Creating a Habit: The Components of a Habit and How to Create Them
I’ve got bad habits. More accurately, I’m bad at creating good (productive) habits.
There’s a lot of talk these days about habits — how to create them, how to break them, and all sorts of things in between. But what are habits, exactly? And more importantly, how can you use this knowledge to create habits that will help you achieve your goals?
According to James Clear (Atomic Habits), habits are composed of:
cue (phone notification); craving (gotta check it…could be an emergency); response (you check it); reward (whew, no emergency…let me just check Twitter since I’m already on my phone).
Creating good habits just takes a little planning, but it’s doable.
Remember, we can’t rely on future self to make good decisions that don’t feel good. So we must plan. Let’s apply this to the goal of reading more books.
- Cue: Make it obvious. Place the book you’d like to read in a place where you’d normally sit down. If you sit on the living room sofa, place the book there.
- Craving: Make it attractive. Make it a game. Get on a reading streak. You restart the count every time you don’t read.
- Response: Make it easy to read. Set a timer for 25 minutes. All you have to do is sit there for that time and read. Or not. But you can’t do anything else.
- Reward: Place some “play” on the other side of the reading session.
Establishing productive habits isn’t easy. It helps to know what they’re composed of. It also helps to plan in advance. Our future selves will do anything to sabotage our hard work.
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