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August 10, 2019

The 4 Steps to the Habit Loop in �Atomic Habits� by James Clear

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The Habit Loop can be separated into 4 parts which are Cues, Cravings, Responses, and Rewards.

The cue is the trigger that starts the entire process. Our behaviors are very responsive to our environment, so for that reason it is very important to control the cues we surround ourselves with. To make cues more effective, the trick is to make them obvious. If you want to read more at night, put your book on your pillow. There is no confusing what your intention was and that cue will remind you to read when the time is right.

Next are cravings. Cravings are the sense of anticipation you feel after experiencing the cue. What has only recently been understood is that cravings provide a spike of dopamine greater than the spike you receive when actually doing the behavior. This makes cravings extremely influential when it comes to our habits and behavior.

And next is the response. This is the behavior or action taken as a result, or response, to the cue and craving. If there is a certain positive behavior you want to take action on more often, the best thing you can do is make that action easy. It limits the friction you feel when performing the behavior and will help you execute on it more often. For example, if you’re training for a half-marathon, just focus on putting your running shoes on. It’s an easy action to take, and once you’ve made it that far you are much more likely to continue on go for a run.

And last is the reward. The reward is the mechanism that determines whether or not you should do the behavior again.  And given that our brains are still operating in evolutionary mode, we must remember that our perception of reward is limited and best summarized as this, "that which is immediately punished is avoided".

Atomic Habits has been for me one of the best reads I’ve had in years. I highly suggest you pick it up and check it out for yourself!

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