Atomic Habits: Make It Satisfying (Part 5)

Let’s keep this habit going… see what I did there. We are now on Part 5 of the Atomic Habits book. Our book club has kept pace, and the engagement rate is still strong.

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

What does satisfying mean (in this context)?

“Satisfying” refers to the emotional payoff or pleasure we experience immediately after performing a habit. This satisfaction is crucial because it taps into the brain’s reward system, which helps to reinforce the habit, making it more likely to be repeated in the future. It’s a trick, but we are “trickable”. Our brains can know it’s a trick, and we still release dopamine. I get a lot of pleasure from finishing a blog post and hitting the big Publish button in WordPress.” I celebrate it with a listen to my favorite song from Filter.

The Fourth Law of Atomic Habits: Make it Satisfying

The fourth law is centered on the idea that people are more likely to repeat a behavior if they feel a sense of immediate satisfaction after completing it. This law taps into the human brain’s reward system, encouraging habits by making them enjoyable or short-term rewards.

  1. Using a habit tracker: This provides visual proof of your achievements, which can be inherently satisfying.
  2. Creating a loyalty system for yourself: Rewards after completing certain milestones can boost the gratification derived from a task.
  3. Making the benefits of good habits feel immediate: Even if the actual benefits take time to manifest, creating little immediate rewards can help reinforce the habit.

These strategies aim to leverage positive feelings and rewards to cement habits more firmly, countering the natural human tendency to prioritize immediate returns over long-term benefits.

Habit Tracker

Here’s a template that I use to track habits.

Habit Tracker Template

I like to use pencils and paper to track my progress. I grab my trusty Peper Mate SHARPWRITER #2 pencil and circle the month, write in the habit on the left, and fill in the dot as the month progresses. Ultimately, you have something physical and can clearly see when you miss a day. When you miss multiple days, the habit tracker smacks you in the face with that information. A trick to make it satisfying is to get some joy out of seeing unbroken chains. This is known as the mythical Seinfeld Method, which is not entirely true but a good story. Jerry has been reported to write jokes every day and actively tracks his streaks.

There are even more sophisticated habit trackers out there—ones with buttons, lights, switches, and flaps. Go for it if they will bring you joy. I can easily slip into being a gearhead, so I have learned to use what I have now and get joy out of using primitive tools. For me, it is an excuse to start when the thing arrives from Amazon instead of right now.

Checking In

How long can you go?

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