The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.Identity-Based HabitsReading
The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.Identity-Based HabitsExercise
The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.Identity-Based HabitsPracticing Music
If you want to write a book, you should focus on becoming the type of person who writes every day.Identity-Based HabitsWriting
If you want to learn a new language, you should focus on becoming the type of person who studies every day.Identity-Based HabitsLanguage Learning
If you want to retire early, you should focus on becoming the type of person who saves money every month.Identity-Based HabitsSaving
If you want to lose 30 pounds, you should focus on becoming the type of person who moves their body every day.Identity-Based HabitsExercise
When you say one thing you’re thankful for at the end of each day, you embody the identity of a grateful person.Identity-Based HabitsGratitude
When you leave your smartphone in the other room while you work, you embody the identity of a focused, productive person.Identity-Based HabitsProductivity
When you go outside for a walk after dinner, you embody the identity of an active person.Identity-Based HabitsExercise
When you meditate every morning, you embody the identity of a calm, centered person.Identity-Based HabitsMeditation
Whenever you take a deep breath instead of honking your horn, you embody the identity of a patient person.Identity-Based HabitsRelationships
Whenever you practice violin after dinner, you embody the identity of a dedicated musician.Identity-Based HabitsPracticing Music
Whenever you say “thank you” each day, you embody the identity of a grateful person.Identity-Based HabitsGratitude
When you eat fruits and vegetables each day, you embody the identity of a healthy person.Identity-Based HabitsHealthy Eating
If you volunteer at your local homeless shelter, perhaps you are the type of person who cares about your community.Identity-Based HabitsRelationships
If you create a drawing, then perhaps you are the type of person who is creative.Identity-Based HabitsCreativity
If you make a spending budget, then perhaps you are the type of person who is wise with money.Identity-Based HabitsSaving
If you read your child a book before bed, perhaps you are the type of person who encourages your kids to learn new things.Identity-Based HabitsParenting
When you make your bed each day, you embody the identity of an organized person.Identity-Based HabitsTidiness
When you write each day, you embody the identity of a creative person.Identity-Based HabitsCreativity
When you train each day, you embody the identity of an athletic person.Identity-Based HabitsExercise
Each time you encourage your employees, you are a leader.Identity-Based HabitsRelationships
“Eat healthier” becomes “eat one piece of fruit” or “eat two bites of raw spinach before dinner.”Two-Minute RuleHealthy Eating
“Work on my novel” becomes “write one sentence.”Two-Minute RuleWriting
“Wake up early” becomes “wake up 5 minutes earlier.”Two-Minute RuleSleep
“Save more money” becomes “save $5 per month.”Two-Minute RuleSaving
“Meditate every morning” becomes “meditate for 60 seconds.”Two-Minute RuleMeditation
“Be more productive” becomes “focus on one task with no distractions for two minutes.”Two-Minute RuleProductivity
“Walk 10,000 steps each day” becomes “Put on my shoes.”Two-Minute RuleExercise
“Keep the house tidy” becomes “put one item of dirty clothing in the laundry.”Two-Minute RuleTidiness
“Be a better partner” becomes “make my partner a cup of coffee every morning.”Two-Minute RuleRelationships
“Get straight A’s” becomes “set my books out on the desk when I get home.”Two-Minute RuleStudying
“Read before bed each night” becomes “Read one page.”Two-Minute RuleReading
“Do thirty minutes of yoga” becomes “Take out my yoga mat.”Two-Minute RuleExercise
“Study for class” becomes “Open my notes.”Two-Minute RuleStudying
“Fold the laundry” becomes “Fold one pair of socks.”Two-Minute RuleTidiness
“Run three miles” becomes “Tie my running shoes.”Two-Minute RuleExercise
Losing 100 pounds is very hard. Overhauling your entire diet is hard. Cutting out sugary or calorie-dense foods is moderately difficult. Eating more vegetables is easy. And eating one bite of spinach at dinner is very easy. Your ultimate ambition might be to lose 100 pounds, but your gateway habit is to eat one bite of spinach at dinner.Gateway HabitsHealthy Eating
Reading one book per week is very hard. Reading 20 pages a day is moderately difficult. Reading one page per day is very easy. Your ultimate ambition may be to read a book per week, but your gateway habit is reading one page per day.Gateway HabitsReading
Learning to play a song on the guitar is very hard. Learning to play the chorus of a song is very difficult. Learning to play the scales is moderately difficult. Practicing the chords is easy. Picking up the guitar and sitting down in a quiet spot is very easy. Your ultimate ambition might be to learn to play a full song, but your gateway habit is picking up your guitar and sitting down in a quiet place where you can practice.Gateway HabitsPracticing Music
Earning a PhD is very hard. Getting straight A’s is hard. Studying for three hours is moderately difficult. Studying for ten minutes is easy. Opening your notes is very easy. Your ultimate ambition might be to earn a PhD, but your gateway habit is opening your notes.Gateway HabitsStudying
Writing a book is very hard. Writing a 5,000-word article is hard. Writing 1,000 words is moderately difficult. Writing one paragraph is easy. Writing one sentence is very easy. Your ultimate ambition might be to write a book, but your gateway habit is writing one sentence.Gateway HabitsWriting
If you want to remember to add money to your savings account after you get paid, keep a savings app on the homescreen of your phone.Environment DesignSaving
If you want to remember to make a green smoothie when you wake up, put chopped fruits and veggies in the front and center of your fridge.Environment DesignHealthy Eating
If you want to remember to read high-quality articles instead of browsing social media on your phone, replace the Facebook app with the Pocket app on your phone’s home screen.Environment DesignReading
If you want to remember to practice your instrument, place the stand in the middle of the room.Environment DesignPracticing Music
If you want to remember to eat fruit each day, place the bowl of fruit in the middle of the counter.Environment DesignHealthy Eating
If you want to remember to do five burpees before you get in the shower, add a Post-It note to the shower door.Environment DesignExercise
If you want to remember to refill your water bottle every time it’s more than halfway empty, use a Sharpie to draw a small line at the halfway mark on the water bottle.Environment DesignHealth
If you want to remember to write in your journal for five minutes at 7am, store the journal on the kitchen table so you see it when you sit down for breakfast every morning.Environment DesignWriting
If you want to remember to read a book instead of looking at your phone very time you’re bored, set your phone’s lock screen photo to be a photo of the book you’re trying to finish.Environment DesignReading
If you want to remember to go for a run every morning, lay out your workout clothes and shoes the night before.Environment DesignExercise
If you want to remember to practice your Spanish, lay out your flash cards on the kitchen table so you can flip through them as you eat.Environment DesignLanguage Learning
If you want to remember to take your medication each night, put your pill bottle directly next to the faucet on the bathroom counter.Environment DesignHealth
If you want to remember to send more thank-you notes, keep a stack of stationery on your desk.Environment DesignGratitude
If you want to drink more water, fill up a few water bottles each morning and place them in common locations around the house.Environment DesignHealth
You are more likely to go to the gym if it is on your way to work because stopping doesn’t add much friction to your lifestyle. By comparison, if the gym is off the path of your normal commute—even by just a few blocks—now you’re going “out of your way” to get there.Reducing FrictionExercise
Put apps that promote learning or relaxation – reading apps like Audible and Pocket, or a meditation app like Headspace – on the homebar of your phone, rather than filling it with distractions like email or social media.Reducing FrictionMeditation, Reading
Put together a home gym setup. That way, even if you don’t have time to get a full workout at the gym, you can still do a few sets at home.Reducing FrictionExercise
Use automation: Get healthy meal kits delivered to your door with a service like Green Chef or Hello Fresh.Reducing FrictionHealthy Eating
Clear your work space of distractions that will take you off-task.Reducing FrictionProductivity
Want to keep your house tidy? Use the “reset the room” strategy. Take any trash out of your car after each trip to the store, wipe down the counters after you finish each meal, and put dishes in the dishwasher after eating.Priming the EnvironmentTidiness
Want to wake up early? Remove the TV from the bedroom and charge your phone across the room.Priming the EnvironmentSleep
Want to be more organized and productive? Lay out your notebook or planner along with your favorite pen to write a to-do list as you sip your coffee every morning.Priming the EnvironmentProductivity
Want to encourage your employees to think more creatively in meetings? Set up the conference room to be bright, spacious, and free from distractions.Priming the EnvironmentRelationships
Want to meditate more? Set up a comfortable, quiet place in your home where you practice meditation.Priming the EnvironmentMeditation
Want to encourage your children to read more? Help them make a reading nook in their bedroom with some comfy pillows and plenty of age-appropriate reading material.Priming the EnvironmentParenting
Want to paint more? Set up your easel, paints, and brushes beforehand so you can walk in and get straight to work.Priming the EnvironmentCreativity
Want to sleep better and develop a wind-down routine? Move your phone charger out of the bedroom and place a white noise machine, your favorite candle, and a couple of books on your nightstand.Priming the EnvironmentSleep
Want to draw more? Put your pencils, pens, notebooks, and drawing tools on top of your desk, within easy reach.Priming the EnvironmentCreativity
Want to exercise? Set out your workout clothes, shoes, gym bag, and water bottle ahead of time.Priming the EnvironmentExercise
Want to improve your diet? Chop up a ton of fruits and vegetables on weekends and pack them in containers, so you have easy access to healthy, ready-to-eat options during the week.Priming the EnvironmentHealthy Eating
Step on the treadmill, open up your favorite book or turn on your preferred show on Netflix on your phone.Temptation BundlingExercise
Only turn on your favorite TV show while you’re folding laundry.Temptation BundlingTidiness
Only listen to your favorite podcast when you’re vacuuming or running or cooking dinnerTemptation Bundling
Tidiness, Exercise, Healthy Eating
One of my readers used this strategy to increase her writing frequency. She’d been making slow progress on her book, writing only three chapters over the course of a year, when she decided to bundle a junk food temptation with her writing task. Here’s what she said when she wrote to me: “In the past three days, I've averaged 1,800 words a day. Every morning, my alarm goes off at 5:30 and I grab a cold Diet Dr Pepper and a Cosmic Brownie and head to my computer. I wouldn't get out of bed without the motivation, and I actually find it easier to make healthy choices the rest of the day because I've satisfied my junk cravings. … At this rate, my first draft should be done just as I run out of soda.”Temptation BundlingWriting
Only watch your favorite TV show when you’re preparing healthy meals for the week.Temptation BundlingHealthy Eating
Only go to the movies after you have contributed to your monthly savings goal.Temptation BundlingSaving
Only use social media after you’ve meditated for 60 seconds.Temptation BundlingMeditation
Only allow yourself to eat your favorite candy when you sit down to work on your book.Temptation BundlingWriting
Only read tabloids or watch reality shows when you’re at the gym.Temptation BundlingExercise
Whenever I’m looking to cut calories, I like to lock in my future behavior by asking the waiter to split my meal and box half of it to go before serving it to me. I always do this before the meal is served. If I waited until the meal comes out and told myself to “just eat half” it would never work. Restraint like that is difficult for a food lover like me. By asking the restaurant to divide my meal, my future calories are being decided ahead of time.Commitment DevicesHealthy Eating
Remove your television from your bedroom to lock in better sleep habits.Commitment DevicesSleep
Delete games and social media apps on your phone to lock in better focus habits.Commitment DevicesProductivity
Enroll in an automatic savings plan and set up automatic bill pay to lock in better finance habits.Commitment DevicesSaving
You can even automate this process. Thomas Frank, an entrepreneur in Boulder, Colorado, wakes up at 5:55 a.m. each morning. And if he doesn’t, he has a tweet automatically scheduled that says, “It’s 6:10 and I’m not up because I’m lazy! Reply to this for $5 via PayPal (limit 5), assuming my alarm didn’t malfunction.”Commitment DevicesSleep
Pay for exercise classes in advance to increase the likelihood you’ll show up to “get your money’s worth.”Commitment DevicesExercise
Use a website blocker to lock you out of distracting websites. Or, delete distracting apps off your phone.Commitment DevicesProductivity
When you go to the doctor or dentist, always schedule your next appointment before you leave. Now it’s on your calendar.Commitment DevicesHealth
Leave your phone at home when you’re going to an important meeting or going to catch up with a friend or loved one so it can’t distract you.Commitment DevicesRelationships
Host a weekly gathering of friends so you’re forced to tidy up at least once per week.Commitment DevicesTidiness
Use an automated savings program that takes money from your paycheck and moves it to a separate account every month.Commitment DevicesSaving
You can reduce overeating by purchasing food in individual packages rather than in bulk size.Commitment DevicesHealthy Eating
You can voluntarily ask to be added to the banned list at casinos and online poker sites to prevent future gambling sprees.Commitment DevicesSaving
I’ve heard of athletes who have to “make weight” for a competition choosing to leave their wallets at home during the week before weigh-in so they won’t be tempted to buy fast food.Commitment DevicesHealthy Eating
If you’re feeling motivated to get in shape, schedule a yoga session and pay ahead of time.Commitment DevicesExercise
If you’re excited about the business you want to start, email an entrepreneur you respect and set up a consulting call.Commitment DevicesProductivity
Schedule a date night at a nice restaurant.Immediate RewardAny