A Beautiful Guide to Habits: Resources and Science

This is just a round-up of my favorite resources about creating and maintaining good habits.

A habit has 3 parts:

  1. The cue
  2. The routine
  3. The reward

It’s really hard to break a bad habit, but you can replace the routine with something else that gets you the same reward.

For example, if you get stressed out (cue) and go eat a snack (routine) to feel better (reward), you could replace the snack with something else that makes you feel better, like a cup of tea, a walk around the block, or calling a friend.

If you want to start a new good habit (routine), you need to give it a solid cue. For example, if you want to start doing sit-ups, your cue might be going to the bathroom. Every time you go to the bathroom (cue) you do three sit-ups (routine).  The cue doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be something you’re already doing.

Measure what matters.

Studies show that we pay more attention to what we measure (kind of obvious). So if you want to be more mindful of something, like a habit, you need to track and measure it.

It also helps to schedule things; actually putting an appointment on the calendar to go to the gym might help you achieve it.

Finally, having support and accountability are key. Finding a friend, accountability partner, or group of like-minded people will help you achieve your goals.

Habits 101

  • Focus on physiological fundamentals because a) you have limited willpower and b) they will have the biggest long-term impact.
  • Identify one keystone habit that will MOST improve your life, and start there.
  • Make a 100% commitment for a set period of time.
  • Make it a daily habit.
  • Make it easy to win (tiny habits). Allow yourself to suck. Doing one push-up every day is better than 50 a day that you never do.

“One who has a clear and strong why can endure almost any how.” —Nietzsche