Atomic Habits for Nuclear Sales Results 

On another page I gave you a very brief outline of the book "atomic habits"

Below is a more detailed summary of the wisdom within this book covered chapter by chapter.

If you have any desire to streamline your life and boost your sales success I strongly suggest you get yourself a copy of this book (see bottom of page)

1. The surprising power of Atomic Habits

  • “Success is the product of the daily habits - not a once-in-a-lifetime transformation”
  • Your outcomes are lagging a measure of your habits. Your net worth is a lagging measure of your financial habits. Your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits. You get what you repeat."
  • (I would add your sales results are a lagging measure of your sales habits)
  • “You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results"
  • "Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy.
  • "Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead you to those results"
  • "The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It's not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement."
  • (This is the Japanese concept of Kaizen)
  • "Getting one % better every day counts for a lot in the long run"
  • "Habits are a two-edged sword. They can work for you or against you."
  • "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems"

2. How Your Habits Shape Your Identity (and Vice Versa)

There are 3 Layers of behavioural change: Outcomes, Process, Identity

  • With outcome-based habits, the focus is on what you want to achieve. 
  • With process based habits, the focus is on what you want to do.
  • With identity-based habits, the focus is on who you wish to become.

  • "Ask yourself," who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want?""
  • "Your identity emerges out of your habits. Every action is a vote for the type of person you wish to become."
  • Small habit changes can work because they make meaningful impact on your identity.
  • You change who you are by changing what you do. Evidence mounts up.
  • First decide who you want to be and what you stand for.
  • This can be hard to do so first ask what you want to achieve and then ask who is the person that could do that.
  • e.g. what would a healthy person do?

3. How to Build Better Habits in 4 Simple Steps

  • Cue - make it obvious
  • Craving- make it attractive
  • Response - make it easy
  • Reward - make it satisfying

  • "The ultimate purpose of habits is to solve the problems of life with those little energy and effort as possible"
  • Habits are mental shortcuts to an outcome, they reduce your cognitive load and free up your mental energy.
  • You are motivated to pursue a habit not by the outcome but by your state change 
  • e.g. you brush your teeth not so much to make sure they are clean button enjoy the feeling of clean mouth.
  • Rewards not only satisfy your cravings but teach you which actions are worth remembering in the future
  • Cue + cravings = problem 
  • Response + Reward = Solution
  • "The process of behaviour change always starts with awareness. You need to be aware of your habits before you can change them."
  • Two methods for raising your awareness are “Pointing-and-Calling” and The Habit Scorecard.
  • To break a bad habit Reverse the 4 Steps
  • Make the bad habit : Invisible - unattractive- difficult- unsatisfying

5. The Best Way To Start A New Habit

  • Make It Obvious
  • "Many people think they lack motivation when what they really like is clarity."
  • "One of the best ways to build the new habit is to identify our current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behaviour on top. This is called habit stacking.”

  • The habit stacking formula is:
  • " after [current habit], I will [new habit]"
  • e.g. after I drink my coffee in the morning I will go over my first two sales calls of the day
  • You can stack multiple behaviours together you can even insert habits in the middle of the sequence. For example if you have bit surely get up make your bed and have a shower and you desire to read more what you could do is get up, make bed, then place a book on your pillow and then go have a shower.

  • Another method to install new habit is an "implementation intention"
  • “ I will (behaviour) at (time) in (location)”
  • e.g. I will meditate for 1 minute at 7am in my study

6. Motivation is Overrated; Environment Often Matters More

  • Every habit is context dependent
  • About 10 million of our 11 million sensory neutrons are connected to sight, little wonder we are triggered by visual cues
  • Control your environment to control your habits. If you want to play guitar leave it out in the living room ... leave water bottles around the house if you want to drink more water.. if you want to make a habit a part of your life make the cues part of your environment
  • Stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects but as filled with relationships
  • You can train yourself to connect a certain behaviour to a certain location. Maybe you always read when you are in a certain chair in the lounge room of your home?
  • It’s easier to create a new habit in a new location that way you are not fighting old cues.
  • You can program different rooms for different things. 
  • Only sleep in bedroom, only work in your home office.
  • If your space is limited divide your room into zones

7. The Secret to Self Control

  • More disciplined people have better control of their environment
  • People with high self control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It's easier to avoid temptation than resistant."
  • Self control is a short term strategy

8. How to Make a Habit Irresistible

  • Make it Attractive
  • "Habits are a dopamine driven feedback loop. When dopamine rises, so does your motivation to act." 
  • “It is the anticipation of a reward - not the fulfilment of it - that gets us to take action. The greater the anticipation, the greater the dopamine Spike.”
  • "Temptation bundling is one way to make your habits more attractive. The strategy is to pare and action you want to do with an action you need to do.)

9. The Role of Family And Friends in Shaping Your Habits

  • "We tend to imitate the habits of three social groups: the close (Family and friends), the many (the tribe) and the powerful (those with status and prestige).”
  • "One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where (1) your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour and (2) you already have something in common with the group."
  • "The normal behaviour of the tribe often overpowers the desired behaviour of the individual. Most days, we’d rather be wrong with the crowd and be right by ourselves.”
  • "If a behaviour can get us approval, respect and praise we will find it attractive”

10. how to Find and Fix the Causes of Your Bad Habits

  • Every craving has a surface level desire and a deeper underlying motive. 
  • Often habits are modern day solutions to ancient desires. 
  • A habit is not the best method to satisfy the underlying desire its merely the one you have learned.
  • Our behaviour is influenced by our predictions which is based on our history.
  • Sometimes a small change can make us desire a good habit more.
  • e.g. saying “I have to do” something versus saying “I get to do” something
  • e.g. Saving is not sacrificing its freedom building
  • Use rituals.
  • Say you want to be happy and walking the dog makes you happy then introduce a ritual before walking the dog and whenever you want to be happy just repeat the ritual.

11. Walk Slowly, But Never Backward

  • "The most effective form of learning is practice, not planning."
  • Motion versus Action (Motion is often preparing to do)
  • Practice builds neurological pathways in the brain which causes automaticity.
  • "The amount of time you have been performing a habit is not as important as the number of times you have performed it"
  • (It doesn’t take 30 days to install a habit. It depends on the number of reps.)

12. The Law of Least Effort

  • "We will naturally gravitate towards the option that requires the least amount of work"
  • “Reduce the friction associated with good behaviours. When friction is low, habits are easy."
  • e.g you are more likely to go to the gym if it’s on your way to work
  • "Increase the friction associated with bad behaviours. When friction is high, habits are difficult"
  • e.g. If you watch too much TV unplug it after each use. Even harder, remove batteries from remote.

13. How to Stop Procrastinating Using The Two-Minute Rule

  • Every day, there are a handful of moments that deliver an outsized impact. James refers to these little choices as "decisive moments."
  • "Many habits occur at decisive moments - choices that are like a fork in the road - and either send you in the direction of productive day or an unproductive one."
  • Our tendency is to take on too much. So, make sure a new habit takes less than 2 minutes.
  • e.g. read before bed each night becomes read one page
  • e.g. run 3 miles becomes find my running shoes.
  • You master the habit of showing up which starts to change your identity.

  • Say you want to become an early riser, introduce the habit slowly, in stages …
  1. be home at 10 pm every night,
  2. all electronic devices off by 10pm,
  3.  be in bed by 10pm,
  4. lights off at 10pm,
  5. wake up at 6am every day.

14. How to Make Good Habits Inevitable And Bad Habits Impossible 

  • The 4th Law - Make It Satisfying
  • “A “commitment device” is a choice you make in the present that locks in better behaviour in the future”
  • e.g. if you want to go to bed earlier and you have a habit of surfing the Net plug a power timer into the power point that powers your modem, when the power goes off is time for bed. This locks you in ahead of time.
  • If things are not done often get technology to do it for you or remind you. Set a reminder in your phone. Put the electricity bill on auto-payment.

15. The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change

  • "The human brain evolved to prioritise immediate rewards over delayed rewards."
  • The Cardinal Rule of Behaviour Change: What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided."
  • e.g. chewing gum had been around for a long time but Wrigleys were the first to introduce gums with flavour and they dominated the market because the flavour made chewing the gum immediately rewarding.

16. How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day

  • "A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit - like marking an X on a calendar.”
  • "Habit trackers and other visual forms of measurement can make your habits satisfying by providing clear evidence of your progress.”
  • Benjamin Franklin famously use this method to instill in himself the 13 virtues he desired. 
  • "Don't break the chain. Try to keep your habit streak alive."
  • Jerry Seinfeld tries to string together an unbroken chain of writing jokes every day by marking on his calendar each day he writes jokes.

17. How An Accountability Partner Can Change Everything

  • “An accountability partner can create an immediate cost to inaction. We care deeply about what others think of us, and we do not want others to have a lesser opinion of us."
  • “A habit contract can be used to add a social cost to any behaviour. It makes the cost of violating your promises public and painful."
  • e.g. a person who wanted to get up every day at 5.55 am programmed an automatic Tweet to go out to his list at 6.00 am (unless he stopped it) saying he “was a lazy slob” and the first 5 people to go to this web address would get $5 directly from his PayPal account.
  • Needless to say he adopted his early rising habit quite quickly.
  • When consequences are severe people learn quickly.

18. The Truth About Talent

  • Genes do not eliminate the need for hard work. They clarify it. They tell us what to work hard on."
  • "Play a game that favours your strengths. If you can't find a game that favours you, create one.”
  • Focus on fulfilling your own potential.

19. The Goldilocks Rule:
How to Stay Motivated in Life And Work 

  • "The Goldilocks rule States that humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge on the current abilities.
  • "The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom."
  • Really successful people learn to handle the boredom. 
  • Mastery requires practice which is boring.
  • "Professionals stick to the schedule: amateurs let life get in the way."

20. The Downside of Creating Good Habits

  • Habits are necessary but not sufficient for mastery. 
  • Combination of automatic habits & deliberate practice is required. 
  • We need a way to remain conscious of our performance over time this means establishing a system for reflection & review.
  • e.g. Create a Decision Journal: writing what results you think you’ll get from an action , then compare to what actually happens & review regularly.
  • James does an annual review in which he looks at: # articles published, # workouts done, # new places visited
  • (can see at
  • Avoid clinging to your identity too tightly as problems can arise.
  • e.g when a footballer retires what is he then if he is no longer a footballer?
  • Define yourself carefully to avoid this problem … rather than “I’m an athlete” use “I’m the type of person who’s mentally tough” ... rather than “I’m a soldier” to “I’m the type of person who is disciplined , reliable and a great team player”
  • Flexible identities work with changes in circumstances rather than against them.

Conclusion: The Secret to Results That Last

  • Can one coin make you rich ? Eventually enough of them do !
  • Can one small habit change your life?
  • Enough of them do !