Law #1: Make Good Habits Obvious & Bad Habits Invisible
If you missed the first part of this blog, head over to the Intro.Every habit, both good and bad, is triggered by a “cue.” The cue is what triggers you to perform the habit. One of the best ways to build or break habits is to manipulate the cue. Two great ways to do this are:Habit Stack! Make a current habit a “cue” for a desired habit. Think about something you already always do and “stack” another habit onto it. This makes the cue for the desired habit super obvious - it’s a habit you already have.Fix Your Environment! Our most powerful sense is sight, so make the cues for your desired habits obvious and put the cues for your undesired habits out-of-sight.Below are some examples:
Good Habit: I want to drink more water every day.
Fix My Environment: Set out a water bottle on my desk every morning right next to my computer. Seeing it while I’m working will cue me to drink.
Bad Habit: I want to stop snacking on my son’s Oreos.
Fix My Environment: Move them to a separate cupboard in the kitchen along with other food I don’t want to be tempted by so I don’t have to see them every time I open the pantry.
Good Habit: I want to practice jumping rope every day.
Habit Stack: Set out my jump rope before I go for my morning dog walk. When I get back, set a timer for 10 minutes and practice.
Bad Habit: I want to stop going through the drive-thru every Friday afternoon for a milkshake on my way home.
Fix My Environment: Get off the freeway one exit earlier on Friday to avoid driving by the restaurant.
A final reflection from Atomic Habits on Law 1:“When scientists analyze people who appear to have tremendous self-control, it turns out those individuals aren’t all that different from those who are struggling. Instead, ‘disciplined’ people are better at structuring their lives in a way that does not require heroic willpower and self-control. In other words, they spend less time in tempting situations. The people with the best self-control are typically the ones who need to use it the least. It’s easier to practice self-restraint when you don’t have to use it very often.”Head over to the next page to read about Law #2.