Believe it or not, habits make up a large percentage of our daily behaviour. They can be good or they can be harmful. In fact, according to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, they define who we are as people – including our success or lack thereof. Most notably, James Clear tells us that “when we learn to transform our habits, we transform our life”.
The Science of how habits work
James Clear breaks habits into 4 distinct functions that can help us understand how to change them. These functions are:
- Cues – the triggers that initiates the behaviour
- Cravings – the motivation behind each habit
- Responses – the thoughts or actions you have
- Rewards – the goal of the habit
Ultimately, these 4 functions create a neurological feedback loop. The cue triggers a craving (or a need), which motivates a response (the action), which satisfies the craving (the reward) and ultimately becomes associated with and reinforces the cue.
The Four Laws of Behaviour Change
James Clear goes further than breaking habits into an understandable process. He gives us some actions we can take to ultimately change our habits. He calls them the Four Laws of Behaviour Change and they provide a simple set of rules for creating better habits and breaking bad ones.
To create good habits, ask yourself:
- How do I make the cue obvious?
- How do I make the craving attractive?
- How do I make the response easy?
- How do I make the reward satisfying?
To break a bad habit, James Clear tells us to invert the Four Laws:
- Make the cue invisible
- Make the craving unattractive
- Make the response difficult
- Make the reward unsatisfying
These laws aren’t exhaustive and they work best when adapted to your needs.
The power of habit activation
According to Social Psychologist and friend of Treysta, Bridgette Di Ferdinando, goals and habits work in unison. You cannot achieve a goal without activating the right habits. Once habits have been articulated, you can work to create the right behaviour around it by using a tool like Implementation Intentions. Habit activation is the precursor to succeeding in your goals.
You can hear what Bridgette has to say on this topic via a short video clip on our Instagram page.
Taking things to the next level
Now that we understand a little more about the importance of changing our habits to allow new goals to succeed, we can use implementation intentions to make them more successful.
But how do you choose the right goals? At Treysta, we specialise in helping you make financial decisions and set financial goals that align with your values so you can build the life you desire. If you want to make financial decisions that support you well into the future, get in touch by calling 02 9241 2575 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.