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Lesson 1: All habits are based on a four-step pattern, which consists of cue, craving, response, and reward.

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Lesson 1: All habits are based on a four-step pattern, which consists of cue, craving, response, and reward.
In 1776, Adam Smith laid the foundation of modern economics in his magnum opus, The Wealth of Nations. One of his most famous observations is that, in a free market system, all workers naturally maximize their own society’s welfare, even if merely acting in their own best interest:
“…he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”
When it comes to habits, James suggests that environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. That’s why a prompt is always the first step in performing any habit. It may not always be external, but, most of the time, it will be. Then, three more stages follow to complete the four-step pattern:
Cue. A piece of information that suggests there’s a reward to be found, like the smell of a cookie or a dark room waiting to light up.
Craving. The motivation to change something to get the reward, like tasting the delicious cookie or being able to see.
Response. Whatever thought or action you need to take to get to the reward.
Reward. The satisfying feeling you get from the change, along with the lesson whether to do it again or not.
There are several popular methodologies that try to predict how and why we do what we do, such as Charles Duhigg’s habit loop, Gretchen Rubins four tendencies, or BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits behavior model. James offers a more refined version of what Duhigg described in The Power of Habit and while all of these approaches are different, none of them are mutually exclusive.

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