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A stable environment where everything has a place, and a purpose is an environment where habits can easily form.” James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Change agents often find that what appears to be a people problem is a situation problem. They know the best way to change people’s behavior is by changing their environment. The Second Rule of Behavior Change, Shape the Path, makes behavior change happen naturally.
Instead of relying on workers following proper procedures, safety engineers install guards and controls to prevent workers from taking shortcuts. They know that it is easier to tweak the environment than force compliance. Likewise, we can tweak our environment to foster good habits and discourage bad ones.
Continue reading “ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER”
The Four Laws of Behavior Change developed by Atomic Habits’ author James Clear is designed to encourage good habits by reinforcing each component of the habit loop:
Cue: Make it Obvious
Craving: Make it Attractive
Routine: Make it Easy
Reward: Make it Satisfying
He reverses these four laws to break a bad habit. Make the Cue invisible, the Reward unattractive, the Routine harder to do, and the Reward unsatisfying. He does a fantastic job of providing practical suggestions for changing your habits.[i] James Clear’s book complements Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit helps us understand habits, but it isn’t a manual for behavior change. Atomic Habits answers that need. I have a narrower focus; combining behavioral science with exercise science to transform your body. Continue reading FIVE RULES FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE
“Most people are in favor of change, as long as they can continue to do things the same as they always have.”
What you are going to learn:
- Why Habits are so powerful and potentially dangerous
- The four components of the habit loop
- How a better understanding of habits can help us improve them
- Why it is a mistake to blame our willpower
Change is difficult, but we are all capable of change. Our lives are continually changing, learning to drive, marriage, babies, new job responsibilities, and new technological tools. Initiation is the most challenging phase because it is mentally exhausting. Learning a new skill requires our cerebral cortex to do the heavy lifting, but as the new task becomes routine, the more resilient basal ganglia take over. The action becomes easier and easier. Our conscious brain goes on autopilot, and our actions flow. You undoubtedly experienced this when you were learning to drive. In the beginning, it required your total concentration, but now you can drive, adjust the cabin temperature, tune the radio, and carry on a conversation.
Continue reading “WHY HABITS CAN BE DIFFICULT TO CHANGE – BUT DON’T HAVE TO BE”
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
An effective strategy for behavior change needs to address one or more of the components of the habit loop. The more of them you engage, the better your chances of success. The most effective strategies encourage or discourage the habit at the beginning. You won’t reinforce a craving if you remove the temptation or cannot perform the habit. You cannot make the Reward of a good habit more satisfying if you do not do it.
The First Rule of Behavior Change, Shrink the Commitment, is the most effective way to create a good habit. Shrink the new behavior down so small in the beginning that even on your absolute worst day, you could keep your habit streak alive. We don’t rise to the level of our aspirations; we sink to the level of our standards. Set the bar so low, you cannot fail, but remember that bar is a minimum requirement. You can always do more when you feel motivated to do so, but never less. Continue reading The Five Rules of Behavior Change: