how to develop better habits this year (4/6)

Adopt the Two-Day Rule

I found about this rule from a video on Matt D’Avella’s YouTube channel last year, and it instantly made total sense to me. The rule is pretty simple. You don’t allow yourself to take more than one day off in a row as you commit to performing a certain behavior or action. In Matt’s case, it was working out, whether at the gym or outside. He had to do some kind of physical activity every other day, otherwise, he would break this rule. This system gives you the luxury to schedule other things or events in your calendar without breaking your commitment towards building a new habit. In other words, it provides you both rigidity and flexibility in this pursuit. The main reason that the Two-day Rule is an effective strategy is because it prevents you from falling off the wagon, and going in a negative spiral that sabotages your progress so far, and restricts you from getting back on track again. We all enjoy taking breaks, and we all know how one day off can quickly turn into a two day off, and then into multiple days and soon weeks, distancing us from our initial commitment. We all know life happens, and there are many things in our life that are out of our control, but we can commit to the Two-day Rule as much as we can. The main thing is maintaining momentum, and that’s why it’s incredibly important to simply show up and just do that behavior or action for a short time. For instance, writing for 5 minutes instead of writing for 30 minutes, when the Resistance within you (yes, the one with the capital R that Steven Pressfield talks about) tries to empower you. Like I said, the beauty of this rule is that it takes life and our human tendency to deviate into the equation, and helps us make the process of habit building easier for ourselves, so that we start going with the currents, not against them. 

Get Why-power on Your Side

In his book Start with Why, Simon Sinek explains that the most fundamental question we can ever ask for our success is WHY; it’s at the core of The Golden Circle model (designed by Sinek) that has become widely popular among people, businesses and various organizations. Essentially, our WHY becomes the foundation on which we will build our lives. The motivation that we may get from other people will be short-lived, but if you cultivate and nurture it inside you on a daily or consistent basis, it will power you and help you in building self-reliance as you perform the necessary actions. Focus is a superpower in today’s times and a clear WHY is essential for maintaining it. If we make our WHY a priority before we take any action or decision, as trivial or as life-changing it may seem to us, it will always drive us in the right direction. When you’re about to start a new habit or behavior, take a piece of paper and write down the reasons why you have decided to build that in the first place. Additionally, you can list the positive aspects of taking that action. Your willpower will take you only so far when it comes to installing and sustaining new behaviors and habits, but your WHY will propel you and keep you on track, especially during times of darkness and disappointment when you struggle to be disciplined. As Darren Hardy writes in his book The Compound Effect: “Forget about willpower. It’s time for why-power. Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams. The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values. You’ve got to want something, and know why you want it, or you’ll end up giving up too easily.” The sturdiness of the WHY inside you will determine your success. It will give you the courage to brave any storms and obstacles that come your way and tune them out so that you only see solutions and opportunities in front of you.