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Unlocking the power of prompts for habit formation

Prompts are all the rage these days - with generative AI taking the world by storm. There is another type of prompt. It's one that deals with any behavior and habit formation. Here, a prompt is a cue / signal / trigger that reminds you to do a particular behavior. For example: Your phone ringing is a prompt to answer your phone, your laptop showing the low battery icon indicates that you need to charge your laptop, and a red light at a traffic signal denotes that you stop your vehicle. There are 3 types of prompts - Person prompts (something within you reminds you to do the behavior), Context prompts (something in your environment signals you to do the behavior), and Action prompts - an already existing behavior / routine / habit that can remind you to do the new desired behavior. Of all the 3, Action prompts are the most reliable when trying to create habits. This is because there are already numerous prevailing routines and habits that you have which you can leverage to create new habits. If you want to start a habit of exercise, you can use your existing habit of brushing your teeth. Similarly, you can use the habit of unlocking your laptop after lunch to create a learning habit, or the routine of waiting for the elevator - to start a habit of gratitude. Action prompts are powerful companions on the path to behavior change and creating as well as sustaining habits. Where I've seen people falter is choosing a good Action prompt but starting big. I can't stress enough on the importance of starting small to make behaviors sustainable. So, remember to choose prompts that work for you and start small. Here's what your Tiny Habits Recipes could look like: 1) Exercise - After I brush my teeth, I will do 2 jumping jacks. 2) Learning - After I unlock my laptop post lunch, I will spend 5 minutes learning something new / doing an online course. 3) Gratitude - After I press the elevator button, I will think of 1 thing / person I'm grateful for. What Action prompts can you think of from your own life?


Image: MicroStockHub @ Canva

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