Atomic Habits #boekencast afl 101

Atomic Habits James Clear
Atomic Habits - James Clear cover

Vandaag bespreken we het boek Atomic Habits of Elementaire gewoontes van James Clear.

De ondertitel is Tiny changes, Remarkable results. Er zijn meer dan 15 miljoen exemplaren van dit boek verkocht.

De ondertitel op de Nederlandse versie is, kleine veranderingen, groot resultaat : een makkelijke en bewezen manier om goede gewoontes te creëren en te breken met slechte gewoontes.

James Clear is ondernemer, auteur (artikelen, wekelijkse email en dit boek) en spreker, hij doet veel onderzoek voor zijn schrijfwerk. Hij kreeg een ernstig ongeluk als sporter en begon met kleine gewoontes er weer bovenop te komen. De start van zijn zoektocht naar gedrag en veranderingen.

In 2012 begint hij een blog en een email lijst. In 2015 was deze lijst gegroeid tot 200.000 en tekende hij een boek deal, en daar kwam dit boek uit. Deze maand, februari 2024 lanceerde hij de Atoms app voor iOS en Android volgt.

Tom las de Nederlandse versie en ik de Engelse want die stond al op mijn Kindle. Vandaar dat je hieronder Engelse fragmenten uit zijn boek vindt die mij aanspreken.


  • The Fundamentals – Why tiny changes make a big difference
  • The 1st Law – Make it obvious
  • The 2nd law – Make it attractive
  • The 3rd law – Make it easy
  • The 4th law – Make it satisfying
  • Advanced tactics

The Fundamentals – Why tiny changes make a big difference

Hfdstk 1

If you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.

Results had very little to do with the goals I set and nearly everything to do with the systems I followed. Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results. Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.

Hfdstk 2

Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who we wish to become.

The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.

This is a gradual evolution. We do not change by snapping our fingers and deciding to be someone entirely new.

We change bit by bit, day by day, habit by habit.6 We are continually undergoing microevolutions of the self.

It is a simple two-step process: Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

Hfdstk 3 – het proces wordt uitgelegd

Habits do not restrict freedom. They create it. In fact, the people who don’t have their habits handled are often the ones with the least amount of freedom.

The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps: cue, craving, response, and reward. (The Power of habit – Duhigg)

Whenever you want to change your behavior, you can simply ask yourself: How can I make it obvious? How can I make it attractive? How can I make it easy? How can I make it satisfying?

The 1st Law – Make it obvious

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Before we can effectively build new habits, we need to get a handle on our current ones. This can be more challenging than it sounds because once a habit is firmly rooted in your life, it is mostly nonconscious and automatic. If a habit remains mindless, you can’t expect to improve it. As the psychologist Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

This process, known as Pointing-and-Calling, is a safety system designed to reduce mistakes. It seems silly, but it works incredibly well. Pointing-and-Calling reduces errors by up to 85 percent and cuts accidents by 30 percent.

We need a “point-and-call” system for our personal lives. That’s the origin of the Habits Scorecard, which is a simple exercise you can use to become more aware of your behavior. To create your own, make a list of your daily habits.

You need to be aware of your habits before you can change them.

Hfdstk 5

group completed the following sentence: “During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”

Broadly speaking, the format for creating an implementation intention is: “When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”

Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. It is not always obvious when and where to take action.

The simple way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence: I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].

If you aren’t sure when to start your habit, try the first day of the week, month, or year. People are more likely to take action at those times because hope is usually higher.

The habit stacking formula is: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”

Hfdstk 6 

The truth, however, is that many of the actions we take each day are shaped not by purposeful drive and choice but by the most obvious option.

If you want to make a habit a big part of your life, make the cue a big part of your environment.

Hfdstk 7 self-control

“disciplined” people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations.

yes, perseverance, grit, and willpower are essential to success, but the way to improve these qualities is not by wishing you were a more disciplined person, but by creating a more disciplined environment.

This practice is an inversion of the 1st Law of Behavior Change. Rather than make it obvious, you can make it invisible. I’m often surprised by how effective simple changes like these can be. Remove a single cue and the entire habit often fades away.

The 2nd law – Make it attractive

Hfdstuk 8 irresistible

most basic habitual behaviors like eating food, drinking water, having sex, and interacting socially.

When it comes to habits, the key takeaway is this: dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it. It is the anticipation of a reward—not the fulfillment of it—that gets us to take action.

Using temptation bundling, you could only read the tabloids and watch reality shows at the gym.

The habit stacking + temptation bundling formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].

Hfdstk 9 family and friends

“In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” As a result, one of the deepest human desires is to belong. And this ancient preference exerts a powerful influence on our modern behavior. We don’t choose our earliest habits, we imitate them.

We imitate the habits of three groups in particular: The close. The many. The powerful.

We soak up the qualities and practices of those around us. One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior.

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Some of our underlying motives include:fn1 ■ Conserve energy ■ Obtain food and water ■ Find love and reproduce ■ Connect and bond with others ■ Win social acceptance and approval ■ Reduce uncertainty ■ Achieve status and prestige

If you want to take it a step further, you can create a motivation ritual. You simply practice associating your habits with something you enjoy, and then you can use that cue whenever you need a bit of motivation.

The inversion of the 2nd Law of Behavior Change is to make it unattractive. ■ Every behavior has a surface level craving and a deeper underlying motive. ■ Your habits are modern-day solutions to ancient desires. ■ The cause of your habits is actually the prediction that precedes them. The prediction leads to a feeling. ■ Highlight the benefits of avoiding a bad habit to make it seem unattractive. ■ Habits are attractive when we associate them with positive feelings and unattractive when we associate them with negative feelings. Create a motivation ritual by doing something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.

The 3rd law – Make it easy

Hfdstuk 11 Walk slowly, never backward

I refer to this as the difference between being in motion and taking action. The two ideas sound similar, but they’re not the same. When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.

Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to merely be planning. You want to be practicing.

Hfdstk 12 Law of least effort

Business is a never-ending quest to deliver the same result in an easier fashion. 

successful companies design their products to automate, eliminate, or simplify as many steps as possible.

Hfdstk 13 Stop procrastinating

the Two-Minute Rule, which states, “When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do.”

Hfdstk 14 How to make good habits

If you’re feeling motivated to get in shape, schedule a yoga session and pay ahead of time. If you’re excited about the business you want to start, email an entrepreneur you respect and set up a consulting call. When the time comes to act, the only way to bail is to cancel the meeting, which requires effort and may cost money.

The 4th law – Make it satisfying

Hfdstk 15 Cardinal rule of behavior

the costs of your good habits are in the present. The costs of your bad habits are in the future. The brain’s tendency to prioritize the present moment means you can’t rely on good intentions. 

Hfdstk 16 Stick with good habits

Benefit #1: Habit tracking is obvious. Recording your last action creates a trigger that can initiate your next one.

Benefit #2: Habit tracking is attractive. The most effective form of motivation is progress.6 When we get a signal that we are moving forward, we become more motivated to continue down that path.

Benefit #3: Habit tracking is satisfying. This is the most crucial benefit of all. Tracking can become its own form of reward. It is satisfying to cross an item off your to-do list, to complete an entry in your workout log, or to mark an X on the calendar.

we optimize for what we measure. When we choose the wrong measurement, we get the wrong behavior.

Hfdstk 17 Accountability partner

A habit contract is a verbal or written agreement in which you state your commitment to a particular habit and the punishment that will occur if you don’t follow through. Then you find one or two people to act as your accountability partners and sign off on the contract with you.

To make bad habits unsatisfying, your best option is to make them painful in the moment.

Even if you don’t want to create a full-blown habit contract, simply having an accountability partner is useful.

Advanced tactics

Hfdstk 18 talent

genes do not determine your destiny. They determine your areas of opportunity.

The most proven scientific analysis of personality traits is known as the “Big Five,” which breaks them down into five spectrums of behavior.

Our habits are not solely determined by our personalities, but there is no doubt that our genes nudge us in a certain direction. Our deeply rooted preferences make certain behaviors easier for some people than for others.

The takeaway is that you should build habits that work for your personality.

Choose the habit that best suits you, not the one that is most popular. There is a version of every habit that can bring you joy and satisfaction. Find it. Habits need to be enjoyable if they are going to stick. This is the core idea behind the 4th Law.

series of questions you can ask yourself to continually narrow in on the habits and areas that will be most satisfying to you: What feels like fun to me, but work to others? What makes me lose track of time? Where do I get greater returns than the average person? What comes naturally to me?

When you can’t win by being better, you can win by being different. By combining your skills, you reduce the level of competition, which makes it easier to stand out.

Hfdstk 19 Goldilocks rule

The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. We get bored with habits because they stop delighting us. The outcome becomes expected. And as our habits become ordinary, we start derailing our progress to seek novelty. Perhaps this is why we get caught up in a never-ending cycle, jumping from one workout to the next, one diet to the next, one business idea to the next. As soon as we experience the slightest dip in motivation, we begin seeking a new strategy—even if the old one was still working.

Professionals stick to the schedule; amateurs let life get in the way. Professionals know what is important to them and work toward it with purpose; amateurs get pulled off course by the urgencies of life.

The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom.

Hfdstk 20 Downside

Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery

Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, and then using this new habit as the foundation to advance to the next frontier of your development.

executives and investors who keep a “decision journal” in which they record the major decisions they make each week, why they made them, and what they expect the outcome to be. They review their choices at the end of each month or year to see where they were correct and where they went wrong.

Conclusion: the secret to results that last

Sometimes a habit will be hard to remember and you’ll need to make it obvious. Other times you won’t feel like starting and you’ll need to make it attractive. In many cases, you may find that a habit will be too difficult and you’ll need to make it easy. And sometimes, you won’t feel like sticking with it and you’ll need to make it satisfying.

Happiness is simply the absence of desire. When you observe a cue but do not desire to change your state, you are content with the current situation. Happiness is not about the achievement of pleasure (which is joy or satisfaction), but about the lack of desire.

Happiness is the state you enter when you no longer want to change your state.

Victor Frankl meant when he said that happiness cannot be pursued, it must ensue. Desire is pursued. Pleasure ensues from action.

Being curious is better than being smart. Being motivated and curious counts for more than being smart because it leads to action.

Emotions drive behavior. Every decision is an emotional decision at some level.

Your response tends to follow your emotions. Our thoughts and actions are rooted in what we find attractive, not necessarily in what is logical.

Your actions reveal how badly you want something.

Seneca’s famous quote, “Being poor is not having too little, it is wanting more.” If your wants outpace your likes, you’ll always be unsatisfied. You’re perpetually putting more weight on the problem than the solution.

Opvallende lessen uit het boek voor mij:

  • 00:00 Intro – uitleg over de auteur en achtergrond
  • 04:20 Waarom lukt het de ene keer wel en de andere keer niet om een gewoonte je eigen te maken?
  • 09:15 Ontwikkel processen en werk daar dagelijks aan, in plaats van doelen na te streven. Interne vs externe motivatie.
  • 09:55 De reflectie die ontbreekt in the boek, is dat de Amerikaanse cultuur erg doel gericht is en de Europese meer procesgericht.
  • 11:00 Doelen staan op gespannen voet met de vooruitgang op lange termijn.
  • 12:35 We doen continu een micro-evolutie van onszelf.
  • 12:55 Identiteitsgerichte gewoontes: Het gaat niet over wat je wil worden, maar wie je wilt zijn.
  • 16:40 Het signaal, de behoefte de reactie, en de beloning de basis van je gedrag.
  • 18:55 Het aanwijzen en benoemen – point and call system – verlaagd de foutmarge aanzienlijk.
  • 24:25 Geef duidelijke instructies voor je brein, wat ga je wanneer, waar doen. Beschrijf het nauwkeurig.
  • 26:10 Door te zeggen dat je het morgen anders gaat doen, veranderd er niets. Je oude gewoonte treed als vanzelf weer op.
  • 27:00 Je wilskracht en discipline helpen je om iets te starten, maar zijn niet voldoende om een bestaande gewoonte te veranderen.
  • 28:45 Start met kleine stapjes zodat je iedere keer een overwinning kunt vieren wanneer het gelukt is.
  • 31:35 Je gedrag wordt beïnvloed door mensen die aanzien hebben, die dichtbij je staan en door veel mensen.
  • 38:10 Als je een nieuwe gewoonte wil beginnen, zorg er dan voor dat de eerste actie niet meer dan twee minuten duurt.
  • 39:35 Voor ondernemers, werk iedere dag eerst aan je drie belangrijkste doelen voor de lange termijn.
  • 41:15 Let op wat je meet en reflecteer op wat je meet of het werkelijk bijdraagt.
  • 48:45 Het houdt nooit op, als je maar vooruit gaat. Niet te streng voor jezelf zijn.

Bronnen die we genoemd hebben

Veel interviews met hem te vinden in podcasts:

Bekende boeken in het zelfde genre zijn o.a.:

Luister naar deze aflevering

Beluister hier ons gesprek over het boek Atomic Habits [EN] Atomic Habits [NL]. Het boek leest eenvoudig weg, heeft praktische tips en voorbeelden. Soms gaat de auteur wat ons betreft net iets te ver.

In een halfuur delen wij dit boek met jou. Een halfuur met kennis die je tot je neemt terwijl je wandelt, loopt of rijdt, bijvoorbeeld.

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In deze aflevering bespreken we Atomic Habits [EN] Atomic Habits [NL]. Een goed boek voor ondernemers die meer willen werken aan de dingen die echt belangrijk zijn, zoals de lange termijn projecten waar je niet aan toe komt. Lekker praktisch. Tips die je eenvoudig in je eigen prive- en werkomgeving kunt toepassen. Drijf het niet te ver door want we hebben niet alles onder controle.

Door Erno Hannink

Erno is de businesscoach die ondernemers helpt om de lange termijn doelen sneller te realiseren. Ondernemers die het beter willen doen voor de planeet, maatschappij en zichzelf. Met zijn ondersteuning en tips helpt hij je dagelijkse doelen te kiezen zodat je de lange termijn doelen eindelijk gaat realiseren. Test zijn coaching een week lang gratis uit met deze code ERNOHANNINKWEEK op dit platform -> ga naar Sluit je aan bij de community van ondernemers die iets bijzonders doen.

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