What's the Best Way to Make a Habit? Comparing Seven Different Approaches | Scott H Young - Deepstash

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What's the Best Way to Make a Habit? Comparing Seven Different Approaches | Scott H Young

scotthyoung.com

The basic process for building all habits is basically the same: you repeatedly condition the behavior you want, over time, until it becomes automatic.

But no habit starts out automatic; there’s a deliberate period, where you must consciously apply yourself to make a certain ...

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2 main ways you can condition a habit:

  • Classical conditioning: a paired association with a trigger and a behavior. Going to the gym after you wake up each morning is this kind of habit.
  • Operant conditioning: you not only associate a trigger with a behavior, but you reward th...

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The 30-Day Trial

You commit to some change for 30 days, then tou can go back to your old ways. But having spent thirty days applying a new behavior is often enough to convince you to stick with it.

Pros:

  • Can handle more significant/difficult behavior changes you might be unli...

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Don’t Break the Chain

Keep track of how many days in a row you’ve successfully followed your habit. As your chain gets longer and longer, you become increasingly committed to the habit.

Pros:

  • Maintains habits over a longer timeframe than a 30-day trial.
  • Better for thing...

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Never Miss Twice

The goal is to do it every day (if possible) but if you miss a day, you must do the habit the following day.

Pros:

  • Easier to keep up for longer stretches with harder habits.
  • Easier to handle on an irregular schedule.

Cons:

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Pretraining

It means practicing the habit a bunch of times in an artificial situation so that it occurs more automatically in real life.

Pros:

  • For when you think you won’t be able to consciously control your reaction in the real situation without practice.
  • When

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Project-Driven Habits

Ignore the process of creating habits altogether and simply focus on a project that will force them to occur.

Pros:

  • You can often change multiple habits at the same time with less overhead. 
  • Help you be flexible about adopting and dropping habits

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Tattletale Tactics

This strategy works by deputizing others to enforce your habit for you.

Pros:

  • No formal rules or mechanisms are required, just the social pressure from the outside.
  • If you find yourself constantly breaking your own commitments, this may be the only

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Identity-Driven Habit Changes

Avoid thinking about changing a habit, but instead think about changing your self-conception.

Pros:

  •  “I’m a healthy person now,” for example can trigger eating better, exercising more and quitting smoking and drinking all at once.
  • If successful, these...

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