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Read Atomic Habits & Discuss

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Chapter 7: The Secret to Self-Control

Once a habit has been formed, the urge to act follows whenever the environmental cues reappear.

Bad habits are autocatalytic: the process feeds itself. They foster the feelings they try to numb. You feel bad, so you eat junk food.

Researchers refer to this phenomenon as “cue-induced wanting”: an external trigger causes a compulsive craving to repeat a bad habit. Once you notice something, you begin to want it.

You can break a habit, but you’re unlikely to forget it.

In the short-run, you can try to overpower temptation. In the long-run, you become a product of the environment that you live in.

“I have never seen someone consistently stick to positive habits in a negative environment.”

The best strategy to eliminate bad habits is to cut off at the source. Reduce exposure to the cue that causes it.

For example:

  • Can’t get any work done? Leave your phone in another room for a few hours

  • Watch too much television? Move the TV out of the bedroom

Rather than make it obvious, make it invisible. Remove a single cue and the entire habit often fades away. Self-control is a short-term strategy, not a long-term one.

People with high self-control tend to spend less time in tempting situations. It’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.


We will read and discuss (in the group) "Atomic Habits" by J...
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