People who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.
I will [NEW HABIT] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]
After I [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]
MORE IDEAS FROM THE BOOK
"Success is not a goal to reach or a finish line to cross. It is a system to improve, an endless process to refine."
The 1st law (Cue)
Behaviour that is incongruent with the self will not last. You might start a habit because of motivation, but the only reason you'll stick with one is that it becomes part of your identity.
The more pride you have in a particular aspect of your identity, the more motivated you will be to maintain the habits associated with it.
If you are proud of how your hair looks, you'll develop all sorts of habits to care for and maintain it.
Changing your identity is a two-step process:
Ask yourself: Who is the type of person who could get the outcome I want?
You can break a habit, but you're unlikely to forget it. And that means that simply resisting temptation is an eneffective strategy.
To eliminate a bad habit, reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.
"When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do."
Instead of trying to engineer a perfect habit from the start, do the easy thing on a more consistent basis.
The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus. Make it easy to start and the rest will follow.
If the Two-Minute Rule feels forced, try this: do it for two minutes and then stop. The secret is to always stay below the point where it feels like work.
The human brain evolved to prioritize immediate rewards over delayed rewards.
Our preference for instant gratification reveals an important truth about success: because of how we are wired, most people will spend all day chasing quick hits of satisfaction. The road less traveled is the road of delayed gratification.
Add a little bit of immediate pleasure to the habits that pay off in the long-run and a little bit of immediate pain to ones that don't.
The vital thing in getting a habit to stick is to feel successful - even if it's in a small way.
Never miss twice
Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new habit.
Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just manageable difficulty.
The greateast threat to success is not failure but boredom. We get bored with habits because they stop delighting us. The outcome becomes expected.
Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.
Implement a system of continuous small improvements.
True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking
The 4th law (Reward)
We will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work.
Reduce the friction associated with good behaviours:
Increase the friction associated with bad behaviours:
We tend to adopt habits that are praised and approved of by our culture because we have a strong desire to fit in and belong to the tribe.
We tend to imitiate the habits of:
Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. You'll rise together.
Even better if you already have something in common with the group. Nothing sustains motivation better than belonging to the tribe.
The process of building a habit can be divided into four steps:
We are less likely to repeat a bad habit if it is painful or unsatisfying.
Create a habit contract:
Make the costs of your bad habits public and painful.
If you want to master a habit, the key is to start with repetition, not perfection. When you're in motion, you're planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don't produce a result. You're just preparing to get something done. The most effective form of learning is practice, not planning.
Instead of asking "How long does it take to build a new habit?", you should ask:
"How many does it take to form a new habit?"
A small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do.
Every habit is initiated by a cue, and we are more likely to notice cues that stand out.
People make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result, and decide to stop. But in order to make a meaningful difference, habits need to to persist long enough to break through this plateau.
If you find yourself struggling to build a good habit or break a bad one, it is not because you have lost your ability to improve. It is often because you have not yet crossed the Plateau of Latent Potential.
The 3rd law (Response)
It is the anticipation of a reward, not the fulfillment of it, that gets us to take action. It is the craving that leads to the response.
Temptation bundling: It consists of linking an action you want to do with an action you need to do.
After I [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT]
"Can one coin make a person rich? If you give a person a pile of ten coins, you wouldn't claim that he or she is rich. But what if you add another? And another? And another? At some point, you will have to admit that no one can be rich unless one coin can make him or her so.
We can say the same about atomic habits. Can one tiny change transform your life? It's unlikely you would say so. But what if you made another? And another? And another? At some point, you will have to admit that your life was transformed by one small change."
Mastery is the process of narrowing your focus to a tiny element of success, repeating it until you have internalized the skill, and then using a new habit to advance to the next level of performance.
Habits + Deliberate Practice = Mastery
Life is constantly changing, so you need to periodically check in to see if your old habits and beliefs are still serving you.
A lack of self-awareness is poison. Reflection and review is the antidote.
We are more likely to repeat a behaviour when the experience is satisfying.
The consequences of bad habits are delayed while the rewards are immediate. With good habits, it is the reverse: the immediate outcome is unenjoyable, but the ultimate outcome feels good.
"The costs of your good habits are in the present. The costs of your bad habits are in the future"
The 2nd law (Craving)
It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often, we convince ourselves that a massive success requires massive action.
We often dismiss small changes because they don't seem to matter very much in the moment.
Success is the product of daily habits.
Create a commitment device:
Is a choice you make in the present that controls your actions in the future and increases the odds that you'll do the right thing.
"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it-but all that had gone before."
Once our habits become automatic, we stop paying attention to what we are doing.
You need to be aware of your habits before you can change them.
The Habits Scorecard is a simple exercise to become more aware of your behaviour, by creating a list of your daily habits and categorizing them by how they will benefit you in the long run.
Habits are easier to perform, and more satisfying to stick with, when they align with your personality and skills.
Trial and error:
As you explore different options, there are a series of questions you can ask yourself to continually narrow in on the habits and areas that will be most satisfying to you:
The best way to start a new habit is by Implementation Intention.
It is a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act. That is, how you intend to implement a particular habit.
The format for creating an implementation intension is :
“When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”
A habit is a routine or behavior that is carried out repeatedly and most of the time automatically.
When you are faced with a problem repeatedly, your brain starts to automate the process of solving it. Your habits are sets of automatic solutions that solve the problems you come across regularly.
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