What’s On Our ETL Bookshelf

Review and Recommendation for Atomic Habits by James Clear by Coach Julie Hartman

I admit it, I’m a complete and total bookworm! I have incredibly fond memories of going to our local library as a kid. There was, and still is, something about seeing the many shelves of books all lined up, just waiting to be read, combined with the familiar library smell that seems to be consistent with all libraries that I’ve had the pleasure to visit. Walking through the doors immediately sparks my curiosity and thirst for knowledge. 

In our ongoing quest to share helpful resources, we thought it would be fun for our team here at Empower The Learner to share with you some of our favorite reads. For my selection, I’ve chosen one of my all-time favorites, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by author James Clear, a leading expert on habit formation. 

It goes without saying, but for the sake of reiteration I’m going to anyway … paying mindful attention to our behaviors and habits is essential to goal achievement! Okay, thanks Coach Julie, aka Captain Obvious. But if we’re completely honest, I think it’s safe to say we would all admit that creating and keeping consistent good habits is easier said than done, or is it? Enter the first reason I love this book so much! I’m a systems and strategies kind of person.  This book is chock full of ways to easily get on the good-habit, goal-reaching train and ditch the habits that fall into the ‘bad’ and/or unsupportive category. He also helps remove the mystery surrounding those pesky unconscious habits and triggers that always seem to be lurking in the shadows, ready to derail us from our goals.

“A habit is a routine or behavior that is performed regularly and, in many cases, automatically.”

 – James Clear

According to Clear, “if you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.” And yes, he shares in great detail methods to simplify and create change habit systems based on proven data from biology, psychology and neuroscience. With a little attention to detail and rewiring, we can all truly become well equipped to master the tiny steps and behaviors that lead to our desired results. Boom.

“It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimating the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.”

 – James Clear

If you’re not yet convinced that you might want to read this book or listen to a podcast with James Clear, here’s a rundown of just some of what you will learn from this book and his teachings:

  •  How identity greatly influences habits.
  •  The concept of The Habit Loop and that habits are formed in a four-stage procedure: cue, craving, response, and reward.
  • What he refers to as ‘habit stacking’ and implementation intention to help initiate and stick to desired habits. 
  • How the brain responds to “attractive opportunities” to support newly formed habits.
  • How easy it is to make time for new habits.
  • Overcoming feeling a lack of motivation or willpower.
  • Designing your environment to simplify the process and make it easier on yourself.
  • And most importantly, how to get back on track if you find yourself elbow deep in a bag of chips with a side of fudge ripple ice cream (or is this just me?).
  • Positive feedback loops with rewards for good habits to make them stick!

If you want to have habits that work for you rather than against you, or instill good habits in your kids, employees, etc. I strongly recommend that you grab a copy of this book. He’s also included some great charts and chapter summaries that are really helpful, especially if you’re like me and are a visual learner or sometimes forget rather quickly what you’ve just read. 

Can tiny changes actually transform your life? If you’ve ever had a grain of sand stuck in your shoe for any length of time while walking, you already know that tiny things can have a big impact.  An accumulation of tiny habit changes can absolutely produce amazingly positive results. Knowing who you are, what your goals are, and making daily habit choices all add up to thriving and achieving the results you seek. 

If you become a reader and fan of James Clear and Atomic Habits, please let me know! I love to hear your success stories and learn about your winning habit strategies.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” – James Clear 


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