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Of course, it might be difficult to commit without knowing more about it.
So below is an excerpt from the Blueprint. It is about the fourth element of the 4C Model of behaviour change: the Carrot, aka the reward for a behavior. Any habit needs this carrot. But this rewarding does not work in the way we think. Often we fail at habits because we design ineffective rewards. Below is an excerpt on how to create effective rewards that make new habits effortless.
How to create an irresistible Carrot
Self-help “gurus” love to say motivation is the key to changing your life.
This is true, and false.
The motivation to adopt a new habit is critical. But this is not about getting yourself all pumped up and enthusiastic, or ‘wanting it enough’. It’s not about the strength to push through the pain, or about grit, or any of that motivational speak.
🚀 Motivation is about dopamine.
What is dopamine - an in-depth explanation - included in the Blueprint, not featured here
The most common mistake is to confuse the goal of your habit with the motivation to do it. You might take up running to be healthier and live longer. But that is not motivation to actually go and run.
The goal of your habit is from the conscious System 2. But the execution is done by unconscious System 1. As such you cannot use that initial goal to motivate you.
You need to find a carrot that is appealing for your PaleoRobot, your unconscious System 1. One that creates high dopamine. Sufficiently high to motivate you to do the behavior.
To do this we need to define clear rules about the carrot and list types of carrots you can use to change your behavior effectively.
Rules for an effective Carrots
Your unconscious makes associations between events that happen at close times. It does not make associations with events that are separated in time.
Let’s see an example: if I save money this month, then I get a pampering spa session. This appears good, pampering spa is clearly dopaminergic. However it’s actually a bad Carrot because it’s separated in time from the habit. You save at one point and get the spa at another point in time. So this Carrot does not build a dopamine loop.
Another example: each time I save, I put on some fancy face cream I like. Assuming you like putting on this fancy face cream, this is a great Carrot. It creates a dopaminergic loop because you get the Carrot when you do the habit.
Notice in the examples that it’s not about the objective value of the Carrot. Pampering spa is more pleasure than putting on face cream. But that’s not important. What is important is the time association.
The Carrot needs to happen at the same time or immediately after the habit.
Often we seek abstract goals with the habits we choose to build. But we need to use concrete, palpable Carrots to build automatic habits.
Ideally the Carrot should be something you can feel with your senses. Something concrete, present in the material world.
The Carrot can also be something that is in essence abstract, if you visualize it as concrete. However this is very difficult to pull off well. There is effort to do the visualization. And you need to visualize something extremely rewarding for it to have an impact despite being imaginary.
Make the Carrot concrete.
You might think that having multiple carrots for a behavior is good. That more is better. But it is not. For the brain to create unconscious associations it needs to have the same elements the same every time: the same behavior for same Carrot.
The Carrot should be the same every time.
The Seven Types of Irresistible Carrots
Association with dopaminergic action
Change your unconscious story
The Blueprint goes on to describe in detail each of these seven types of irresistible carrots, and how you can create any of them for any habit. All, and everything else you would ever need to change any habit, in the Effortless Habits Blueprint:
If you have any questions and/ or feedback about this blueprint, just reply to this email and I will get back to you ASAP.