83 pages 2 hours read

James Clear

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 2018

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Chapters 15-17Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 5: “The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying”

Chapter 15 Summary: “The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change”

Consistency is key. Often, you know how to do things properly or how to improve, but the quest for improvement breaks down because you forget to implement what you know. To make things consistent, apply the 4th Law of Behavior Change: make it satisfying. For example, a public health worker named Stephen Luby travelled to Karachi, Pakistan, which had a dense population and poor public health conditions. Washing hands is one of the most important things in public health. Luby found that people were aware of the importance of handwashing, but many people washed their hands in haphazard fashions. Luby partnered with Proctor and Gamble to distribute Safeguard soap, a premium brand. The soap was more enjoyable for people to use, and quickly, disease rates fell. Six years later, 95% of the households given the Safeguard soap became habituated to the practice. The practice was enjoyable, which made it sustainable: “change is easy when it is enjoyable” (Chapter 15, 13).

Pleasure signals to your brain that you should repeat tasks. you live in a delayed return environment where most of actions take a long time to have the intended result. In prehistoric times, humans lived in immediate-return environments where the focus was on the present or near future.