“ Tiny changes, remarkable results.
AND ALSO: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones ”

by James Clear

Book Cover

An applied method on leveraging the power of habit.


Habits free the mind for productive thoughts.

The habit cycle is 4 steps: cue, craving, response, reward. To build better habits or break bad habits, act on those four steps:

  • make it visible (or invisible): put things where you see them
  • make it attractive (or unattractve): stack on good habits you already have, associate to positive thoughts
  • make it easy (or hard): put into routing, reset your environment, avoid hard situations
  • make it rewarding: stack a “need” to a “want”, shorten the gratification cycle.

Keep the chain

Reading notes

  • Marginal improvements compound interests
  • Focus on the system rather than the goal
    • Survivor bias - people see the outcome, not the process
  • Change the identity first (“I’m not smoking” rather than “I’m trying to quit”)
  • Habits are freeing you to do more by leveraging automated response to a problem
  • Cheat sheet

  • Habits are behaviors done because of a craving triggered by a cue
    • Habit loop: Cue, craving, response, reward
    • Response gets associated with the reward
    • Building habits is acting on these 4 steps: make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, make it rewarding
    • Breaking bad habits is the opposite
  • Make it visible
    • Stack habits together
    • Put things you want to do in visible places / in the middle of your routine
    • Put things you don’t want as habits away
    • People with more will are just more organized
  • Make it attractive
    • Stack what you want with what you need
    • Make it something in your circles: the close to you, the many, the powerful
      • We follow those close, the general advice, or those who stand out.
  • Make it easy
    • Reduce the friction
    • Put it into your routine
    • Preload/reset the environment
    • Avoid the situations where it’s hard to resist / favor those where its hard to say no
    • Start small, the first step is usually easy
    • Automate / commit
  • Make it pleasurable
    • This is what makes that you will repeat the habit
    • Need ≠ want
    • Stack a need with a want
    • Good habits usually have delayed gratification. Bad habits usually have immediate gratification.
    • To create good habit try to shorten the gratification cycle
  • How to keep habits
    • Track
    • Measure the right metric
    • Commit with someone
    • “Don’t break the chain”
    • Find a partner
    • Don’t log 0, do even the smallest to confirm your identity
    • Never miss twice in a row
    • Choose habits that fit your capacity
    • Fall in love with the boredom and have variable results
  • Doing the same thing over and over again isn’t enough
    • You need to get better
    • Keep records of decisions
    • Calculate a score and improve it
    • Reflect on core values and write integrity report
    • Don’t tie everything to a single identity (“I’m an athlete”), tie to the underlying qualities (“I’m persistent, like the effort, train relentlessly”)
  • How to apply to parenting

About Reading Notes

These are my takes on this book. See other reading notes. Most of the time I stop taking notes on books I don't enjoy, and these end up not being in the list. This is why average ratings tend to be high.