atomic habits summary

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Atomic Habits Summary

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Atomic Habits by James Clear is a practical guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones. In this Atomic Habits summary, we’ll explore how the book emphasizes the power of small, incremental changes and provides actionable strategies for creating and maintaining healthy habits. 

By focusing on consistent progress rather than immediate results, Atomic Habits offers a roadmap for achieving long-term success.

Atomic Habits Summary in 3 Key Lessons

atomic habits summary: 3 key lessons from the book
  1. Small habits make a big difference over time, so focus on getting 1 percent better each day. Clear’s theory is if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll be thirty-seven times better when you’re done.
  1. Forget about setting goals and instead focus on building a system that supports good habits. James’ believes you do not rise to your goals but instead fall to the level of your system. 
  1. Building identity-based habits is key to achieving lasting change, as every action is a vote for the type of person you want to become. 

Your current behaviors or habits are a reflection of your current identity. In order to make changes for good you need to start believing new things about yourself. 

By focusing on and implementing these lessons, you can create a positive and sustainable habit-building system that leads to long-term success.

According to James Clear, changing your beliefs isn’t as difficult as it may seem. All you need to do is decide the kind of person you want to be, and then prove it to yourself with small wins. This is because your habits shape your identity, and every action you take is a vote for the person you want to become.

How to build better habits | Four Laws of Behavior Change

All habits are based on a four-step pattern known as the “habit loop,” according to James Clear in his book Atomic Habits. 

This loop consists of a cue, a craving, a response, and a reward. The cue triggers a craving, which leads to a response, and, ultimately, a reward. 

Over time, this loop becomes a habit and becomes automatic, often occurring without conscious thought. Understanding this pattern is essential for breaking bad habits and building good ones, as it allows you to identify the triggers and rewards that drive your behavior and replace them with healthier alternatives. 

By modifying the habit loop, you can create a sustainable system for positive habit-building that leads to lasting change.

How to create a good habit

atomic summary how to create good habits

In Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that to form habits, you must make them:

1st Law: Make it Obvious (cue), 

2nd Law: Make it Attractive (craving), 

3rd Law: Make it Easy (response),

4th Law: Make it Satisfying (reward). 

Making a habit obvious means removing any barriers that might prevent you from engaging in it, such as keeping your gym clothes by the bed to remind you to exercise. 

Making a habit attractive means associating it with a positive feeling or outcome, such as listening to an audiobook while you exercise. 

Making a habit easy means breaking it down into small, manageable steps, such as doing one push-up per day instead of committing to an entire workout. 

Finally, making a habit satisfying means rewarding yourself for engaging in it, such as treating yourself to a massage after a month of consistent exercise. 

By following these four steps, you can create habits that are easy to maintain and that lead to positive outcomes.

How to break a bad habit

In Atomic Habits, James Clear offers strategies for breaking bad habits using the “inversion” of the four-step pattern that forms the basis of all habits. 

1st Law Inversion: Make it Invisible (cue), 

2nd Law: Make it Unattractive (craving), 

3rd Law: Make it Difficult (response),

4th Law: Make it Unsatisfying (reward). 

To break a bad habit, you must invert the cue by making it invisible, such as hiding your phone to avoid distractions. 

Next, you should invert the craving by making the habit unattractive, such as associating it with negative consequences. 

Inverting the response involves making the habit difficult, such as removing junk food from your home to avoid temptation. 

Finally, inverting the reward means making the habit unsatisfying, such as picturing the negative consequences of the habit instead of the short-term pleasure it brings. 

By using these inversions, you can create an environment that supports good habits and makes it easier to break bad ones.

Top Atomic Habit Quotes

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

  1. This quote emphasizes the importance of focusing on creating a system for achieving your goals, rather than simply setting goals without a plan for reaching them.

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”

  1. This quote highlights the idea that small, incremental changes made through consistent habits can have a significant impact over time.

“You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.”

  1. This quote emphasizes the importance of focusing on the process of building good habits, rather than just the immediate outcomes. It’s essential to recognize that success is a result of consistent, small steps taken in the right direction over time.

How to use habit stacking

atomic habits how to use habit stacking

The idea of habit stacking, as presented in the book Atomic Habits, is a powerful tool for building new habits into your daily routine. 

The concept involves using an existing habit as a trigger for a new habit. By linking the new habit to an already established routine, you create a chain of actions that become a natural part of your day. 

For example, if your goal is to meditate for ten minutes every day, you could link this habit to your morning coffee routine. Every day, as you make your coffee, you could meditate for ten minutes. This way, you’re not trying to force a new habit into your day, but instead, you’re making it a seamless part of your existing routine. 

By stacking habits in this way, you can make it easier to build new habits and create long-lasting change in your life.

How to use a Habit Tracker

Atomic Habits suggests using a habit tracker as a way to visually track and measure your progress towards a particular habit. The book recommends setting up a habit tracker that is simple and easy to use, such as a piece of paper or a digital spreadsheet. 

The key is to make the habit tracker easily accessible and visible so that you can easily record your progress each day. Atomic Habits also suggests that you make tracking your habits a routine part of your day. 

By doing so, you create a sense of accountability and momentum towards your habit formation goals. 

Finally, the book emphasizes the importance of celebrating your progress and successes along the way. By using a habit tracker, you can see the positive changes you’re making in your life, which can help keep you motivated and committed to building positive habits over time.

Habit Tracking is powerful for three reasons: 


A habit tracker allows you to see your progress towards your goal, which can be highly motivating. When you have a visual representation of your progress, you are more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment and continue working towards your goal.


A habit tracker helps to hold you accountable for your progress. When you commit to tracking your habits, you create a sense of responsibility for completing them. This can be especially helpful when you are trying to establish a new habit and need a little extra push to stay on track.


A habit tracker can provide valuable insight into your habits and behavior. By tracking your progress over time, you can identify patterns and trends that may be helpful in adjusting your approach to habit formation. For example, if you notice that you are more likely to complete a habit in the morning than in the evening, you can adjust your routine accordingly to increase your chances of success.

How to write a habit contract

how to write a habit contract

A habit contract is a tool that can be used to reinforce the commitment to a new habit. It is a written agreement between you and yourself, or between you and another person, that specifies the habit you want to create, the timeline for achieving it, and the consequences for not following through. 

The habit contract can include specific details such as the habit’s start date, the desired frequency of the habit, and any rewards for successful completion. The contract serves as a formal commitment to yourself and can provide an extra layer of accountability to help you stay on track. 

The act of writing down the habit and the consequences for not completing it can make the habit more real and concrete, increasing the likelihood of success. Habit contracts can be particularly useful when trying to establish a challenging habit or when trying to make a change in a group setting, such as with coworkers or family members. 

By setting clear expectations and consequences, the habit contract can help to foster a culture of accountability and motivation towards achieving positive change.


Atomic Habits by James Clear is a practical guide to building good habits and breaking bad ones. The book emphasizes the power of small, incremental changes and provides actionable strategies for creating and maintaining healthy habits. 

By focusing on consistent progress rather than immediate results, Atomic Habits offers a roadmap for achieving long-term success. 

The book covers the four laws of behavior change, which are the cue, craving, response, and reward, also known as the habit loop.

It also highlights the importance of focusing on creating a system that supports good habits rather than just setting goals and looking for results. 

Atomic Habits delves deep into human behavior and how it can be transformed through intentional action. 

According to the author, James Clear, human behavior is shaped by a combination of our environment, systems, and individual psychology. By understanding how these factors influence our behavior, we can create effective strategies for change. 

Clear explains that our habits are the building blocks of our behavior, and by focusing on making small improvements to our habits, we can make significant progress toward our goals. 

The book provides practical guidance on how to design systems that support positive habits, eliminate barriers to success, and maintain motivation. 

Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of identifying and aligning with our core values, which can help to reinforce our habits and create lasting change in our behavior. Overall, Atomic Habits offers a comprehensive understanding of human behavior and practical tools for creating positive change in our lives.

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