Good habits are attractive

up:: Habits MOC The Second Law of Atomic Habits. If you want a habit to last, make it satisfying.

From the book:

The Second Law: Make it attractive

Summary: Habits happen because we predict they will give us a pleasant outcome. Just the anticipation of the reward is powerful.

Build good habits by making them attractive and break bad ones by making them unattractive. This can just be a change of mindset.


  • Temptation bundling: Combine a habit you need to do with a habit you want to do
  • Join a culture where your desired behaviour is the normal behaviour

Chapter 8: How to make a habit irresistible

Dopamine is a powerful motivator. When receptors were blocked in rats, the rats didn’t want ro do anything and ultimately starved to death.

The anticipation of a reward releases more dopamine than the reward itself. This is “craving”.

Our civilization is filled with supernormal stimuli. Fat, sugar, salt were essential to survival ageons ago, now they’re overcharged versions. So is advertising, any unnatural food and so on.

Temptation bundling: connecting a habit to a reward we want. Eg. watching Netflix while working out. We can connect this to habit stacking: After I brushed my teeth, I can read in the evening. Over time brushing teeth, the habit, gets associated with the reward, reading. This way we can supercharge any habit with the reward of supernormal stimuli.

Chapter 9: The role of family and friends in shaping your habits

The culture around us shapes which habits are attractive to us

The culture we live in determines the habits that are attractive to us. There was a Ukranian man who was convinced that all it takes for a genius to be made is hard work. He raised his three children with chess all around them. Each of them broke records, becoming the youngest grandmasters of all time. In an environment where playing chess was normal, he habits of playing chess were formed.

There are three areas of social influences:

  • The close: The people around you shape your habits. Conciously or non-conciously. If one partner looses weight, so does the other usually.
  • The many: The group exerts a pull.
  • The powerful: People imitate the powerful to get what they want.

The application here is to be mindful of the influence of our social surrounding. Sometimes it is helpful and can be actively chosen. If I am around passionate Christians, I will become like them. Sometimes it is harmful and we must change circumstances or persevere.