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The effects of small habits compound over time.

They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. A slight change in your daily habits can guide your life to a very different destination.

Making a choice that is 1% better or 1% worse seems insignificant in the moment, but over a lifetime these choices determine the difference between who you are and who you could be.

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To form habits, you must make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.

  1. Make it obvious. Don’t hide your fruits in your fridge, put them on display front and center.
  2. Make it attractive. Start with the fruit you like the most, so you’ll actually want to eat one when you see it.
  3. Make it easy. Don’t create needless friction by focusing on fruits that are hard to peel. Bananas and apples are super easy to eat, for example.
  4. Make it satisfying. If you like the fruit you picked, you’ll love eating it and feel healthier as a result!

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A habit tracker is a fun and easy way to ensure you stick to your new behaviors

The idea is simple: You keep a record of all the behaviors you want to establish or abandon and, at the end of each day, you mark which ones you succeeded with. This record can be a single piece of paper, a journal, a calendar, or a digital tool, like an app.

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All habits are based on a four-step pattern, which consists of cue, craving, response, and reward.

All habits are based on a four-step pattern, which consists of cue, craving, response, and reward.

When it comes to habits, James suggests that the environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. That’s why a prompt is always the first step in performing any habit.

  • Cue. A piece of information that suggests there’s a reward to be found, like the smell of a cookie or a dark room waiting to light up.
  • Craving. The motivation to change something to get the reward, like tasting the delicious cookie or being able to see.

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To form habits, you must make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. 2

  • Response. Whatever thought or action you need to take to get to the reward.
  • Reward. The satisfying feeling you get from the change, along with the lesson whether to do it again or not.

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Habit stacking

  • Meditation: After I pour my cup of coffee each morning, I will meditate for one minute.
  • Exercise: After I take off my work shoes, I will immediately change into my workout clothes.

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Motivation is overrated — environment often matters more

Designing your environment for success
Stop thinking about your environment as filled with objects. Start thinking about it as filled with relationships. Think in terms of how you interact with the spaces around you.

The power of context also reveals an important strategy: habits can be easier to change in a new environment.

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CURATED BY

tanoseihito

Writing everything on how to live a better life.

Curious about different takes? Check out our Atomic Habits Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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