Habits are not a finish line to cross but a lifestyle to live. -James Clear
It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements daily.  And we often call that moment an overnight success whereas the hard work by done the person is not visible to anyone. The same goes with habits. Habits are the Compound interest of self-improvement. Getting 1% better every day counts for a lot in the long run.
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This can be a difficult concept to appreciate in daily life. If you go to the gym three days in a row, you're still out of shape. We make a few changes, but the results never seem to come quickly and so we slide back into our previous routines. Unfortunately, the slow pace of transformation also makes it is easy to let a bad habit slide. If you eat an unhealthy meal, the scale doesn't move much.
Habits serve us by conserving mental energy. By forming a habit, the brain frees itself to do other things by avoiding active deliberation.
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You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your system.

Shaping your Identity:

  • Many people begin the process of changing their habits by focusing on what they want to achieve. This leads us to outcome-based habits. The alternative is to build identity-based habits. With this approach, we start by focusing on who wish to become.
  • For example, If you are on a diet and someone offers you food then don't control your emotions of not eating it, instead think about what would a healthy person do in this situation and act accordingly.
  • 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.

The Two step process to changing your identity:

  1. Decide the type of person you want to be.
  1. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

How to Build Better Habits in 4 Simple Steps:

1. Cue :

  • The cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior.
  • It is a bit of information that predicts a reward.

2.Craving

  • These are the motivational force behind every habit.
  • Without craving a change we have no reason to act.
  • What you crave is not the habit itself, but the change in state it delivers.

3. Response

  • The response is the actual habit you perform.
  • Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are and how much friction is associated with the behavior.
  • It sounds simple but a habit can occur only if you are capable of doing it.

4. Reward

  • These are the end goals of every habit.
  • Rewards serve two purposes: 1. they satisfy us and 2. they teach us.
The Cue triggers a craving, which motivates a response, which provides a reward, which satisfies the craving and ultimately, becomes associated with the cue.

The Four Laws of Behavior Change

The First Law (Cue) → Make It Obvious
The Second Law (Craving) → Make It Attractive
The Third Law (Response) → Make It Easy
The Fourth Law (Reward) → Make It Satisfying

1. The First law - Make It Obvious

  • The Best Way to Start a New Habit : Implementation Intention is a plan you make beforehand about when and where to act.
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I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]
Eg : I will meditate for one minute at 7 A.M in my living room.
  • Many people think they lack motivation when what they lack is clarity.
  • The goal is to make the time and location so obvious that, with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time, even if you can't say why.
  • One of the best ways to start a new habit is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack a new behavior on top. This is called "Habits Stacking".
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After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]

Motivation is Overrated; Environment Often Matters More

  • People often choose products not because of what they are, but because of where they are.
  • Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior.

How To Design your Environment For Success

  • If you want to make a habit big part of your life, make the cue a big part of your environment.
  • By sprinkling triggers throughout your surroundings, you increase the odds that you'll think about your habit throughout the day.
  • Environment design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your life.
  • Self control is a short term strategy, not a long term one.

2. The Second law - Make It Attractive

  • Habits are a dopamine-driven feedback loop.
  • Dopamine is released not only when you experience pleasure, but also when you anticipate it.
    • Eg: cocaine addicts get a surge of dopamine when they see the powder, not after they take it.
  • Temptation Bundling is one way to apply a psychology theory known as Premack's Principle which states "more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviors."
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      1. After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]. 2. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].
    • Eg: If you want to check Facebook, but you need to exercise more:
        1. after I pull out my phone, I will do ten Burpees (need).
        1. After i do ten Burpees, I will check Facebook (want).
  • One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where
      1. your desired behavior is normal behavior and
      1. you already have something in common with the group.
  • If a behavior can get us approval, respect, and praise, we find it attractive.

3. The Third law - Make It Easy

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Walk Slowly, but never Backward
  • Being in Motion
    • When you are in motion, you are planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don't produce a result.
  • Taking action
    • Action is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.
  • It doesn't feel good to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen. And that's the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.
  • In a sense, every habit is just an obstacle to getting what you really want. Dieting is an obstacle to getting fit. You don't want the habit itself. What you really want s the outcome the habit delivers.
  • The idea behind makes it easy is not to only do easy things. The idea is to make it as easy as possible at the moment to do things that pay off in the long run.
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The Two-Minute Rule states that "When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do."
  • The idea is to make your habits as easy as possible to start. A new habit should not feel like a challenge. The action actions that follow can be challenging, but the first two minutes should be easy.
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The point is to master the habit of showing up. A habit must be established before it can be improved.

4. The Fourth law - Make It Satisfying

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What is rewarded is repeated. What is punished is avoided.
  • If you are willing to wait for the rewards, you will face less competition and often get a bigger payoff.
The last mile is always the least crowded.

How To Stick With Good Habits Every Day

  • One of the most satisfying feelings is the feeling of making progress.
  • A Habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you did a habit.
  • Tracking can become its own form of reward. It's satisfying to cross an item off your to-do list etc.
    • The first mistake is never the one that ruins you. It is the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows.
    • Never miss two days in a row.
    • The all or nothing cycle of behavior change is just one pitfall that can derail your habits
    • The dark side of tracking a particular behavior is that we become driven by the number rather than the purpose behind it.
    • When we choose the wrong measurement, we get the wrong behavior.

Advanced Tactics

  • The human brain loves a challenge, but only if it is within an optimal zone of difficulty.
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The Goldilocks Rule states that 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 right.
  • Once a habit has been established, however, its important to continue to advance in small ways. These little improvements and new challenges keep you engaged.
  • The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. We get bored with habits because they stop delighting us.
  • Professionals stick to the schedule, amateurs let life get in the way.
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Embrace the Plateau.
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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 this new habit as the foundation to advance to the next frontier of your development.
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I highly recommend everyone to read this book as it contains a lot of actionable steps and tools for helping you to start.
I have implemented the above frameworks in my routine and have seen a significant change
 
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