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Habits are the Compound Interest of Self Improvement

Consistency matters more than frequency

We usually make effort unsustainable. For example:

  • We work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year) and never go back to the gym.
  • We try to meditate for 30 mins one day and don’t give it another shot until 10 days later

But when it comes to developing and maintaining a new habit, frequency matters more than intensity.

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Habits are the Compound Interest of Self Improvement

Habits are the Compound Interest of Self Improvement

https://medium.com/the-mission/habits-are-the-compound-interest-of-self-improvement-6db4c51d1631

medium.com

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Key Ideas

Consistency matters more than frequency

We usually make effort unsustainable. For example:

  • We work out like crazy for a few days (usually at the beginning of the year) and never go back to the gym.
  • We try to meditate for 30 mins one day and don’t give it another shot until 10 days later

But when it comes to developing and maintaining a new habit, frequency matters more than intensity.

Identity-based Habits

To build the identity of the person you want to become, ask yourself what the behavior of a person who has the habit you want to develop is. For example:
  • What is the behavior a person who is in shape? They go to the gym consistently
  • What is the behavior of a prolific writer? They crack open a notebook every day.

Raise Your Level of Intensity Gradually

When something becomes effortless, raise the level of intensity, to the point where you can get there without too much resistance, but it’s still somewhat challenging. To put it more concisely, bend but don’t break.

The Compounding Effect of Habits

The progress we experience from the compounding effect of any habit isn’t immediately visible. As a result, people give up quickly

They don’t realize that every day they show up they’re building momentum. They are moving closer and closer to a breakthrough or inflection point.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Keystone Habits

They tend to have ripple effects which change your behavior in unexpected ways.

The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to set off a chain reaction that causes other...

Examples of Keystone Habits

Exercising regularly is for many people a keystone habit because when they do it, they also make healthier eating and life choices and procrastinate less.

Other keystone habits include: meditation, reading, writing and socialising. They provide a nice foundation for a healthy life in all domains

Identify Your Keystone Habits

Look for behaviors that have a ripple effect, and change your other behaviors without extra effort. 

Also, pay attention to how you see yourself when you do a particular habit: Does it change your self-image? Do you feel better when you think of yourself as a person?

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One hour of writing

Writing for an hour a day can improve your personal and professional life.

A lot can be accomplished by a focused hour of creation time, in which you are not disturbed. Deep creativity tasks,...

Increment progress matters

We tend to underestimate incremental progress. Successful people have a willingness to set micro goals and focus on the process instead of the end goal. It is natural for many to miss this as they cannot see the immediate progress.

Writing helps mental health

Writing daily can help in improving our mental health.

  • It lowers anxiety
  • It makes us feel present for that time
  • A good habit that we enjoy makes us look forward to it
  • It heals our painful experiences by making us see them objectively.

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Everyone wants to cultivate better habits. The problem is very few of us want to do the work to make those habits a reality.

Develop better habits by:
  • Thinking really small: it accumulates and adds up in a big way;
  • Shifting your evironment, so that good habits are easier to keep;
  • Piggybacking new habits on old habits: 
  • Surrounding yourself with good people:
  • Keeping it simple: short lists, reachable;
  • Picking yourself up when you fall.
The power of consistency

... is profound and underrated. Little things done repeatedly lead to big changes in our lives.

If you can learn to do something consistently, you'll believe that you’re completel...

Inconsistency and confidence

Doing a little consistently is always going to be more effective than doing a lot but inconsistently.

Inconsistency will most likely kill your confidence and your ability to succeed in a creative career or any creative endeavor.

Consistency creates momentum

Momentum is based on the idea that an object in motion stays in motion.

  • It’s more effective to write 200 words every day than it is to write 1000 words once a week
  • We’re better off practicing an instrument for 15 minutes every day than we are an hour once a week.

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A habit of compounding growth

Reading is a habit of compounding growth. When reading, you'll learn more, and you'll generate ideas and motivation for making other changes.

Reading books means you're getting more concentra...

Put the book down

The real cause of reading too few books is that you don't enjoy it enough.

Don't feel compelled to finish a book that has become boring, predictable or unhelpful. Start a new one. You can have many books through various states of completion. Some won't be finished, and that's okay. Reading less is worse than having a few go unfinished.

Build an online library

An obstacle to your reading habit is not having enough interesting books waiting to be read.

Create a list of potentially good books. If you have a Kindle or eReader, get samples of any book you might want to read — Source your wishlist from suggestions from other writers and authors. When someone recommends a book on a blog or tweet, add it to your wishlist.

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2 mindsets of building wealth
2 mindsets of building wealth
  • Spending mindset: People who stay poor or middle class see money as something to be spent.
  • Investing mindset: People who become rich see...
People rely too much on self-discipline

 ....and eschew forming useful habits. Instead, they set unrealistic drastic goals that and then become frustrated when they make little to no progress towards them. 

Goals sound much sexier in our head than habits
  • Goals: there’s a clear image of a certain result in our head and that gets us more excited in the moment;
  • Habits: are long-term and repetitive - they seem boring. And there’s no clear image one can imagine for “going to the gym every morning for a year”.

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Habits

Habits form a core idea in behavior change. It requires that you change your behavior by regularly doing something.

To get fit, you need to have a habit of eating well and exercising. T...

Goal-Setting

Goal-setting is required to decide what you want and planning how to get there. Just having an idea of what you want to achieve is usually not enough. Setting a goal needs to be paired with plans, systems, or habits to make it achievable.

Goal-setting should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.) However, some people argue for being completely process-oriented and ignoring outcomes.

Systems

Systems organize your behavior and decisions with formal rules. They are often built off of concepts of scientific management and organizational theory, but it is applied to your personal life. 

A productivity system is one type of system that is aimed at helping you get work done by organizing the things that need doing and telling you when to do them.

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External Improvement vs. Self-Improvement
  • External improvement: Money, fitness, credentials, status, friends, etc. 
  • Self-improvement: Habits, thought patterns, confidence, beliefs, learned skills and behavio...
External improvement...
... that doesn't arise from self-improvement is from circumstances or factors outside your control. Winning the lottery may be great, but if you’re broke right now, that’s not a strategy to bank on. Instead you need to start by changing your own behaviors, skills and habits.
Life Strategy
Your total life strategy is a collection of every habit, behavior and thought pattern, conscious and unconscious, that you use to solve the problems you have in life, meet your needs and stay alive. 

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How to Develop Habits
  • Focus on just one habit, for 30 days.
  • Put it on paper, together with your motivations, obstacles, and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Commit fully, pr...
attributed to Aristotle
attributed to Aristotle
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Confucius
Confucius
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

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