One at a time

The counterintuitive insight from all of this research is that the best way to change your entire life is by not changing your entire life. Instead, it is best to focus on one specific habit, work on it until you master it, and make it an automatic part of your daily life. Then, repeat the process for the next habit.

The Scientific Argument for Mastering One Thing at a Time

So obvious but so difficult to apply.

Habits and compounding

Get 5% Better: The Compounding of Consistent Incremental Progress

Warren Buffett likes to say that The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken. Billion-dollar industries have been built on convincing you that it’s easy to make big changes or to get a lot wiser and better. But it honestly isn’t. It’s hard work.

I’ve been experiencing the effects of habits, consistency and compounding frist hand. For the past 4 months I consistently did 50 push-ups a day almost every day. Afther those four months three things have changed:

  • I no longer need to remember to do 50  push-ups.
  • I can see the effects of the training by the size of my arms
  • I can easily do over 25 push-ups in one go and I regularly hit 60 or more pushups.

past vs the future

they say past returns don’t represent future returns but…past is generally a good indicator of the future.

you can safely predict your future capacity to execute a plan by your past capacity. If you plan to go to the gym every day, and previously you kept the habit of a daily exercise, it’s probably not an unreasonable belief that you can do it again.

Make Plans Work on 20% Effort

20% effort

If you need to tackle a challenging, yet unfamiliar goal, I recommend starting at 20% and moving upward. Figure out what you feel you could reasonably accomplish, cut it down severely and then slowly increase it as you get used to the habit. Some examples: Writing. Think you can do 1000 words a day? Make it 200 the first week, 250 the next, etc. Exercise. Think you can do an hour a day at the gym? Start with 15 minutes. Reading. Want to read a book a week? Try reading 5 pages a day. Language learning. Start with a twenty minute lesson, once a week.

Make Plans Work on 20% Effort

Start slow and build up as you get more comfortable.