Studies show that there’s correlation between human behavior change and immediate rewards. Receiving immediate rewards releases dopamine in our brains, which compels us to seek more of the activity at hand.
By itself this isn’t enough to form a habit, for that, the brain needs to be expecting the reward. We can apply this mind hack to books, by reading about topics that we can immediately apply to improve our lives.
We often start habits and drop them a few days later. To combat this, you can use triggers to remind you to practice the habit. Examples of triggers:
Studies indicate that the Zeigarnik Effect is real. It says you are more likely to recall uncompleted tasks than completed ones.
Knowing this pattern of our brains, we can trick it by forcing cliffhangers when we’re reading books. It’s hard to stop reading in the most interesting part but it will make you want to start reading again.
Our willpower is limited and, nowadays, deeply strained by resisting numerous distractions.
If reading requires your willpower, then doing it early in the morning gives you the best chance of doing it, as studies show that just after waking is the moment when the prefrontal cortex is most active (a key element to the creative process).
Taking small steps consistently is applicable to achieving most goals, as it allows us to gain momentum without overwhelming ourselves.
Start small and do it now. Then do it again tomorrow.
“When mastery is the goal, spending an exorbitant number of hours in one sitting will likely lead to burnout. We don’t go to the gym expecting to put on 20 pounds of muscle in a single, day-long workout. Instead, we do several short workouts a week, spread out over months. Our bodies need time to heal; our muscles time to grow. And the same goes for that muscle inside your skull. When trying to develop a new skill, the important thing isn’t how much you do; it’s how often you do it.”
“People still have the same self-control as a decade ago, but we are bombarded more and more with temptations. Our psychological system is not set up to deal with all the potential immediate gratification.”
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