Atomic Habits is a great book to read this time of year as the majority of us start thinking about goals we want to achieve in 2019, actions we want to take and, of course, habits we want to form or break. James Clear simplifies the mystery of habit change and gives us a framework to make the process doable. Overall, I found this to be a good kick in the butt before the new year.
I’ve done quite a bit of reading on habits, but I always love to hear a fresh take and grab new tricks and ideas. So how does Clear’s work stack up against other writers on the topic, like Charles Duhigg or Gretchen Rubin?
Be aware that Clear’s book is meant to be universal. It does not niche down or distinguish between personality types, which I think has a lot to do with how we behave in our habits, but I still think his universal consensus is an important read. Clear helps us understand how habits work by giving the science and structure on the 4 stages that happen in every habit (no matter who you are or what your habit is). Thus, his action steps to make or break habits are also meant to be universal.
However, not everyone behaves the same. People’s minds and personalities may work differently – for example, tracking habits in some areas is a big trigger for me that leads to a downward spiral. But I’d recommend starting here to learn how habits work and give Clear’s framework a solid try. Be aware of what works for you and what doesn’t, then I’d go a bit deeper and read The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. That book may help you see why you might form the habits you do and why you can break some habits and not others.
Bottom line: I think Atomic Habits is a really good place to start learning about habits, and I found the information and analogies to be incredibly helpful. I recommend following Clear’s work, and you can check out excerpts from his book on his website to get a taste before you really dive in. But remember if you still have trouble breaking some habits, you may need to try some other resources to understand your personality type.