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in: A Man's Life, Habits, Personal Development, Podcast

January 2, 2019 Last updated: January 15, 2019

Podcast #470: A Proven System for Building and Breaking Habits

It’s a new year and if you’re like millions of people around the world, you’re likely making goals to create some new habits or to break some bad ones. But if you’re also like millions of people around the world, your attempts at making and breaking habits will usually fail after just a few weeks of flailing effort, and you’ll probably think your lack of willpower is to blame.

My guest today argues that it isn’t truly a lack of willpower that’s holding you back from your habit goals, it’s the tactics you use for reaching them.

His name is James Clear, he’s the author of the book Atomic Habits, and today on the show, he walks us through how to make habit formation and habit breaking much easier by crafting optimal systems for behavior change. We begin our show discussing the misconceptions people have about habits and the 4-step process of habit formation that tracks the 4 laws of behavior change. James then suggests specific ways to make good habits more attractive and easier to obtain while making bad habits less attractive and easier to shake. We end our conversation discussing why you should take into account your unique personality when you craft your habits.

Show Highlights

  • What James Clear learned about habits from a life-threatening injury
  • Why you should strive for very small changes in your life
  • Why we actually shouldn’t give habits more power than they really have
  • Big misconceptions people have about making and breaking habits
  • How long does it really take to build a habit?
  • The difference between identity-based habits and outcome-based habits
  • How to come up with habits that reinforce your identity
  • Why “fake it until you make it” only works as a short-term strategy
  • The 4 stages of habit-building (and why James added to Charles Duhigg’s now classic model)
  • Why perceptions, expectations, and anticipation are more likely to guide our actions than actual rewards
  • The 4 laws of behavior change that correspond with the stages of habit building
  • How 1-2 small tweaks can radically change your habits
  • Making cues more obvious (or invisible) with environment design  
  • How to watch less TV
  • Why most people work way harder than they need to in habit formation/breaking
  • How do you make things that are good for you more attractive?
  • Clear’s two-minute rule
  • Why taking advantage of your laziness is actually a great strategy
  • Making rewards more immediately satisfying
  • Taking your own personality into account so that your habits work for you rather than against you

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With James

James’ website

James on Twitter

James on Instagram

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Recorded on ClearCast.io

Podcast Sponsors

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Read the Transcript

Coming soon!