WATCH: How to Use Your Brain Chemistry to Make a Change

Today, I’d like to talk about the ‘Second Law of Behaviour Change’. Especially, when it comes to habits. And that is ‘Make It Attractive’. This is all from James Clear in his great book, Atomic Habits, which I highly recommend. And, he talks about the second law of behaviour change being make it attractive, so, that the brain seeks newness and novelty.

“The Brain Loves Novelty”

‘The Brain Loves Novelty’. And, food scientists have been taking advantage of us for many years with regards to making us eat and want and crave new foods. Which are you know fantastic sensations on the palate, combinations of flavours and textures that make us want to eat more. Even when we’re full. Because the brain just loves that newness and loves that combination of different flavours and textures. So, they’re taking advantage of our primal brain in that.


“Dopamine – Action”

You can do the same with habits and developing new habits by using ‘Dopamine’ which is something that helps you take ‘Action’. In order to do the new thing. Because dopamine kicks in when we say I’m going to anticipate a reward. And if you have a clear enough reward that you’re going to get, once you’ve done your habit, you’ll actually have dopamine. And, dopamine kicks in energy. Gives you energy and motivation, in order to do the thing, the new habit, in order to get the reward. So, the more attractive you can make it, the more your motivation will rise.


“Linking a Want to Need”

And, a great example of this is a guy called Ronan Byrne, who was an engineer. He loved Netflix but he also knew he wasn’t very fit. So, he wanted a combination. He wanted to combine his ‘want’, his desire for Netflix to the ‘need’ for exercise. And, what he did was he built a bicycle. And the bicycle was geared to a generator, which powered up the screen to watch his Netflix. So, he utilised this very effectively in that he knew he wanted to watch the movies. He knew, he needed to exercise. And, by anticipating what’s going to happen next in the movie, he was cycling fast enough, in order to see what’s going to continuously happen next. So, he was using the dopamine as a motivator. And, that worked really well for him.

So, I’m going to ask you to think about where you want to create a new habit. How can you make it attractive? So, that you get that dopamine which energises you in order to take action and develop that new habit.

So, when it comes to developing habits’ think about ‘Making It Attractive’. And above all, Stay Curious!



With best regards,

David Klaasen

Talent4Performance help business leaders clarify complexity. We inspire people and drive continuous performance improvement, so they can convert thinking into action and results.

©David Klaasen – 2014