an error of 1% for the day, which can accumulate to toxic results over a large span of time.

The best definition of success is not a massive and one-time change, rather it is a path that is followed for a long period of time consistently. Keep in mind that all of the factors of success depend on the path and pace you are following and not on the present circumstances. Present situations may not be better, but your success is dependent on the road you opt for the success. The present results do not define success because success is for sure the accumulation of failures and determination seasoned with passion.

The tremendous aspects of compound things are that you are not able to judge the level of progress until and unless you finally enter the circle of performance because no idea and no passion can be worth it if it is not accompanied with performance.

Let’s dive into the core idea:

James Clear has clearly stated that the change in habits can lead to a change in your life. He has shared a very easy and to the point formula that can help one to opt for the positive habits and get rid of the destructive habits tones that are pulling the one from reaching the finishing line. The main reason for his major work on habits is the reason that humans are completely composed of habits or it won’t be saying wrong that habits define the person as humans. If you are capable enough to control your mind and body to direct them towards the good and positive things, with the passage of time good things will start happening to you. The only thing is that if you are ready to make an improvement and an impact which will require hard work and consistency, then this book can help you to change your life by changing your habits.

Key Lessons:

Lesson no. 01:

The habits are an accumulation of the four pillars:

James states that there is an invisible factor that describes human behavior and that factor is the environment. For this reason, there is always a reason of circumstances, situations or surroundings that form the basis of performance of habit. It’s not necessary that every time the environment is to be external but most of the times it will be. So, following is the four-step pattern that can help you in these situations:


You may consider cue as a shred of information that will define the reward or outcome that you can make from that situation/action. Most of the times it is a visual signal that initiates a certain behaviour in your mind. The main purpose of the cue can be considered as the prediction of a reward. For example, the nice fragrance of bakery defines yummy and delicious food as a reward.


It is considered as the second step of the pattern. Craving can be defined as the motivational or push force that initiates you to perform a certain habit. For example, after smelling freshly baked foods, you start to crave for it. The point here is that you might not crave for eating it, but you will wish for the outcomes of satisfying your taste buds and the feeling of being fed completely.


This can be defined as any action or performance that you are going to opt for the gain of that particular reward. For example, if we take the previously mentioned example of the bakery; if you are tempted enough towards the smell of fresh baked goods, your response will be to go for their buying. The response is actually defined as the actual habit towards a cue.


The response stage is succeeded by the stage of reward. It is defined as the final or ultimate destination us. If considering the same example of the bakery; if you go for the buying of goods, the reward will be the satisfaction of your taste buds and the feeling of satisfaction after the fulfilment of your eating needs/wishes. There is one more thing about reward and that is it predicts your future movement towards that respective thing. Like will you go for it again or with you not, this is totally dependent on the reward.

This is the cycle of four steps that predicts your response towards a certain action/situation. If your mind finds that rewards tempting enough and satisfying, it will record that act as a positive one in consciousness and will ask for it over time again. But the major discussion here is based on the negative rewards where your mind stops you from going towards that respective action.

Lesson no. 02:

If you have to form a habit, you have to make it obvious, attractive, easy as well as satisfying.

James clearly defines the four laws that predict the changes of behaviour and those are corresponding to the four-step pattern which is enumerated below:

Make that habit obvious:

If you want to adopt the habit of eating fruits, then stop hiding them in the fridge and put them on the display, so that they are obvious.

Make the components attractive:

Again, talking about fruits, all you have to do is to start with the fruit that you like the most and in this way, you will be tempted to eat more of them. 

Arrange the process to be easy:

You have to create an easy path for yourself so that your mind is convinced towards it. Don’t start with fruits that require the effort of peeling and cutting, instead, you can go for the fruits that are easy to eat like bananas and apples, etc. 

Transform the result to be satisfying:

In order to make your mind convinced over the certain actions so that they can be repeated over time without an effort, you have to pick the fruit you like the most and in this way, you will feel healthy and satisfied. 

You have to apply all these kinds of good habits in distinctive circles of your life ranging from your work, spending time with family, running and all. And what about bad habits? Well, it’s that simple you have to do the opposite of it. Makes them vanished in a way that they become unattractive, difficult, unsatisfying and invisible to you.

Lesson no. 03:

Focus on what you want to become rather than what you want to achieve:

The mistake that many people do while adopting for the change of habit is that they focus on what do they want to achieve. Their efforts and actions are centred upon the act of achievement. The appropriate approach is to focus on what you want to become, where do you see yourself after this process and not what you will get. 

The conclusion here is very simple that instead of focusing that you want to become healthy or strong, just shift your focus on the things that make people healthy or strong for instance start idealizing the people who are already healthy and start adopting their habits like the daily exercises and all. In this way, your major and ultimate goal will be to make that particular habit a part of your identity and this is where the major change follows its path.

Lesson no. 04:

Don’t forget to keep track of your habit as this is a good way to ensure that if you are sticking to your new behaviours or not:

It’s quite easy to start the process of changing your habits and then breaking it at any instance. You will like to opt for the process of tacking multiple things at a time over the passage of time. The fact is, it’s good to make yourself up for multiple things, but don’t forget to maintain the balance like don’t take too much thigs on your head at once. So, the best way is to keep track of your habits over time.

Make use of any appropriate tools to keep track of your habits for the day. Write down the goals you want to achieve as a result of the change in your habits and at the end of the day tick those things which have been achieved by you. The tools may include calendars, digital tools for any technological application and is an easy way to keep an efficient track as well as record.

Lesson no. 05:

Your surroundings play a very significant role:

You should keep in mind that your surroundings play a very vital role in the process of change of habits and all. You may not notice, but it’s an invisible factor that decides your progress.

As an example; if you want to opt the habit of eating fresh fruits and your fridge is filled with tempting junk food, then it’s for sure that your mind will trigger towards them instead of the healthy food, so all you have to do is to model your environment according to your set of goals. Fill your fridge with the healthy food then and make sure that your workout clothes are in your sight.

Lesson no. 06:

Set a deadline for yourself:

It’s a key to achieving significant goals. All you have to do is to set a deadline and restrict yourself to complete that respective task within that time span. Jot down your goals along with the element of deadline and tell yourself when you are going to do it as it will fasten your pace.

So, all in all, the conclusion marks that the habits define a person. If you are capable enough of controlling your mind to direct the habits, you will fly higher in terms of success and satisfaction. But, if you are not determined, consistent and intolerant all that happens will be the sinking of your success and drowning of your satisfaction. The choice is all yours. So, what is your decision?

To discover in the book

  1. Why habits shape your life,
  2. Why changing your behaviour change your identity,
  3. What is habit stacking,
  4. The temptation bundling technique,
  5. The law of least effort,
  6. What is the difference between 1% improvement and 1% decline.

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