Engineering Habits with James Clear's Four Laws of Behavior Change

Uncategorized Oct 22, 2020
 

How do you take a new habit from aspiration to automatic?   For many of us, this is one of the biggest questions we have as we seek to build up a set of positive daily practices that will carry us forward in our journey towards more joy and more impact across all the areas of our lives.  And most of us know that relying on sheer willpower is not a winning formula!

This post walks through a key framework from James Clear's research into the science of habit formation--the "four laws of behavior change" that he lays out in his outstanding book Atomic Habits.  

Clear explains that any habit, positive or negative has four components

1. Cue

2. Craving

3. Response

4. Reward

And he posits that the best way to make a positive behavior stick is to engineer each of these four components in a particular way.

  1. Cue: Make it obvious
  2. Craving: Make it attractive
  3. Response: Make it easy
  4. Reward: Make it satisfying

The reverse is true for habits that you want to drop:

  1. Cue: Make it invisible
  2. Craving: Make it unattractive
  3. Response: Make it difficult
  4. Reward: Make it unsatisfying

This post goes on to explore Clear's "four laws" within the context of the model of human psychology that we use throughout the Joyful Impact framework, drawing out some additional insights you can apply as you engineer your way to a more positive daily routine.

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