Atomic Habits, Atomic New Year – TSMP #67

Matt and Jay discuss the current #1 Amazon best seller – James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” – and how you can use Atomic Habits to make this your most productive and successful year ever!

Ready to take your success with women to the next level? Then you need to read our new books “Sexual Magnetism” “The WASM Dating Handbook” and “Secrets of Sensual Massage”!

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How To Have An Atomic New Year

What are “Atomic Habits”?

  • Based on James Clears’ “Atomic Habits” (BTW currently #1 book on Amazon)
    • For lots of great info, check our Bookcast #30 on Atomic Habits
  • What are Habits?
    • Habits are an ongoing, repeated use of energy applied to a single activity
      • Habits are the small things that we do thousands of times that become massive over a period of months and years
    • How Habits Work
      • Cue -> Craving -> Response -> Reward
  • So what are “Atomic Habits?”
    • Brief review of James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” book
    • Atomic = Small – not like atomic bomb
    • The essence of Atomic Habits:
      • Don’t focus on big habits – they’re TOO big to change effectively
      • Focus on TINY little actions and change those…then very quickly everything in your life will change

The Four Laws of Behavior Change

1. Make Your Habit Obvious

  • The human brain has thousands of tasks to coordinate in an average day.
  • Waking up, making your bed, showering, putting on clothes, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, making food, waking up the children, coordinating their morning routine, commuting, work actions, social actions, relationship actions, solving ethical dilemmas, political and religious beliefs, community stress, etc, etc, etc.
  • As a result, we do 99.9% of everything by instinct and habit. In order to make a better habit, we need to start NOTICING what we are – and aren’t – doing
  • “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung

2. Make Your Habit Attractive

  • Give yourself something desirable to shoot for
    • A better body, more money, less stress, more energy, more fun with your family, etc

3. Make Your Habit Easy

  • Start very, very small
    • Almost all goals we make are too difficult – that’s why we fail. Don’t shoot for the moon. Shoot for five feet in front of you.
    • Don’t try to lose 50 lbs. Don’t even try to lose 5lbs. Instead, commit to writing down everything you eat this week. That’s it.
      • BTW multiple studies show this SINGLE action of journaling your food is one of the best – and most effective – ways to lose weight…without doing ANYTHING else!

4. Make Your Habit Satisfying

  • What is rewarded is repeated, what is punished is avoided
    • Give yourself small rewards for accomplishment, small unpleasantries for failure
      • If you’re working on doing a Couch-to-10k and you just ran your first mile in years, celebrate by taking your partner out to dinner.
      • If your kids go a whole evening without fighting, they get to play video games for an hour the next night.
      • If you don’t go to the gym 3 days this week, you have to donate $5 to the American Heart Association

How to Create a New Habit

  • Use Implementation Intention
  • Make a very specific plan for how you will accomplish your goal 
    • Use SMART goal setting
    • Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound
  • 2001 study in Great Britain on how to build better exercise habits over a two week period
    • 248 people divided into three groups
    • Group A (control) was only asked to track their exercise – that’s it
    • Group B would track their exercise AND read materials on the benefits of exercise (reduce heart disease, improve heart health, etc)
    • Group C would track their exercise, read motivational materials AND also completed the following goal-setting program:
      • “During the next week, I will participate in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”
    • In Groups A and B roughly ⅓ of the people (35%) exercised at least once per week 
    • Strangely enough, the “motivational readings” didn’t improve their chances of exercise
    • However, in Group C, 91% of the people exercised at least once per week

Habit Stacking

  • Diderot Effect – When one changed thing leads to many, connected changes.
    • Named after French philosopher Denis Diderot.
      • Diderot’s daughter was about to be married but he couldn’t pay for the wedding.
      • Diderot was poor but he had co-founded the Encyclopedie, French encyclopedia, and Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia loved his work. When she found he needed money to take care of his daughter, she gave him £1,000 – equivalent of $150,000 now.
      • Diderot suddenly had enough money to pay for the wedding. He also decided to be extravagant and buy one very nice thing for himself – a beautiful scarlet robe. It was the nicest thing he had ever owned. But the robe was so nice, so luxurious, that the rest of his wardrobe looked shabby in comparison. So he upgraded his wardrobe. Then he looked around at his house and it wasn’t up to the quality of his wardrobe. So he bought a luxurious rug from Damascus. Then added expensive sculptures, a mirror to go above his mantle. Then a better kitchen table. Soon his entire life had been upgraded – all because of a single scarlet robe.
  • The Diderot effect in action: After I do (X) I will do (Y)
    • Meditation: After I pour my cup of coffee, I will meditate for 1 minute
    • Exercise: After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes
    • Gratitude: After I sit down to dinner, I will say one thing I’m grateful for today
    • Marriage: After I get into bed at night, I will give my partner a kiss
    • Safety: After I put on my running shoes, I will text a friend or family member where I am running and how long it will take

Why Environment Matters More Than Willpower for Change

  • Our environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.           
    • Humans will automatically do what is efficient, convenient, simple and easy – not necessarily what is “healthy,” “productive,” or “good.”
  • Harness human instincts to make big changes
    • In the early 90s, the cleaning staff at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam installed a small sticker that looked like a fly near the center of each urinal. Men naturally started “aiming” for the bug – and, as a result, there was reduced spillage around the urinal. The cleaning staff found that the single addition of that sticker reduced bathroom cleaning costs 8% per year!
    • We buy what we see: 45% of Coca-Cola sales come from the highly visible “end-cap” shelves at the end of each aisle in stores
    • Jay: At my work, if donuts are available at work, people will eat them – because DONUTS! If healthier snacks are available – and donuts are NOT available – everyone will eat those. 
  • Change your environment and you will change your behavior
    • Don’t try and just “suck it up” and use willpower. Change the environment so you don’t HAVE to use willpower.

Two Powerful Ways To Think About Goals

  • Goals vs Systems
    • If you want better results, forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.
    • Jerry Uelsmann’s and Quantity vs Quality
      • Uelsmann professor at University of Florida, divided his photography students into two groups: Quantity and Quality
      • 50% would be graded on the quantity of photos they took. 100 photos = A, 90 photos = B, 80 photos = C, etc
      • Other 50% would be graded on the quality of the photo they took. They needed to turn in one basically perfect photo during the semester
      • Which do you think did better? The Quantity group. They experimented, tried different lighting, explored unique styles and produced multiple great shots. The Quality group, by contrast, spent most of the year arguing about what made “the perfect shot,” produced almost no photos and ultimately turned in mediocre work.
  • Goals vs Identity
    • The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.
      • How awesome will it feel like to lose all that extra weight and finally be fit?
      • How amazing will it be to know how to give your girl an orgasm whenever you want to? (plug for Sensual Massage)
      • How cool will it be to have your kids finally start respecting you?
      • Or be a leader at work? Or to start having a lot more money? Or have the opportunity to speak another language? Etc. etc. etc.


  • What are Atomic Habits?
    • Tiny habits with INCREDIBLE power
  • The Four Laws of Behavior Change
    • Make your habit obvious
    • Make your habit attractive
    • Make your habit easy
    • Make your habit satisfying
  • How to Create a New Habit
    • Use SMART goals
  • Habit Stacking
    • Use the Diderot Effect…one thing connects to another
  • Why Environment Matters More Than Willpower
    • Don’t gut it out … change your environment to make the habit automatic
  • Two Powerful Ways to Think About Goals
    • Making GOALS vs Making SYSTEMS
    • Making GOALS vs Changing Your IDENTITY

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