Success stories come in many different forms. Whether it be something you read, a friend who has achieved great success, or an ad that inspires you to be better - these stories are everywhere. Products are sold through the success that they have enabled their customers to achieve.
So often have I been a victim of these stories - some inspire me to get in amazing shape, some inspire me to start the next unicorn, and others might inspire me to read 50 books a year like Bill Gates.
But in most cases, we are only sold the final product. In reality, achieving goals takes incremental persistence. You can't wake up and run a marathon, you need to practice - you need to keep chipping away at it. And that's why habits are important. Good habits put you on the path of incremental improvement and can culminate in something amazing.
So habits are important. But making a habit stick is difficult. We've all made New Years Resolutions, only to break them within a week.
And that’s because many people set unreasonable expectations for themselves. When it comes to habits, I don't think the whole "shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars" thing works. That’s because if you don't hit your goals, it becomes easier to just put them off. Reasonable action > drastic action.
A nice framework I came across from Matt D’Avella: ask yourself how confident you are in achieving a certain habit.
Example: On a scale of 1-10, how confident do you feel about going to the gym 5 times this week? If your confidence level is at 7 or less, revise the frequency downward. Keep going until this number exceeds 7. Starting off small is perfectly fine because you don't want the task to seem too daunting.
Setting habits is one thing, but you must also track them. It's the most concrete way to measure progress and there are many ways to do this. I personally use the Way of Life App.
Basically, you enter the habits that you want to develop. For each day there is a box that you color: 🟩 (yes I did it), 🟥(no I didn't do it) or ⬜️(I didn't plan to do it). Some examples of how I use it:
As someone who enjoys numbers, I frequently check my trend to see how it compares with previous weeks. This is how I guarantee improvement. As you improve, you can revise your goals upwards.
2 Day Rule
This is a simple rule, but it has really helped me. For habits I intend to do frequently (reading, working out), I make sure I don't skip 2 consecutive days. Sometimes life gets in the way and you have to skip a day. But if you break a habit twice in a row, it becomes much harder to get back into it - because putting it off becomes the new default. Having done this for a while, I've found that certain habits have become so ingrained that my day feels incomplete until I get that green box.
Everyone has a different system and you have to find what works well for you. A few things that I have noticed: