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Habits are the Compound Interest of Self Improvement

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.

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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

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.

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.

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Making Your Habits Stick

To make any habit stick in the long-term (keystone or not), do it regularly. 

The more often you do the habit, the more you'll get used to it, and eventually, you'll do it wi...

Keep Track Of Your Habit Every Day

It helps to know how often you’re succeeding (or not). Use whatever works for you: pen and paper of habit tracking apps.

A simple way to keep track of your progress is to mark each day you complete your habit on a calendar.

Start Small

Do the minimum you can and be consistent in your behavior.

To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior.  A good tiny behavior is easy to do — and fast.

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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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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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Shockingly Unproductive
  • Studies show that employees spend more than five hours per day reading and replying to emailsWhile it may seem like urgent work, email is not the best kind of work.
Facilitate Deep Work

A few smart strategies that can be deployed:

  1. Installing pods for deep work while having common areas for collaborative work.
  2. Wearing headphones that are easily seen to signal that you are not to be disturbed.
  3. Turning your office into a library, following the same culture of quietness where everyone is hushed and respectful.
Email is not Real Work

Real work, by definition, should be rare, valuable and cognitively demanding.

Email does not check any of these boxes, and is, therefore, a pseudo work.

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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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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.
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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Almost all writing is influenced by other people’s work

Even if some writers avoid reading when they’re writing a book because they’re afraid of being influenced by other people’s work, finding your unique voice is most times the result of borro...

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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