Activation EnergySep 07, 2021
One rule, the “20-Second Rule,” is a positive psychology principle introduced by Shawn Achor. Achor wanted to begin playing guitar but three weeks after committing to his habit, he realized he had only played four times.
Realizing something was amiss, Shawn took his guitar from the closet and placed it in the middle of his room. Three weeks later, he noticed he hadn’t missed a single day of playing. By conveniently putting his guitar in plain sight, he decreased the “activation energy” required to start his new habit.
What was different? The guitar was right in front of him, and not tucked inside his closet, 20 seconds away. Now that he learned how his brain
worked, Shawn knew he could trick his brain the same way his brain had tricked him.
To introduce a new habit, we need to decrease the activation energy for 20 seconds (make it as convenient as possible to start a new habit), and to avoid an existing habit, we need to increase the activation energy for 20 seconds (make it inconvenient to continue the existing habit).
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