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    • I'm fascinated by the study of habits. I've read lots of books (The Power of Habit, Essentialism, and Better than Before are favorites), listened to podcasts (and discovered the concept of Tiny Habits), and just generally paid attention whenever someone I admire mentions having some.

      I'm convinced that the right habits can be pivotal for personal success and fulfillment. Having habits in place reduces friction for accomplishing the things that matter most while keeping you from overthinking the things that matter least. They allow you to sidestep decision fatigue and leave you with willpower in the tank to handle the unexpected choices that come your way.

      This habit-junkie is dying to hear which habits move the needle for you and how you established them.

    • I'll start. Here are three big (small?) things I do consistently that have a large impact on my quality of life:

      1) I floss my teeth everyday.

      Yes, this keeps my dental bills low, but far more importantly this was the watershed habit for me. I spent years feeling mildly guilty with every dentist visit realizing I "should" be better about flossing. I'd floss occasionally but I probably spent more time debating whether I really needed to floss at night than it would take to actually make it happen.

      I decided to stop asking myself the question, and to just floss no matter what. In other words, I finally made it a habit. I quickly began to enjoy it and the good feeling of following through on a resolution, simple as it was. This had a ripple effect on many other areas of my life.

      Bonus: I love dentist appointments now and I dance a bit every time I chuck an empty floss dispenser into the trash. The capacity to change is a beautiful thing.

      2) I journal every day.

      I actually journal *most* days but I catch up on any day I miss so ultimately every day of the year has something written down.

      I use a "10 year journal" format in a simple document on my computer. I've been doing it for over 7 years now and the personal benefits have been huge:

      - Awareness. Reflecting for just a few minutes on the day I've just spent before I begin a new one has made me realize what matters to me (relationships!). I'm also more grateful for the good bits of my life that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.

      - Perspective. Progress in parenting can be slow but whenever I journal about a day, I see immediately above it what I wrote a full year before, and the year before that, etc. It's encouraging to see growth and sometimes eye-opening to realize how long a particular struggle has continued.

      - I now have hundreds of pages of family anecdotes - the highs and lows of life with young children - preserved. I've discovered that most of the sweetest and funniest moments quickly fall out of my leaky brain if they don't get written down.

      - My kids adore hearing stories about our family's past. I can quickly search for their name and bring up loads to share that is specific to them.

      - I can now fact-check my husband when we have different recollections of the way something went down. A shocking amount of time we're both wrong.

      The key for me to establish this habit was just lowering the threshold. I took the Tiny Habits approach and I told myself I did not ever need to write a full account of a day. One sentence is enough. More often than not I write quite a bit more, but if I stop at a sentence I still win. As with so many things, the habit is more powerful than the result of any single effort.

      3) I make the first few minutes with someone I love count.

      A few years ago someone I respect mentioned that the first and last minutes you spend with someone each day are the most impactful to your relationship. I'm still working on making the last few minutes better (bedtime is tough with four kids sometimes!) but since I heard that advice I've changed the way I greet my husband and my children.

      In the morning when they wake up and anytime they walk in the door, I do a full stop on whatever I'm doing and I focus just on them for a few minutes. It doesn't take long to give smiles and hugs and show genuine delight that I get to be with them. This simple habit lifts my attitude* and increases our family's unity.

      *I'm not a morning person, so a habit of showing delight in the wee hours reeeeally helps set a good tone in our home. The kids tend to reflect back my mood, making it doubly important.

    • Great topic!

      I have ADHD, which for me manifests not as hyperactivity but as difficulty maintaining focus on things that don't hold my complete interest.

      I find mundane daily tasks like brushing my teeth, showering, making coffee, feeding the cat, doing the dishes, etc. intensely boring, which also means that while doing these things I'm very distractible. A fleeting thought can lead my brain off on a tangent and cause me to forget to put the coffee carafe back before turning the coffee maker on, for instance. Then I walk away and come back to find the kitchen covered in coffee.

      But I can compensate for this with habits and routines. If I make a habit of doing the same things in the same order at the same times, then it's easier for me to avoid getting distracted and screwing up, because I can just follow the rote motions of the routine and I know that if I get to step four, that means I've already done steps one, two, and three, and the next thing I need to do is step five, and so on. Often I can let my mind wander while my hands do all the work, and then I get to the end of the routine and realize I finished it without even thinking about it.

      It can be a challenge when my routine has to change, since I have to break the old habits and create new ones, but overall embracing habits like this has been tremendously helpful in dealing with my ADHD.

    • I don't know if I have ADHD, maybe I do, but for sure I feel life is precious and I want to make the most of every minute. So I feel a deep sense of frustration when I have to do something routine, unmemorable, something that doesn't help savor life. That would be flossing teeth and washing dishes. But I must do them.

      My habit to compensate is to have my earpods with me every minute and podcasts that fascinate me ready to go. That way I'm completely immersed in a world of books, science, politics, and interviews of fascinating people. It gives me patience for lines, shopping, exercising...and at the end of most days I've listened to 2 more hours of fascinating things about life I would have missed.

      Yesterday in the security line at an airport, it was an interview of the Parkland students and how they handle being called terrible things on social media. So inspiring.

    • Great topic. One I am very interested in and have been studying over a year since I am building an app (Vizbo) that gives people a means to focus on what matters most- which means you have to create habits in order to achieve or reach a goal, etc.

      Habits are integral to achieving anything and everything. Things do not just happen. A common term used among behavior scientists and psychologists is Keystone Habits. It's these types of small habits that set off a chain reaction of other more profound habits that produce positive outcomes. Example, say you want to get more rested by getting more sleep. You do, and in addition you find yourself happier, less stressed, more productive, etc.

      It's easier to practice habits. The key word- practice. So it's essential to know why you want to develop a habit, or maintain it. Ultimately your 'Why' drives you to continue performing the habit until it is basically engrained in you. So if you want to avoid cavities and fillings its important you floss daily and brush your teeth, and so you will.

      Also, booking, journaling and mindful reflection are great practices that help people be committed, less distracted and understand their progress, respectively.


      1. I set my alarm and wake up early each day to get a 60-90 min workout. It's the one time I know I do not have any distractions at that time and I know I can get my workout in which is medicine for both my mental and physical health.

      2. I meditate once a day. No, I do not sit next to a flowing river and close my eyes and chant some ritual tune. I do, however, go to a place or go for a hike/run/walk and think of things I'm grateful for and want to be better at. This habit has helped me be a better dad and husband because I am less anxious or stressed and more engaged and focused with what I am doing when I am doing it, like parenting or socializing.

      3. I am a creature of habit and I am more well (wellness) because I brush my teeth twice/ day and twice each time, eat the same foods daily, exercise every day, journal about goals, and unplug from technology on Saturdays.

      4. I aim to hug my kids/wife everyday, smile at them and tell them I love them. This is for obvious reasons :-)

      Good luck!

    • I love your #3 habit of making those first few moments with your loved ones count. I try to be mindful of that everyday but I find that the stress of life or the ever pressing pressure of not having enough time to get things done overshadow what is most important in my life. I think I am going to work on making that a daily habit so that those I love know they are my everything.

    • The most important speech I ever heard was given by a teacher who had his Phd in higher education from USC. He boomed over the microphone, to a sea of students at University of Utah where I was now attending, a promise that we could graduate in the top 2% of our class if we could adopt a crucial habit.

      If I heard a promise like that today, I'd roll my eyes. But I was 20, naive, and searching for something to help me succeed because I failed to pass English 1A at UC Santa Barbara and couldn't continue as a student there.

      He said the key was getting in the habit of going to the same place at the same time every day for 4 hours a day to study. Don't eat, watch TV, daydream, doodle. Just work on becoming immersed in your studies. It will be very hard in the beginning, but in time the body and mind will adapt and eventually you'll get in the zone for those 4 hours.

      I tried it and even though I had to work 3 am to 8 am every day at UPS loading trucks, and we had a newborn, my grades went to As and I got a full scholarship to Stanford for graduate school. This from a kid who had been diagnosed with a learning disability and placed in slow learning classes in grammar and middle school.

      Years later, I worked with John Grisham's agent to get a short story from John for Barnes & Noble to publish. The agent and I spent hours on the phone together and he described how John writes: he goes to his loft for 6 hours a day, same time, same place every day, and gets into the zone.

      The man who gave the speech is Paul Dunn and I have told his family that he is my hero.

    • This is analogous to paying yourself first. By investing a set, but fairly significant amount money on regular intervals, you are establishing that main thing as more important than anything else. Soon you forget you're doing it and it's just a habit. If you do the same in your studies you can't fail to invest a significant amount into that brain of yours. Assuming that what you are studying turns out to be worthwhile, you'll become 'rich' in knowledge much like the investor who pays themselves first. I think this is a very good strategy whether it's for investing, becoming knoweldgeable or gaining success in almost any field. Set aside a significant chunk of time and energy that will move you towards that goal, and so long as it's a habit you don't regularly break, you're likely to become successful. There are exceptions and sometimes there isn't room for many people at the top, but you'll certainly get farther than if you hadn't developed the habit.

      I told my girlfriend recently that if she could just get into the habit of setting aside that 30-40% of her income she could blow the rest of her money on silly frivolous things and it wouldn't really matter. It'd be much the same if you spent a solid chunk of time studying then you could waste away the rest of your time doing meaningless things without a worry.

      When I was in university I determined that studying/reading 4 hours for every hour of class time would allow me to achieve an A in all of my classes. I used a day planner and highlighted all of my study hours. Each class or subject had a different colour. When I had achieved my hourly set quota I was free to do whatever I wanted with my time. It greatly reduced my stress, ensured I received A's in all of my classes, and kept me from that dreaded student feeling that there was always more that I could or should be doing. It's been about 15 years since I graduated but I still try to set aside a significant chunk of my time to 'study' things. It helps that I don't have a TV :)

    • My habit to compensate is to have my earpods with me every minute and podcasts that fascinate me ready to go.

      I was waiting on a long checkout line and came across this habit to adopt. So I spent the time productively listening to this.

      Thank you 🙏

    • That's a long one but as you know I loved it. It's going to take a lot of checkout lines to finish it.

      I listened to it in the Grand Canyon on an all day and into the night Rim-to-Rim-to-River hike.

      It turns out I could be fully immersed in it there because there was no signal, so no text messages or anything like that to interrupt.