Book cover for "Atomic Habits" by James Clear with green grass in the background.

“Atomic Habits:” Book Review

By Lea Mercado
Web Content Assistant Manager

Have you ever been stuck in a cycle that feels like it’s going nowhere? No progress, temporary motivation, and disappointment. That is the cycle that James Clear aims to break in his best-selling guide, “Atomic Habits.”  

A table in "Atomic Habits" that demonstrates simple solutions to common problems using Clear’s habit strategy.
Common problem/solution phases.

The book does more than present a comprehensive plan to change your life; it challenges one to reconsider their identity, mindset, and how they interact with their environment daily. According to Clear, the issue that people encounter when working towards their goal is not that they don’t want it enough or lack the discipline. The problem is their system.

A complete reset is what I needed. It’s what drew me to the book. I have always had big goals with very little room for failure. Every day that I spent not having the perfect body, impeccable diet, and top tier writing skills… I felt like a failure. And when you feel like a failure, what is the use in even trying? Clear states it far more eloquently, 

“Goals create an ‘either-or’ conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness.”  

Breaking out of that box was the first step in resetting my system. I stopped limiting my happiness to a certain number on a scale or word count. I decided to allow myself to enjoy the process and use it as an opportunity to learn about myself.  

The next step was changing my identity. Extreme, I know, but much needed. Once I changed my mindset about goals, I realized that I did not have to be the best at what I do to identify it. This slight shift in how I viewed myself left me feeling more liberated than ever. I no longer had to aspire to write a book to be a writer, run a marathon to be an athlete, conquer the most complex song to be a musician.  

I already was all of those things. All that was left for me to do was take credit.  

Once I had evaluated my goals and identity, the habits surprisingly came naturally. I would wake up early and work out because it was enjoyable for me. I used Clear’s two-minute strategy for days that I didn’t feel up to going to the gym. The idea is to perform the habit you are trying to build for just two minutes, then permit yourself to stop. It seemed silly, but I forced myself to go to the gym and run for two minutes. The next thing I knew, I was happily doing my workout because the difficult part was over: showing up.  

Clear’s book does not expose secrets or hacks but takes root in science and strategy. There are no tricks to make habit-building easy, but rather proven ways to work through each day effectively.  

I recommend this book to anyone who is fed up and ready to change their life. The strategies discussed in the book can benefit anyone in any area of their life. With free resources and dedication, anyone can build beneficial “Atomic Habits.”

Featured Image by Lea Mercado

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