Law 3: Make Good Habits Easy & Bad Habits Difficult
Human behavior follows the Law of Least Effort. We will naturally gravitate toward the option that requires the least amount of work. We can manipulate this law by doing two things:
- Reduce or Increase Friction! Decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits and increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits.
- Automate Your Habits! Invest in technology or a one-time action that locks in your habits.
Below are some examples:
Good Habit: I want to start running in the mornings.
Reduce the Friction: Set out your running clothes and shoes the night before. This reduces the number of steps you have to take in the morning before you head out.
Bad Habit: I want to stop watching TV at night to get to bed earlier.
Increase the Friction: You could move the TV out of your bedroom. Or even try unplugging the cable box instead of just turning the TV off. This will make it more cumbersome to turn back on because you’d have to wait for the box to boot back up.
Good Habit: I want to eat more whole foods.
Automate Your Habit: Join a CSA that sends you a box of fruits and vegetables at a regular interval.
Bad Habit: I want to stop overeating when I go to parties or other events.
Increase the Friction: Get the smallest plate you can find and after adding to it stand far away from the food. You’ll find it more cumbersome to keep going back to refill your plate.