OP Mini Challenge – Habit Building

We host a Slack Community where the premium members of Octalysis Prime come together to support and learn from each other. The best way to learn is by putting your knowledge into practice. That is why we created the ‘Monday’s Mini Challenge’: One topic, three questions and many excellent answers from our Premium Primers!

The Question

“People often get a boost of motivation to start exercising when summer is around the corner. However, this is often short-lived and insufficient to maintain the new behavior.

After doing a daily action has become a habit, which usually takes around 60 days, it is a lot easier to sustain the behavior, how can you explain this using the Octalysis Framework?”

Habit Building – Reply from Alexandre Lim

Monday's Mini Habit Building - Profile Picture 2

Alexandre Lim is a software engineer from France and passionate about Gamification. He tackles the question using the Eight Core Drives:

“People often focus on what they want to achieve; outcomes in a limited time frame. This is mostly based on Black Hat and Extrinsic Core Drives (CD). Namely CD8: Avoidance, CD6: Scarcity, and CD2: Accomplishment. As a result they either burn out, or they stop due to a lack of urgency as soon as the time frame is finished.

It’s useful to leverage CD8, CD6, and CD2 at first to create the urgency to start building the habit. But to enrich the experience and sustain the behavior, we should add the intrinsic Core Drives CD3: Empowerment, CD7: Curiosity and CD5: Social Influence. A CD5 example would be having an accountability partner.

But I think the crucial Core Drive at play is actually CD4: Ownership. By repeating an action every day, unconsciously, we create a new identity (CD4). We don’t want to lose this identity (CD8), so the habit persists. As part of our identity, it’s becoming easier to sustain the behavior.

For example, my identity is centered around being a badminton player. If I had to stop playing after 20 years of practice, I’d likely go through an identity crisis. ”

Habit Building – Reply from Bo Ullersted

Monday's Mini Habit Building - Profile Picture 3

Bo is a teacher from Denmark and a long-time Octalysis Prime member with a steady record of great quality replies. Here he connects B.J. Fogg’s Behavioral Model and Daniel Kahneman’s System 1 and System 2 thinking to the question:

“It’s part of the B=MAP theory: when it becomes a habit, you automatically have a Prompt – you remember that this is the time you usually do this activity.

It also increases your Ability to do the action. For this reason, less Motivation is needed to do the action. Yu-kai even states that when something is a strong habit, motivation is needed to not do the action.

But why does our Ability increase when we build a habit? It has to do with System 1 and 2, from ‘Thinking, fast and Slow’. When we do stuff that are not habits, we need to spend mental energy on activating the ‘logical brain’, System 2. But habits can be run by our efficient, “intuitive brain”, System 1, which is our default mode.”

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