The internet has become a great source of inspiration and motivation for a lot of people. The way people’s attention is drawn on the streets by a biker wearing a Star Wars motorcycle helmet, the same way some motivational speakers draw more attention than others.
If you search the internet for experts in habit formation, probably the first person that will come to you will be James Clear. If you haven’t heard of him before, you should know that he is the author of the bestseller ‘Atomic Habits’. If you are a non-fiction enthusiast, you have most probably heard about or already read this book.
What is James Clear’s work field?
James Clear was a baseball player that had an accident that made him struggle with health problems for more than one year after the accident. That is when he discovered the importance of habits and, ever since then, he observed and studied how habits work and are formed and came up with a few strategies about habit formation that he details in his book.
He has been writing articles about habits on his blog for several years now and he can be called an expert in this field. Everyone who wants to know more about habit formation has to explore his ideas.
What are the theories that he is most famous for?
James Clear started to write Atomic Habits long after he became an expert. At first, he had written about 1000 pages, but he shortened the book to a little more than 250. One of the main ideas that this book is built around is that a 1 percent improvement a day every day of the year can lead to an improvement of 37.78 percent after one year.
Following this idea, Clear teaches his readers how to implement new habits and how to be consistent. He says that there are 4 laws of behavioral change that can help you improve your habits.
A habit is an action that we perform often enough for our brain to make it automatic. At first, it is a conscious action that can make you a little bit uncomfortable, but, after enough repetition, your brain transfers it to your subconscious and you won’t have to think about performing it.
Clear also says that there is no such thing as people who do not have enough will power. There is just the issue of not having a good plan to turn some behavior into habits. He offers some solutions and strategies to do that, strategies that he himself has applied to his life and have worked well.
The 4 rules of habit formation according to James Clear
The first one says that if you want to form a new habit, you have to make the clue that leads you to perform it more visible. It is best to relate the habit to an older habit you already have. So if you want to develop a habit of squatting, you can perform 10 squats right after you wash your teeth in the morning. So the clue is washing your teeth.
In the formation of a new habit, there always has to be a craving. This is the second law, the craving has to be attractive. If you want to have great glutes, you should squat every day. To make the craving more attractive, you have to imagine having the perfect glutes and to really want it.
The response, the third law, is that the desire of having great glutes has to get you to do something about it and actually engage in doing the squats. The response has to be easy to accomplish. If you set a goal of doing 40 squats a day, you will end up quitting because the activity will be too hard to do. So start small.
Finally, the fourth rule says that you have to get a reward after you perform the habit. This will make your body release dopamine and be more consistent with your habit. For example, every time you do 10 squats you can put 10 dollars in a jar that you can save to buy more books. Find a way to make it fun.