Atomic habits cheat sheet

Atomic habits cheat sheet. Explore our ultimate lifestyle quick reference for Atomic habits.

Our "Atomic Habits" cheat sheet distills the essence of James Clear's transformative approach to habit formation, focusing on "The Four Laws of Behavior Change." These laws provide a powerful framework for building good habits and breaking bad ones, guiding you to cue, crave, respond, and reward more effectively. This cheat sheet is your go-to resource for implementing practical strategies and making lasting changes that propel you towards your goals, all while keeping the process simple and actionable.

How to create a good habit?

1. Make It Obvious

  1. Fill out the Habits Scorecard. Write down your current habits to become aware of them.
  2. Use implementation intentions: “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION].”
  3. Use habit stacking: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”
  4. Design your environment. Make the cues of good habits obvious and visible.

2. Make It Attractive

  1. Use temptation bundling. Pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do.
  2. Join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior.
  3. Create a motivation ritual. Do something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit.

3. Make It Easy

  1. Reduce friction. Decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits.
  2. Prime the environment. Prepare your environment to make future actions easier.
  3. Master the decisive moment. Optimize the small choices that deliver outsized impact.
  4. Use the Two-Minute Rule. Downscale your habits until they can be done in two minutes or less.
  5. Automate your habits. Invest in technology and onetime purchases that lock in future behavior.

4. Make It Satisfying

  1. Use reinforcement. Give yourself an immediate reward when you complete your habit.
  2. Make “doing nothing” enjoyable. When avoiding a bad habit, design a way to see the benefits.
  3. Use a habit tracker. Keep track of your habit streak and “don’t break the chain.”
  4. Never miss twice. When you forget to do a habit, make sure you get back on track immediately.

How to break a bad habit?

1. Make It Invisible

  1. Reduce exposure. Remove the cues of your bad habits from your environment.

2. Make It Unattractive

  1. Reframe your mindset. Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits.

3. Make It Difficult

  1. Increase friction. Increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits.
  2. Use a commitment device. Restrict your future choices to the ones that benefit you.

4. Make It Unsatisfying

  1. Get an accountability partner. Ask someone to watch your behavior.
  2. Create a habit contract. Make the costs of your bad habits public and painful.

Atomic Habits Templates

The Habits Scorecard

The Habits Scorecard is a simple and effective tool designed to help you become more aware of your daily actions. By systematically listing your daily habits, you can categorize them as positive, negative, or neutral. This awareness is the first step towards meaningful behavior change.

Daily Habits Positive (+), Negative (-), or Neutral (=)

Once you have a full list, look at each behavior, and ask yourself, “Is this a good habit, a bad habit, or a neutral habit?”

  • If it is a good habit, write “+” next to it.
  • If it is a bad habit, write “-” next to it.
  • If it is a neutral habit, write “=” next to it

Implementation Intention

Creating a specific plan for when, where, and how to perform a new habit significantly increases your likelihood of success. Researchers call this an "implementation intention." It involves making a predetermined decision about when and where to act, simplifying the process and reducing the need for motivation. Use the Action/Time/Location Strategy to craft your plan:

  • Template: "I will [ACTION] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]."
  • Examples:
  • I will meditate for one minute at 7 a.m. in my kitchen.
  • I will study Spanish for twenty minutes at 6 p.m. in my bedroom.
  • I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. in my local gym.

Design your implementation intention to make habit formation clear and straightforward.

Habit Stacking Strategy

Habit stacking, a concept popularized by BJ Fogg, is about layering a new habit on top of an existing one. Your current habit acts as a trigger for the new behavior, simplifying the integration of new routines into your life. This technique is detailed in Chapter 5 of "Atomic Habits."

  • Template: "After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]."
  • Examples:
  • After I turn on the shower, I will do five burpees.
  • After I lay down in bed, I think of one positive thing from my day.
  • After I get in my car, I will take three deep breaths.

Create your habit stack by identifying daily routines and adding new, beneficial habits to them.

Habit Tracker

Habit tracking is essential for monitoring your commitment to your routines. The simplest form is using a calendar to mark off days when you adhere to your habit. For example, marking an 'X' on days you meditate or exercise. Over time, this visual representation forms a streak, motivating you to continue. Various methods exist for habit tracking, including wall calendars or custom sheets. The key is consistency and visual progress tracking, making habits obvious, attractive, and satisfying.


Day Habit 1 Habit 2 Habit 3 ... Notes
Monday X X ...
Tuesday X X ...
Wednesday X X ... Missed morning meditation
... ... ... ... ... ...
  • X marks a completed habit.
  • Leave blank for missed habits.
  • Add notes for additional context or reminders.