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Atomic Habits — TL;DR Summary & The Ultimate Habit Loop for Startups

Atomic Habits has become one of the most successful books on habits and for good reason. It’s a simple, no nonsense guide to making habits work, by building systems and processes to achieve your goals. According to author James Clear, the reason we have good or bad habits is a direct results of our systems. And so if we want to have great habits, we need to build great systems. The book is very practical and I believe anyone who reads it will come out with great tools and ideas to reinforce your personal and professional goals.

TL;DR Summary:

Focus on being — not doing — and the right habits will come. Be a writer, be a jogger, be an entrepreneur , etc., and then build small habits to reinforce that identity. By reinforcing identity — the deepest part of who we are — then we can easily change our processes and thus outcomes.

One Actionable Insight:

For me, working on my own business and as an advisor to many startups, one area I found immense value is related to the habit loop for products. Essentially, if we want our users and customers to love our product and use it habitually (and who doesn’t??), understanding the science of how habits are formed through the habit loop is critical. Based on his book (screenshot of the first page of the bonus business chapter below) and with my comments, here’s how I believe we can establish steps for positive behavior change for our community of users and followers:

Screenshot from my computer of the Habit Loop, Atomic Habits Bonus Chapter on Applying these ideas to Business, James Clear.
  1. Cue: make it obvious. How can you make it as simple as possible for users to know about your product, buy it, and use it regularly? For consumer products, how can we design the product so it lives in a high visibility zone such as kitchen table, purse or backpack, etc. and not the back of a closet? For SAAS, how can we make our product a top 3 software product used regularly by our target business unit? This relates to how we attract users (marketing) and how regularly they use the product (product design and positioning).
  2. Craving: make it attractive. Focus on the benefits — what are the main benefits your product will give users that they absolutely must have and will love? Ignore fluffy words and focus on sharing the real value that solves their problem and will get them excited.
  3. Response: Make it Easy. What are the behaviors a customer must do to purchase the product and use it, and how can you reduce any friction? If it’s a specialized product for a specific time (like after sports or before working), how can you habit stack — make using your product a new habit that seamlessly is connected to their current habit?
  4. Reward: Make it Satisfying. How can we make our product as good, delicious, effective, pleasurable as possible so our users will love it and want to keep coming back?

Thinking through these stages as a way to provide maximum value has been super helpful to me. Grab a copy of his book for yourself, and check out for his weekly newsletter and regular insights!



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