Three Things I Learned from Atomic Habits

Finally read Atomic Habits by James Clear. Only took a few years. 🙂

Here are three things I learned:

Out of sight, out of mind

This isn’t something net new that I learned, but certainly something I could be practicing more. I’m prone to getting sucked into time-wasting behaviors, like browsing the web or playing games like Grindstone.

People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

If the temptation isn’t there, it’s much easier to avoid. I think staying off electronics altogether after a certain time would definitely help.

Habit stacking (and then some)

I’ve known about B.J. Fogg’s method of “habit stacking” for a bit, but this riff on it by Clear is pretty fantastic:

The habit stacking + temptation bundling formula is: 1. After (CURRENT HABIT), I will (HABIT I NEED). 2. After (HABIT I NEED), I will (HABIT I WANT.)

James Clear, Atomic Habits

An example of this could be “…after I brush my teeth, I’ll do ten push-ups, and after that, I’ll read 15 pages of a book.”

Get back on it

This has been my nemesis: consistency.

Never miss twice. If you miss one day, try to get back on track as quickly as possible.

James Clear, Atomic Habits

I’ve started projects, built new habits, and always watched everything blow over after the first two or three misses. That’s all it takes.

It’s okay to miss, so long as you get back up and don’t miss twice.


Tom Tate

I'm a suburban polymath living just outside Philadelphia with my wonderful wife and three kids. Digital marketing nerd for a SaaS company by day. Rabid movie, music, game, and book consumer by morning, noon, and night. I share life hacks and learnings via email at Weekly Coffee. I also host Power Time Podcast, a Nintendo retrospective. Sometimes I write stuff. Most of the time, it's on the internet.