5 tips to build habits you won't quit

Marc Lou
Marc Lou June 22nd, 2022 2 min
A pen and paper habit tracker

On average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to be automatic.

After that, your new habit will be part of your identity—you won't be able to quit it.

But during the first 2 months, it's easy to abandon it.

To overcome the brittle building phase, apply these 5 strategies:

  1. 1. Start small
  2. 2. Don't break the chain
  3. 3. Define the goal
  4. 4. Schedule a time with your habits
  5. 5. Track your progress

1. Start small

Every effort we achieve consumes a bit of our finite willpower—habits are no exception.

The less motivation needed, the more likely you are to perform a task.

A graph showing the difference of motivation needed between 2 habits

Set aside your long-term goals and start with very small daily wins:

  • - Do 10 pushups
  • - Read 3 pages
  • - Learn 2 foreign words

“Make it so easy you can't say no”—Leo Babauta

2. Don't break the chain

A habit tracker with 7 days completed out of 8

Missing a day (aka breaking the chain) delays the creation of lasting habits.

Repetition is the key to forming automated behaviors.

Even when life gets busy, try to get things done:

Do only 20% of what you regularly do.

3. Define the goal

A common mistake is to give up too early because you're not seeing results, yet.

Reading 10 minutes a day doesn't seem much.

But if you read consistently, you'll finish 12 books a year.

When you pick up a new habit, write down your goal.

When you feel hesitant, read it.

4. Schedule a time with your habits

It's tempting to complete your habits when you have time.

But it's easy to get carried away with other tasks.

A calendar showing a meeting scheduled

Add a slot to your calendar to complete your habits and show up on time.

Doing them early in the morning, before life kicks in, is effective.

5. Track your progress

Doing the same thing over and over without seeing great results (at first) can be deceptive.

Tracking your habits solves this:

  • - It helps you visualize your progress since you started
  • - It makes you feel good instantly when ticking the box!

There are tons of free habits trackers, you can also do it with pen and paper.

You can even turn your habits into a game with Habits Garden to triple your productivity.

Final thoughts

You don't need to work hard, just show up every day.

When your habits become part of your identity, the opposite effect happens:

Not completing them becomes hard.

Until next time, ping me on Twitter.

Discover other posts to fight procrastination, form good habits, break bad ones and live a better life.

"The only way to become excellent is to be endlessly fascinated by doing the same thing over and over. You have to fall in love with boredom."