WATCH: Want to Develop a New Habit? Make it Easy

Today, I’d like to talk about the ‘Third Law of Behaviour Change’ according to James Clear in his fantastic book ‘Atomic Habits’, which I highly recommend. And, the third Law is ‘Make It Easy’.


“Reduce Friction”

Because the easier it is to actually get into developing a habit, the more likely you are to actually create that new habit. So, you have to ‘Reduce Friction’ and it’s useful to think about ‘Hebb’s Law’. So Donald Hebbs, was a Neurophysicist back in 1949 who discovered that, actually, ‘Neurons That Fire Together’, Wire Together’. So the more you use a particular set of neurons and they fire together, they actually build and bundle and wire together. So that it becomes an ‘Automatic Habit’. It becomes an automatic sequence.


So, for example, musicians who play a particularly complex or many different complex combinations of chords and notes, actually, build a strong wiring in their brains. And even in studies they can be seen to have their Cerebellum is bigger or larger and better connected than in non-musicians. Because they’ve practiced and they put in the ‘Repetitions’. Because building a habit is not about how much time it takes to build a habit. It’s about how many repetitions you put in. And that’s why all great masterful athletes, musicians and the like practice a lot. And repeat and repeat again, and again. Because in the beginning, it’s very difficult to repeat something. And there’s a lot of challenge and you need to be able to reduce the friction by making it easy for yourself, to be able to do that practice. So that it gets easier as you go along. And then at a point ‘B’, it’s still a challenge. You still need to put in a lot of effort, it’s not quite automatic yet but you’re putting in the repetitions.


“Habit Line”

And, then as you put in more repetitions you get above that ‘Habit Line’, you get to ‘Automaticity’, where you’re able to automatically do one thing and it leads to another that gets you the reward. And also, you know reduce friction with the ‘2 Minute Rule’ is another great tip from James Clear. Because that means that if you even want to start a new habit, just do the very first beginnings of it, lay out your kit and start the conversation. Plan a little bit to be able to just begin it. And that creates that drive, that desire to do more. So, the less friction is to getting started, the easier it is to follow through. And then get that wiring of your brain in the right way.

So think about ‘Making It Easy’ with new habits 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


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