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Quit bad habits such as smoking, eating fried food and reading German (I'm kidding, meine deutschen Freunde)
Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero

Recurrer and Atomic Habits – Chapter Seventeen

The seventeenth chapter of James Clear’s Atomic Habits talks about eliminating bad habits. The chapter proposes that you can accomplish this by making bad habits unsatisfying.

There are many ways to make a bad habit unsatisfying, of course, but the most effective and drastic way of doing this is to get a trusted person to enforce a negative punishment if you fall back into the bad habit. This punishment can take whatever feels most unpleasant to you, but monetary punishments tend to get the job done.

Here’s how you can make this process work in Recurrer. Identify the bad habit you want to make unsatisfying – for example, spending time on Facebook. Then follow the Atomic Habits guideline of identifying a trusted friend to inflict a particular punishment on you if you slip back into that habit. For example, if you spend more than fifteen minutes a day on Facebook, they can use your PayPal account to donate money to a political party you despise.

Then you put into Recurrer the following task: ‘send proof of non-Facebook use’. Tweak this task to match the rules you’ve set up with your trusted friend. Maybe you have to send a screenshot of your screen time summary once a week, showing less than 15 minutes per day on average for Facebook. In that case, you’d set up a weekly recurring task. A hard task – with seven days as both minimum and maximum (unless, of course, you’ve negotiated some flexibility with your friend).

Repeat this for as many bad habits you want to break, taking into consideration both the number of friends you have and the amount of money you have.


Try Recurrer for free from the App Store now.

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