Atomic Habits Chapter 4

Chapter 4 is a short chapter but now we get to start working on us.

Idea 1: we are prediction machines

We don’t give our subconscious brains enough credit. They can crush an unbelievable amount of data and return information or even actions without your conscious brain doing any work. That’s how it saves energy. And that’s why habits can be hard to work with.

Our brains are designed to make the best possible guesses about the future.

Idea 2: cues become invisible

You can understand your habits until you identify them. But, since we’re built to predict the future, it can be hard to know what actually triggers a specific habit. The trigger itself could have happened 10 minutes ago in a different room while you were focused on something else entirely.

But your brain noticed.

And now, completely disconnected to wherever started the process, you’re executing a habit automatically and unconsciously.

The goal for this chapter is to get you to make those invisible cues visible and to make you aware of those unconscious actions.

Key takeaways and implementation

Step 1 is to assess where you are – habit-wise. Make a list of all your habits.

Give them a basic score: good or bad. I think we’ll find out what we do with the list in the next chapter.

Additional thoughts

The human brain is a prediction machine.

In Win Bigly, Scott Adams calls humans “moist robots”. He says, “If you provide the right inputs, you get the right outputs.” The core of the idea is that the brain’s job has little to do with reality and everything to do with survival. If you believed that red was blue, up was down, and 1 + 1 = watermelon and you were doing fine, the brain has little reason to adapt to reality.

Habits are a big part of how you program a moist robot.


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author: James Clear
Amazon rating: 4.8
Amazon price: $14.99
Amazon data gathered on 1Oct2020
Review status: In progress

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