Environmental Design is a Great Substitute for Willpower

Willpower is not an effective long-term strategy for behavior change because it is inconstant. When we are stressed-out, tired, and hungry our willpower will leave us vulnerable to any temptations we encounter. Fortunately for us the more committed we are, the less willpower we will need. Shaping your environment will shield you from temptation.  By removing the temptations that reward bad habits, we can extinguish them without exerting our willpower. It doesn’t require willpower to shape our environment. It requires commitment. Continue reading Environmental Design is a Great Substitute for Willpower

basic habit loop

A Practical Framework for Behavior Change

He reverses these four laws to break a bad habit.  Make the Cue invisible, the Reward unattractive, the Routine harder to execute, and the Reward unsatisfying. He does a fantastic job of providing practical suggestions on how to accomplish each law.[i] James Clear’s book complements Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit helps us to understand habits, but it isn’t a manual for behavior change. Atomic Habits fulfills that role, providing actionable strategies in a simple to follow format. This book has an even narrower focus. It seeks to combine the strategies of behavior change with tactics designed to produce a leaner fitter body. “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Sun Tzu Continue reading A Practical Framework for Behavior Change

The Relationship between Habits & Identity

Behaviors that are incongruent with our identity don’t last. I would argue that if they persist, they will change our identity. At that point, the two will realign themselves. A simple litmus test for determining if a habit is good or bad is the resulting identity it produces. If the habit is a vote for the type of person you want to become, it is a good habit. If it doesn’t, it isn’t. 

Identity and habits work in a push-pull manner. We can harness the power of identity to adopt a more disciplined lifestyle. Continue reading The Relationship between Habits & Identity

IDENTITY EMERGES FROM OUR HABITS

Our identity is born of habit. Our beliefs about ourselves emerge from our routines. The behaviors we exhibit repeatedly define our character. The definition and etymology of the words habit and identity provide insights into the relationship between the two. Webster’s definition of a habit is a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition. The word habit is derived from the Latin habitus meaning condition. A habit is, therefore, a conditioned pattern acquired through repetition. The definition of identity is the sameness of character in different instances. Identity derives from the Latin identidem meaning repeatedly, again and again. Later it was abbreviated to idem, meaning sameness. Our identity is our sameness of character in a variety of circumstances.  Continue reading IDENTITY EMERGES FROM OUR HABITS

Different Thinking – Different Results

When people fail to change, they blame their willpower. Willpower is the scapegoat of people that needlessly subject themselves to temptation. No one has enough willpower to subject themselves unnecessarily to temptation. If you examine the environment of disciplined people, you will discover they engineered it to eliminate the need to exert willpower. They don’t have more willpower. They avoid the need to use it.  Willpower is an ineffective change strategy. Shaping the Path, on the other hand, is very effective. Commitment eliminates the need for willpower. When we shape our environment correctly, we discourage bad habits. We remove temptations and make good habits the default by making them easier to do, and bad habits more difficult. The more committed we are to shaping our environment, the less willpower we’ll need. The best way to change your life is by changing something you do each day. Change your habits, change your life! Nothing is stronger than habit. Continue reading Different Thinking – Different Results