Golden Rule of Habit Change


A method of habit change. Rather than trying to eliminate the cue and/or the reward of a habit, the undesirable routine in a habit is replaced with an emotionally positive or neutral routine. To successfully execute the Golden Rule of Habit Change, the substituted routine must be capable of producing the reward of the previous routine. In this sense, the habit is being modified rather than extinguished.


Even if it’s not explicit, Alcoholics Anonymous employs the Golden Rule by forcing their members to do three things:

1) List all your cues
-What makes you drink? Where? What? When?

2) Search for and list rewards
-Aside from the chemically induced high, how does drinking benefit the abuser? Socially? Emotionally? Physically?

3) Find a routine that gets you a similar reward without the downsides
-Exercise? Meetup groups? Religion?

4) Replace the drinking routine with a new routine

The goal is to re-shape the behavior associated with drinking rather than attack drinking head on


Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

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