Four laws of behaviour change

Tags: Habits Health Change Management Human Behaviour

In Atomic Habits James Clear outlines his four laws of behaviour change. To successfully adopt a new habit, one should

  • Make it obvious: Design obvious cues that act as reminders to engage in the new habit. For example, pack your gym bag and put it in a spot that is visible when you wake up in the morning.
    • See Stack habits to improve long-term adoptionStack habits to improve long-term adoption
      Tags: [[Habits]] [[Health]] [[Change Management]] [[Human Behaviour]]

      Habits have a higher adoption rate when they are driven by strong cues.

      See the first of James Clear's [[Four laws of beh...
      . Associating a new habit with an ingrained one can act as a powerful cue and improve adoption.
  • Make it attractive: Make the habit desirable so that they become associated in our brains with a reward. For example, link the new habit with some other pleasurable activity. Only watch a tv show you like when you are on the treadmill.
    • See Design environments to facilitate desired behavioursDesign environments to facilitate desired behaviours
      Tags: [[Change Management]] [[Human Behaviour]] [[Habits]] [[Human Behaviour]]

      Willpower is unreliable when it comes to adopting new behaviours or actions. However, willpower can be supplemented i...
  • Make it easy: The habit should be easy to achieve.
    • See Small incremental change often outperforms large-scale changeSmall incremental change often outperforms large-scale change
      Tags: [[Health]] [[Change Management]] [[Habits]] [[Human Behaviour]]

      Taking small, incremental steps toward a desired outcome is often more effective over the long-term than large, herculean effo...
      : The new behaviour should be something that can be completed in a short time with minimal effort.
  • Make it satisfying: The habit should produce some immediate reward and certainly not feel like a punishment.

The inverse of these laws can be applied to an undesirable behaviour to help eliminate bad habits.


Clear 2018