Build, Understand, Rebuild, Smooth Sailing (Atomic Habits Book Review)

The October Lines and Squares Photograph Challenge is moving right along (here). 

Here is my entry for today:

This sunrise photo brought a smile as a new day was upon us….


Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?

That happened to me again this weekend. 

Erica, the host of Behind the Scenery blog (here) likes some of the nonfiction authors that I have been reading.  We learned this while I was over at Book Club Mom’s blog (here).

Then, in Erica’s recent post – she shared about some books she read while camping – I told her about Atomic Habits (2018) by James Clear.

She told me that she went and put the book on hold and they said it would be “available in 111 days.” Then she shared that number one’s have had a significant role in her life – starting when her granddaughter was born on 1-11. (And don’t you love learning about the special symbols or patterns that people have? I find it inspiring – and reminds me of the spirit and soul side of humanity.)

So anyhow, on Saturday morning, I was up early – grabbed a cup of coffee  – then reached for Atomic Habits. My husband said, “Don’t lose my spot…” and when I opened it – guess what? 

He was stopped right at page 111. 

So I smiled and knew I had to tell Erica.

Then I realized I needed to post about the book – because maybe some other readers will enjoy tips from this AWESOME book. 

Here are my top takeaways from Jame Clear’s Atomic Habits book:

  1. You can set yourself up for more success by learning about four areas that underpin behavior: cue, craving, response, and reward.
  2. You need to identify the way you have formed different “cues and cravings” and then see how the “response and rewards” connect to that behavior.  
  3. The cues and cravings relate to the “problem phase” and the response and rewards relate to the “solution phase.”
  4. Learn how to PRIME your environment so it is ready for immediate use for what you need it to be used for next. Priming an area can impact your mood and actions – priming is called “Resetting the room”  – and this allows you to clean up after the last action in your life and then prepare for the next action with less friction.
  5. There will be less friction and more action for the things you want to get done if you reset the room.
  6. When consequences are severe – and painful – you will learn quickly
  7. Bad habits can be eliminated when there is a painful consequence and if there is an instant cost to that action.
  8. Bad habits are repeated because they “serve us” and we can reduce this need meeting serving us role if we add “some friction to the behavior” and increase “the speed of punishment” with the behavior to help end it.
  9. Want more success creating new habits? Make the behavior attractive, easy, and satisfying. And maybe use a habit tracker to measure progress
  10. As humans we are diverse, but also so alike when it comes to some of the ways we change or create habits.

Clear’s blog:

Amazon link: Atomic Habits

Four Minute Books review of Atomic Habits here


I want to wind down this post by sharing some photos that tie into the theme of creating or changing habits.

BUILD: Sometimes in life we carefully build – we plot the structure and plan what we want. We give things care, attention, and work with excellence.
UNDERSTANDING LAYERS: Sometimes things in life are NOT so clear. And this is why James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, is so helpful. He writes with simplicity and with short chapters he educates us. I was reminded how some human behavior is murky  and very individual – yet many times we all share the same behavior modification principles. We just need better understanding about “why” so we can “modify” and create. 
DUMPING: Sometimes in life we need to clean house and just get rid of the shit.
RECYCLING: Sometimes we need to pack up the baggage and send it off for recycling. Not everything can or should be sent to a landfill (mentally blocked out). Some life experiences get recycled –  repurposed – to make us stronger. Past experiences can get worked through and then used to shape and sculpt. Often this is the only way you get all that seasoning – depth – steel – and helps you release demandingness!
SMOOTH SAILING: Better phases in life do come. Sure, we can talk about changing habits and we can talk about cleaning up the mess – but let’s also talk about the sweet days that come when we “arrive” – or when we reach a goal. Our work days off! It does. and so let’s not be so quick to dismiss the delicious wave that just came our way from a bit of effort or hard work. Let’s learn to embrace — and deeply feel — the “contentment of maturity.”  


Build – Understand – Rebuild – Smooth Sailing (then repeat)


Okay – so have you read Atomic Habits? Does it sound like a book you would enjoy?

Or better yet, do you have any books – nonfiction of fiction –  that recently inspired you? 

I have a few more books to hopefully share about this month –

and so see you again soon with another post.


#prior house blog










51 thoughts on “Build, Understand, Rebuild, Smooth Sailing (Atomic Habits Book Review)

  1. I always enjoy a good rear or side view mirror shot…as long as you weren’t actually driving. 🙂 I haven’t read the book, but just put it on hold. I’m only 25 of 25, though, not 111th, which is good for me. From what you shared, it sounds like a number of good ideas/reminders. One bit you shared reminds me of the old saying:

    Golden Rules for Living

    If you open it, close it.
    If you turn it on, turn it off.
    If you unlock it, lock it up.
    If you break it, admit it.
    If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
    If you borrow it, return it.
    If you value it, take care of it.
    If you make a mess clean it up.
    If you move it, put it back.
    If it belongs to someone else and you want to use it, get permission.
    If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
    If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions.
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
    If it will brighten someone’s day, say it.
    If it will tarnish someone’s reputation, keep it to yourself.

    When I go from one room to another, I always try to take along anything that needs to be taken back to that second room and then put it away or at least leave it in the proper room until I have time to do so. Then I do the same in reverse. Makes a big difference for such a small action.

    Time for breakfast, so I wish you a very good day!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet – thanks for adding in the golden rules for living – I read it twice and knew many of the lines – but seeing it together was rich.
      and no… I was not driving – I was sitting at a long ol’ red light….


  2. I like the “contentment of maturity” idea and find that I’m embracing it more often than not. Don’t know if that’s a sign of growth + good habits, but I’ll take it. Better than being at loose ends all the time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Ally- well I have followed you on and off for a while now (not sure why the off period came – but I guess that happens when we blog – eh? – ) anyhow, I have followed you enough to get a feel for things to say that I think you ABSOLUTELY have that contentment thing down –

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am curious how you felt when you ran into the same number (111).. Statistically it should be rare. It seems there is some “entanglement” involved here as physicists around the world observed at quantum level and human’s consciousness may have something to do with it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi YC – I did not feel that much when I opened it to page 111 – not too much at all – but thought it was super cool how it connected to what Erica had recently shared. and actually, I have had stuff like this happen before – like once when I heard a lady share that she always found dimes when God was trying to reach her – I saw dimes for a month straight – and I kept thinking of her inspiring story – in fact – I still do at times.

      and not sure if you watched Breaking Bad – but there was part of the story that the girl that Jesse was dating died (drug OD) and then her dad made a mistake at work that caused a plane to crash – and when you mentioned the rarity of my hubs being on page 111 – it reminded me of when “Walt questions the statistical improbability of both meeting her (Jane) and talking to her father on the same night, despite never having met either beforehand.”

      Liked by 1 person

    2. and just for fun – another way to look at the chances of my opening to page 111 were not that rare –

      I had a
      1 to 319 odds for getting that page.

      Probability of:
      getting that page = (0.0031) or 0.3125%
      Not getting that page= (0.9969) or 99.6875%

      “Odds for”landing there: 1:319

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just amazing sunset photo in the car mirror – I thought it was amazing at the top of the post, but turning it off and on and making it B&W was incredible … I had to take a second look, much like I did for the makeshift moving van – I hope they didn’t lose their load.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oops – it is gorgeous Yvette … I am not near a vista where I can enjoy a sunset or a sunrise … sadly, it is not really safe around here anymore to be out in the dark to go somewhere alone where there are no houses or buildings obliterating the view.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Yvette, I had major goosebumps appear when reading your post. Serendipity? Synchronicity? Or like you say “the special symbols or patterns that people have?” I don’t have the answers. I just feel I need to stop and pay attention.

    Of course, I had to enlarge the print and carefully read page 111. Now, I don’t know whether I can wait 111 days to read this book.🙂

    Really interesting top takeaways. I like how you highlighted some of the pages in this book. Every page contains interesting and doable gems. My challenge is removing/recycling/donating/sharing the extra “stuff” around my home. Your post, your great photos, and this book will help with strategies to deal with the stuff.

    Thank you for the very kind mention in this post, Yvette.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. /Users/erica/Desktop/”Atomic Habits” 111’s/Image-1.jpg. Hi again, Yvette, I have not tried adding an image to a reply before. I had taken a screenshot of the library hold page since I found it interesting. I don’t know whether it will show up here. Feel free to delete it if the result is odd:) Have a great week!


      1. well cool – but it did not show up – try this
        upload it to your media in the blog
        then select edit image
        and you should get a file URL
        it is that file URL that should show up – or give an active link
        (and looking forward to it)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for your patience with me. It became a challenge and I ended up with different variations of the link, showing a page of my entire media page, even when I had only the one photo on my page. I will spend more time in future. Fun, yet, always something new to learn:) By creating a draft of a new post, I could add the screen shot resulting in new URL Thanks again, Yvette!


        2. it arrived- woo hoo –
          and the talking to strangers books looks to interesting – did you review it or mention it on your blog at all? If you do – let me Know and I will come and check it out

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Hi Yvette, I just checked my “Hold” list and it says “Talking to Strangers” “Available in 365 days” Huge lol! What is not too funny? How fast a year can go by. In the meantime, I have lots of books available and on a want to read list. I cannot imagine how many books you read, Yvette. Sometimes the “holds” arrive faster, depending on when the book is returned in cyberspace. Have a great week!


        4. Hi – well it is a great idea to reserve these – rather than buy them all. My hubs buys a lot of used books – for great prices – but I need to check in to having some put on hold. and did you know that we also have a used bookstore across town where books are fifty cents. Yeah baby!
          and I got this reading idea from Rock Warren (years ago) when he said that he skims a book and then decides if he wants to read it all. I do that too – and about half the time I only skim the book and get more than enough. Not sure if that is ideal but it works fro non-fiction, which is mostly what I read. I might start reading more fiction later – but I guess I am where I am…

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I am with you, Yvette, how I read mostly non-fiction. When camping I often indulge more in fiction. I began the e-library reading only a few years ago. I don’t feel I have to read the book if I find it isn’t my thing, since I didn’t purchase the book. I also have been finding surprising gems on the e-library. I still buy books, especially when I know I will likely refer back to them. Have fun with your walking. I know you will surpass your goal, Yvette🙂


        6. Thanks for your patience with me, Yvette. I tried various ways to get the URL and it would end up showing my entire media page, even when I had only the one screenshot on the edit page. I will look further into this in future. Fun, yet always something new to learn:) I ended up adding the screenshot to a draft to get an URL. Thank you again!🙂


        7. I am enjoying the process here too – both links you sent did not work so I deleted them –
          when you upload an image – to the right there should be “edit more details”
          and that brings you a new spot with the file URL

          Liked by 1 person

        8. I think I was making it harder than it is. I know you are an awesome, Mom, Yvette. Your patience is amazing! 🙂 (I am on Grandma duty today, just saw your message:)

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Erica – thanks for the nice comment – and I do love when things like this happen –
      and I like how you said
      “I don’t have the answers. I just feel I need to stop and pay attention.”

      and the funny thing about the book is that it is NOTHING really new…
      it is just the way the author presented the info – and then clearly explains behavioral theories – and how behavior is reinforced. As much as I liked the book – I think you have other things to read until it comes – like I liked it – a lot – but – well you know …

      Liked by 1 person

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