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Sheogorath's Blog

Breaking bad habits

Today I learned that habits are made of 4 key phases, according to the book “Atomic habits” by James Clear: cue, craving, response and reward. Taking one of them away or making it much more difficult, breaks the habit. From my personal experience the easiest thing is to take the cue away. Those are notifications on your phone, your notebook or simply a label in your room. Want to eat less chips, put them behind solid doors. Another way is to make the response harder. To stay with the chips example, this can be done, by putting a lock on the door or simply putting them in another room, especially when you have to pass by with your flatmate. And of course the reward can be taken away by only eating them with a sauce you dislike. Obviously for the chips example you can also just take them an not buy them at all, but watch out for shop designers, they play with our cravings and they put the hints exactly where they need to be.

I came across this due to a YouTube video I watched during lunch. Funnily enough, I encountered the same book again in another YouTube video later tonight. The video basically explained to me, why certain things I did from myself when I decided to quit Telegram back then worked that well. I had the habit of browsing Telegram for a few hours, I guess, per day which was rather annoying as there were some contact. The way I got rid of it, was turning off all notifications, uninstalling the desktop app and removing the mobile app from my home screen. This basically boiled my time spend on it down to a few minutes once a day. And after a few days not even that any more. Now I have an explanation, why this worked. Nice.

PS: If you have that book and can recommend it, please let me know. Because either it is really good, currently trending or they are doing YouTube marketing and I haven’t decided yet which of those options apply.