83 pages 2 hours read

James Clear

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2018

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The Habit Loop

Clear lays out a structure of habit formation called the habit loop. Cue, Craving, Response, and Reward are the component parts of habit formation, and they form an endless cycle that forms a loop. The loop begins when a “cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving, and ultimately becomes associated with the cue” (Chapter 3, 14). Understanding how this feedback loop works helps you direct your attention in more productive ways. By focusing on process, Clear provides the viewer with simple, actionable methods for implementing new habits. Setting an ambitious goal without taking into account the habit loops that you are already in sets you up to fail. By understanding the neurological cues that your brain and body respond to, you can hack the habit loop to reinforce good behaviors. Being aware of your habit loops is important because it allows us to exercise more control over your responses. As he writes:

All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision. But as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger. Roots entrench themselves and branches grow. The task of breaking a bad habit is like uprooting a powerful oak within us.