50 Life-Changing Atomic Habits Quotes By James Clear

Sarah Rexford
October 01, 2023 | 11 mins

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Atomic Habits quotes are powerful because of the amount of truth and inspiration packed into them. If you’ve heard the name James Clear, you’re likely familiar with his grounding Atomic Habits book, and therefore, Atomic Habits quotes. 

In this article, I share some of the top quotes from his business book to inspire your own goals, systems, and ultimately, habits.  

What is a good quote from Atomic Habits?

Good Atomic Habits quotes are ones that don’t just inspire you but inspire actual change. Read through the 50 quotes below and consider writing down the top few you most resonate with. 

Put the different Atomic Habits quotes on sticky notes and place them around your house or apartment. When you see one, take a moment to consider how you can put it into practice and most importantly, take time to do so. 

Atomic Habits quotes to take note of

Here is an extensive list of Atomic Habits quotes to help equip you for your author journey. 

1. “Some people spend their entire lives waiting for the time to be right to make an improvement.”

This quote is paramount to creating real change. For example, if you want to learn how to write a motivational book or how to write a self-help book but never sit down to write because it’s “not the right time,” the improvement won’t happen. 

2. “Every action you take is a vote for the person you wish to become.”

Every time you set a good example for yourself, you become a little bit more like the individual you hope to be. Want to be a great author? Give yourself examples of writing goals by completing the goals you want to achieve. 

3. “Your actions reveal how badly you want something. If you keep saying something is a priority but you never act on it, then you don’t really want it. It’s time to have an honest conversation with yourself. Your actions reveal your true motivations.”

Short story contests are a great way to gain valuable feedback on your writing. Do you want to become a great author? Take small actions that align with your ultimate goals. 

4. “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis.”

It’s the small moments that create far-reaching change. Even the best fictional detectives exemplify this by choosing to pay attention to small details! So should authors. 

5. “I knew that if things were going to improve, I was the one responsible for making it happen.”

Create an inspirational board for writers for just the amount of incentive you need to improve. 

6. “We put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.”

Do you have a story you want to share? Are you wondering how to write about serious topics? Make one small improvement. Individually, they all add up to great improvement. 

7. “You get what you repeat.”

Have you ever wondered what is an antihero? Antiheroes embody this term because of repeated, negative actions. The exact opposite is true for heroes. 

8. “Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy.”

Essentially, the more time you spend doing something good, the better. The more time you spend on bad habits, the more you act as your own enemy. 

9. “The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.”

Don’t forget to focus on the identity you want to embody over simply the goal you want to achieve. 

10. “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”

Atomic Habits quotes reiterate the importance of healthy habits over time. Despite its brevity, don’t miss this quote!

11. “A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a different destination.”

Just as a compass just one degree off will land you in an entirely different location, Atomic Habits quotes show us how this is also true for habits. 

12. “The process of building habits is actually the process of becoming yourself.”

Who do you want to become, and what habits will it take to get you there? Which of these Atomic Habits quotes most contribute to who you want to be? 

13. “Quite literally, you become your habits.”

Enough said? 

14. “Atomic habits are the building blocks of remarkable results.”

I love Atomic Habits quotes because they focus on the small, every day actions we can each take. What building block should you work on today? 

15. “Unfortunately, the slow pace of transformation also makes it easy to let a bad habit slide.”

The mindset of “just this once” can create bad habits before you know it. Don’t let slow growth discourage you from the power of small change.

16. “It’s the accumulation of many missteps, a 1% decline here and there, that eventually leads to a problem.”

James Clear’s Atomic Habits quotes hit the nail on the head once again. Big problems start with small, bad choices. 

17. “The most practical way to change who you are is to change what you do.” 

If you want to become a successful author, you must write. If you want to be a marathon runner, you must start with that first step. 

18. “We often seem to dismiss small changes because they don’t seem to matter very much in the moment.”

Imagine how much you could accomplish if you committed to writing one paragraph of your book every day? When to write a novel vs novella would no longer be a question you need to ask. Over time, you might even have enough for a trilogy! 

19. “The more you think of yourself as worthless or stupid or ugly, the more you condition yourself to interpret life that way.”

Our thoughts drastically impact our perception of ourselves and therefore, how we interpret life. 

20. “We are so focused on figuring out the best approach that we never get around to taking action.”

Let’s say you want to create two of the best relationship tropes for your work-in-progress, but spend all your writing time researching tropes. Research matters, but action brings change. 

21. “The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.”

Your system is the steps you take to reach your goal. To achieve your goal, put this Atomic Habits quote into practice.  

22. “Once your pride gets involved, you’ll fight tooth and nail to maintain your habits.”

Out of these 50 Atomic Habits quotes, this one hits on something we all have: pride. Involve your pride in the right habits and you may just become unstoppable. 

23. “Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”

Just as the little moments between partners often establish the overall health of a relationship, the same is true for habits. 

24. “When we repeat 1% errors day after day by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalising little excuses, our small choices compound into toxic results.” 

One missed day of writing is permissible, but if you miss “just one day” every day, your identity as a writer shifts. Instead of being an author, you quickly become an aspiring writer.

25. “Your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits.”

Just as sleep debt catches us at the worst time, so do the results of our bad habits. Atomic Habits quotes often call out the obvious facts we tend to overlook. 

26. “We think we need to change our results, but the results are not the problem. What we really need to change are the systems that cause those results.”

Do you have 10 or 11 book launch ideas that could grow your sales? Create a system that supports your goals so you can achieve them. 

27. “The whole principle came from the idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improve it by one percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

One percent of improvement in 100 areas adds up. 

28. “The task of building a good habit is like cultivating a delicate flower one day at a time.”

If you dream of your book landing on the New York Times bestseller list, slow, careful work is a must. The same applies to various other habits.

29. “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

Do you want others to think of you as a reader? Every time you read books like atomic habits, you live into this identity more and more.

30. “Making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over the span of moments that make up a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be.”

Choices compound. 

31. “What you crave is not the habit itself but the change in state it delivers.”

Living a healthy lifestyle yields a healthy life. The lifestyle may feel boring at times, but if you desire overall health, the habits that lead you to the goal are worth it.  

32. “Goals are good for setting a direction but systems are best for making progress.”

“I want to be an author,” is a goal. “I will write for one hour every morning,” is a system.

33. “Bad habits repeat themselves again and again, not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change.”

Imagine you want to wake up and not look at your phone immediately. If you use your phone as your alarm, you use the wrong system to achieve your desired habit. What system can you implement to help you achieve your goal?

34. “The most powerful outcomes are delayed.”

Writing a book starts with putting one word on the page over and over again. Eventually, the outcome emerges. 

35. “Fix the inputs and the outputs will fix themselves.”

A more common way of saying this is, “you are what you eat.” But Atomic Habits quotes make it sound so much better. 

36. “Habits matter because they help you become the person you wish to be.”

This may stand as the core theme of all these Atomic Habits quotes. People build habits to become who they desire to be.  

37. “In the early and middle stages of any quest, there’s often a valley of disappointment.”

James Clear uses his Atomic Habits quotes to remind his readers that even the biggest goals include some level of disappointment. This is normal. Don’t let it deter you. 

38. “True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking.”

If you primarily focus on goals, rather than the systems you should use to reach those goals, you do yourself a disservice. 

39. “Outcomes are about what you get. Processes are about what you do. Identity is about what you believe.”

Out of all the Atomic Habits quotes, let this one sit with you for an extra moment.

40. “Success is the product of daily habits, not once-in-a-lifetime transformation.”

Asking for book writing help once can help you in the moment, but habitually asking for feedback creates lasting transformation. To become a successful author, use daily habits.

41. “Bad habits can cut you down just as easily as good habits can build you up.”

Read the above once more. 

42. “Forget about goals and focus on systems instead.”

To reach success, you must change your focus to actionable systems rather than simply dreaming about goals. Are you aiming to publish a book that connects with the world and inspires, with the added bonus of financial freedom? Then dive into research, craft outlines, and build your daily writing routine.

43. “Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it.”

Time doesn’t pull any punches. If you fill your time with healthy, atomic habits, they will compound. If you do the opposite, the inverse is also true.    

44. “If you want to predict where you’ll end up in life, all you have to do is follow the curve of tiny gains or tiny losses and see how your daily choices will compound 10 or 20 years down the line.”

Annie Dillard once said it this way, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” 

45. “Mastery requires patience.”

These three words stand out among Atomic Habits quotes. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. 

46. “The outside world only sees the most dramatic event, rather than all the work that preceded it.”

Typically, there is no such thing as an overnight success. There is such a thing as atomic habits compounding until one night, you reach the goal. What others see as an overnight success is often the final culmination of years of hard work. 

47. “Learning one new idea won’t make you a genius but committing to lifelong learning can be transformative.”

The American school system has 12 grades because learning a new idea once can’t create much change by itself. Guided learning for more than a decade transforms students. 

48. “If you can get 1% better each day for one year, you’ll end up 37 times better by the time you’re done.”

Let that sink in.

49. “Too often we convince ourselves that massive results require massive action.”

There’s a reason authors use repetition in writing. Repeating ideas allows readers to remember the lesson. The same applies to action. Writing one sentence won’t make you a bestselling author, but writing the best sentence you can, every time you write, might. Small choices matter.

50. “Small habits helped me fill my potential.”

To end the list of Atomic Habits quotes, remember the importance of micro changes.

Listen to our interview with James

How to use Atomic Habits quotes 

Reading through these 50 Atomic Habits quotes is only as helpful as you choose to make it. The purpose of these Atomic Habits quotes is not to simply inspire you but urge you to take action.

Instead of reading through the list and walking away, choose one or two of these Atomic Habits quotes and work to implement them into your daily life. 

Are you an aspiring author? Remember James Clear’s quote that “mastery requires patience.” Choose to be patient with yourself as you join online writing classes or write your first draft.

Thomas Edison could have given up when his first 999 attempts to create the lightbulb didn’t work. One more try though, one atomic change, created the success he dreamed of. 

To help you on your author journey, access Chandler Bolt’s free eBook below. Start writing your book today, create healthy systems, and achieve your goals!

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