The most common mistake that causes new habits to fail

Marc Lou
Marc Lou July 13th, 2022 2 min
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The most common mistake people make is to mistake habits for activities. Let's break the ice:

Workout3 times a weekevery day at 6 pm
Read1 book a month5 pages a day on sofa
Sleepa good nightbedtime at 10pm daily

If your newly formed “habit” falls into the left column, it is not a habit.

Habit: something that you do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that you are doing it.

Activities will always require willpower and are easy to give up on. Habits, on the other hand, become automatic and easier complete.

If you're in for the long game, let's turn your activity into a habit:

  1. 1. Phase 1: Be a robot, no matter what
  2. 2. Phase 2: Only habits junkies get time off

Phase 1: Be a robot, no matter what

We evolve through a natural 24 hours cycle. Sleep, wake, repeat. Weeks, months, and years, are just inventions.

To build a habit that lasts:

  1. ✅ Do it daily, at least once
  2. 🕗 Do it at the same time
  3. ⏭ Do it in a sequence of existing habits

Let's say you want to build a workout habit: Do it every day at 11 am before lunch.

Life gets busy and you might have to skip your new habit. Here is some advice:

  1. • If you're running short, do it short. 5 minutes workout is better than none.
  2. • If you're running really short, do it later today
  3. • If you're running really really short, do it tomorrow, but don't skip it twice

Phase 2: Only habits junkies get time off

Research shows it takes 66 days to build a habit. It depends on you and your habits, so let's say about 2 months.

At this point, you'll find that not completing your habit is actually hard. Go to bed without brushing your teeth to know what I'm talking about.

Congrats, you're a habits junkie! You can start being flexible and skip some days.

Try to never skip twice and remember it's also easy to break a habit.

Final thoughts

Habits should not be confused with activities. Habits are repeated regularly and tend to be unconscious.

Both require commitment, but completing habits becomes much easier after 2 months.

If you lack the motivation to get started and commit, use Habits Garden for free. It's a habit tracker with game-like features to help you crush your goals

Until next time, ping me on Twitter.

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"Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations."