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How to Stay Self-Motivated (Review of Atomic Habits Book)

Professionals follow a schedule, while getting distracted is possible for everyone as life is uncertain. James Clear, the author of the transformational book Atomic Habits, stated clearly to differentiate the habits of people with productive or diverted mindsets.

What can be worst more than having no control over your mind from waking up to going to sleep? If you want to learn to manage yourself even being surrounded by distracting noise, you must read or listen to Atomic Habits. It was my second listening to this action-oriented book after a gap of two years. I realised that the planted seeds grew into blossoming flowers due to less procrastination and more time management. You do more work when you are motivated. You can manage time when you know about your priorities and you keep progressing each day.

You can also apply simple yet logical concepts of Atomic Habits that usually get unnoticed when we are so busy delaying a task, even if it requires two minutes of effort.

Most people end up becoming successful because they don’t follow their changing moods but stick to a long-lasting routine. Waking up early, following a healthy diet, daily reading habit, prioritised daily routine and work-life balance are some of the incremental habits that compound over a long time to fetch desirable results. However, uncertainty, complexity and lack of control get in the way of biting us mentally. Atomic Habits open up your mind again to rewire it. You can execute your desired actions without feeling distracted, annoyed and disturbed due to stored toxicity in your mind. We can overcome inaction coming due to unknown reasons, unfulfilled desires and wrongly programmed thinking due to various circumstances.

Atomic Habits take a psychological approach to change the unhelpful behaviour that we get used to. Just like brushing your teeth every day is a permanent habit we are used to, there can be more productive things in your mental notes to be mindful of. Understanding its laws of behaviour change can prevent us from taking important actions to get rid of the lack of motivation.

Anatomy of Motivation: Motivation is an internal drive which is both intrinsic and extrinsic. You feel energetic to do any important task due to your inner thinking and external triggers. We can be motivated or depressed heavily depending on what small actions we take daily to change the way things sound like.

It can be a complex situation to be not in your skin at times. However, if the present lifestyle lacks the desired behaviour you want to embody, you need life hacks to permanently make sustainable changes that last forever. Also, avoiding addressing the lack of motivation to even leave your bed in the morning is not going to work. Therefore, to go to work with a positive mindset and do what is exactly needed at the right time at the right place with the right people, you should read Atomic Habits. Shah Rukh Khan defines success as being at the right place at the right time with the right people.

When we are not motivated, we just see, feel and experience only difficulty, uncertainty, ugliness and dissatisfaction. Atomic Habits underpin the solutions for unidentified problems by reversing these solvable problems. We need to understand the root cause of less motivation. Successful writers keep hitting their fingers on the typewriter each day at the same time, even if they are not in the mood. Fitness freaks go to the gym as part of a routine, even if they are not in the mood. We can make ourselves habitual to do a lot of tasks before sunset or sunrise even if we are not in the mood. Since there are harsh consequences if we get diverted, we can program ourselves to focus ahead because losing time, money, job and happiness will be the cost of not changing the behaviour. Although the external environment may bring difficult situations that are hard to cope with, we can still try to control our emotions to not lose sight of the task at hand. Also, it may take a long time for situations to get better, but we can still follow a routine by understanding toxic procrastination is the negative behaviour of lack of motivation.

Toxic Procrastination: You are in the office, or you are working from home, but the unmatched mood is distracting you from the actual task, which should be done by its deadline. Though, you were desperately looking for a job. You could afford to join an expensive gym, but you are not in the mood to work out again. Though, you carefully saved money and had a certain level of motivation to achieve a big goal. You want to socialise and confidently talk to anyone, but you just don’t have the energy to even talk to yourself. Though, in your dreams, you want to talk to celebrities, your crush and influential personalities.

We may get into an endless cycle of procrastination due to the lack of the right mood because of temporary issues. Boredom due to the same daily routine may distract us from what we are supposed to do. However, getting a grip on decisive moments, the entire day can transform into a regretful day or the other way around.

Decisive Moments: We all procrastinate on one thing or another. Try to think about it. Keep in mind that while some delays might be good because of less priority but most of them are not. Listening to music can be delayed if you are working on a task with an urgent deadline. It is just In the decisive moment, we always choose from time to time. The road we take keeps changing according to each small decision we take. It is what shapes our reality to either best or worst. But most people get into mediocrity because they do not have enough time and complete information to decide which path is more compatible. We can get rid of inaction by only taking action. The right action is the one which will be beneficial in the long term. Working each day will get you a salary at the end of the month, or eating junk food every day will make you sick. There might not be short-term rewards, but there are certainly long-term consequences of our actions which depend on what we choose to do each moment. Therefore, it is important to weigh your decisions against a criterion of long-term consequences.

There is an optimum solution for all who want to get rid of bad habits, but it is not that easy while career, health and relationship problems seem to never end. Atomic Habits suggest Laws of Behaviour Change as the solution.

Laws of Behaviour Change: Making a habit easy, obvious, attractive and satisfactory is the formula which governs the laws of behaviour change. We may delay a lot of important tasks just because of a bad mood or distracted mind leading to inaction. However, you can implement the right solutions that fit your situation. You get to see the bigger picture associated with small steps. A task requiring the least effort is necessary for us to feel motivated to do it. You can take one step at a time to climb the mountain of success rather than daydreaming about jumping to the peak at once.

Make It Easy: If a task is easy, we will be motivated to do it. Most people give up as soon as difficulties arise. While a task can be complex, we can still make it sound easy. Practice makes us remember what we need to without thinking a lot. The more we think less while working on a task, the more we are prepared to do it easily. Therefore, less cognitive load is desirable. We can reach this state of mind by practising almost daily. If you are finding it hard to study alone, especially during a long day, try group study, which will make this task easier. A lot of mobile applications have made it easier for us to shop without going anywhere as we find it impossible to make time for each activity during our hectic routine.

· If you want to achieve big goals, break them down and focus on each small task.

· If you want to be like people you admire, try to be around them. It is possible to acquire desired behaviour while we are around people we want to become.

Make It Obvious: We may keep procrastinating if we don’t know when is the right time to do a certain task. Be specific while you commit to yourself or others. Saying that you will read a book each day at 10 PM is going to work more than just saying you will read the book. Therefore, we can change our behaviour by associating beginning points and deadlines to stay productive. Without thinking you should do it or not, you will be doing it. If we don’t commit to a specific time, important meetings are not going to occur, or they will never end.

Once you have started repeating a habit, you can add more tasks to do at the same time, which is called habit stacking. For example, after starting a morning walk routine, you can add on more tasks, such as cycling and running to support the previously developed habit. Once you know you are committed to one important task, ensure what you will be doing next. Thinking ahead of time makes us proactive. After wrapping up the hectic schedule, you may call or meet a person you want to talk to or watch the movie you have not been getting time for. After making it obvious what it is that can keep you motivated, you keep going on.

Make it Attractive: Often, the blame to be given for less productivity is the incompatible environment. Changing the surroundings can be the right strategy which supports the activity you want to engage in. Seeing other people do similar tasks, you will feel more motivated to accomplish your goals. Reading a book in the library or at a serene place is possible rather than trying a lot around noise.

· Clean the workspace so that you can only use what is required at the moment.

· A billboard can remind you to complete the task as once you go outside, you attract a lot of information and people that make us act.

Make it Satisfactory: There is a loop of habit that we repeat daily, either consciously or subconsciously. We tend to repeat it when it is rewarding. Not getting the expected results after drawing all efforts leads us to break this pattern. If the particular experience is not satisfactory, there is rarely any chance to repeat it. You have to change something about this loop to make the process satisfactory. Breaking the pattern is also necessary, as automatic habits might not be converting into results. Positive self-talk is your asset to turn any negative situation into a more rewarding one. As unexpected events are prone to switch your gears into a fearful mode, try to think positively as to what can be done now to make your life satisfactory.

There must be at least something you can do even if you have lost your job, failed the exam and earned nothing after investing a lot of money. Look around you. There are a lot of stories that genuinely convey success is a non-linear and non-cyclic process as opposed to what we think of it when we begin with determination to achieve a big goal. Self-satisfaction leads to boundless happiness.

Achieving small things on time is powerful, which is a magical formula for staying happy. However, despite knowing about long-term goals and daily To-Do lists, sometimes it can be a lot difficult to focus. The lack of motivation gets dangerous when you are committed to a deadline at the workplace. In such situations, try 2 Minute and 5 Minute rule which work perfectly in any situation.

Two-Minute Rule: If you find yourself procrastinating on any task next time, just do it for 2 minutes. The research validated that if you start it for 2 minutes, you can progress until its completion. Tell yourself that it will just take two minutes. There is no task in this world which can not be started if you are told it is just about two minutes. While we keep rushing through the routine, making time of two minutes for anything you have been pushing aside.

Five-Minute Rule: You should become a reader rather than just reading a book. Become a musician rather than learn to play the instrument. It is better to hold on to good habits that will make you shine with sheer self-confidence. If you are not mentally feeling like going to the gym despite being physically capable, you must go to the gym for at least five minutes to continue the automatic habit so that you don’t get away from your target of staying fit. Consistency develops your identity. If you can read a page of a thick book daily for five minutes, there is a chance that you will complete it one day. However, if you don’t start it today, you will never complete it. Therefore, small actions result in massive output, even if it is for only five minutes. However, most of the time, we don’t commit to an action which will last only five minutes because of wrong thinking that it is not a huge amount of time. However, consistency is valuable, which made writers become authors as they could also give in to their mood rather than sticking to permanent habit.

Track Automatic Habits: Running through the routine with a pilot mode is not recommended, while you are good to go with habits requiring the least effort due to less thinking. However, reviewing the progress is essential to improve the process. When you look back at how far you have reached, you feel motivated. We may get stuck in a constant loop, not knowing there is scope for improvement.

Spend some time daily when you are not connected to digital space. When we are outside to introspect, we tend to think creatively to identify the problems and their solutions. An accountability partner who you trust is also required to share your thoughts and discuss the situation. You can constantly monitor your progress by committing your words with an accountability partner to act on your ideas. Taking your commitment as a constraint, you can align your thoughts, words and actions. Some people have tried keeping the public as an accountability partner, as when the alarm rings, not waking up will automatically tweet about laziness. The feeling of getting appreciated for positive efforts can change our passive behaviour. Also, staying alert about the possibility of fetching criticism makes you complete the task.

Atomic Habits is all about reinforcing incremental growth with thoughts of small actions to achieve massive results. When you adapt to newly designed behaviour, you have a reliable system to keep working even if you are not motivated. Once you start feeling satisfied with your productive routine, you will be more motivated to achieve more goals.


Atomic Habits is structured around laws of behaviour change, such as make it easy, make it obvious, make it attractive and make it satisfactory to break the pattern of procrastination. The unhelpful habit of unreasonably denying the task at hand is the cause of the required motivation level to do it. It can be about completing the assigned work daily, going to the gym, studying regularly and meeting an important person. However, we can change our usually repeated bad habits by compounding small changes over time. Studying just one day for eight hours is not recommended as studying two hours each day is. Consistency is more valuable than a sudden burst of energy. It is the number of times a habit is repeated, then the total amount of time getting consumed, which makes sense. Therefore, we can automate our habits to make long-lasting changes while taking one small step at a time. Also, constantly reviewing and tracking habits is also needed to make necessary changes with the help of a trustworthy accountability partner.

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