Good Habits Should Be Satisfying

The “No, Sh*t, Sherlock” law of behavior change is still a necessary one.

Yi Shun Lai
Forge

--

tri-color dog jumping through a hoop
Photo by Andrea Lightfoot on Unsplash

James Clear’s Atomic Habits lays out the way that tiny changes can contribute to lasting behavior change. In other words, micro-movements you make in your schedule, your life, and even the way you talk to yourself can help you to build good habits that last a lifetime.

The first three laws and their inversions — Make It Obvious/Invisible; Make It Attractive/Unattractive; Make it Easy/Difficult — make total sense to me. This last one, though, feels like a big “no, dur” moment, but that’s only because of the way my brain works: “Satisfaction” feels like a summation of “Obvious, Attractive, and Easy”; whereas making something “unsatisfying” is just basically a lot of punishment, and I’m not into that.

very sad, morose squashed-nose dog. Pekingese? I think so.
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Perhaps this is due to my own life experience. I’ve never once had anything work for me when I’ve been punished for not doing a thing. I’ve only ever been satisfied when I’m rewarded for something.

Clear says you have to make things bleed in order for it to count as an effective punishment, and for me, that just keeps me away from…

--

--

Yi Shun Lai
Forge

Author: A SUFFRAGISTS’S GUIDE TO THE ANTARCTIC (2024), Pin Ups (2020). Former columnist, The Writer. theGooddirt.org Psst: Say “yeeshun.” You can do it!