reducing friction of new habits

If you want real lasting change you need to shortcut the path the making new behavior automatic. Make it a habit. Systems are reliable while ‘ad hoc’ deviations require conscious effort and failure is guaranteed when those new intentions inevitably break down.

Here is the key… using this blog as an example, or journaling, or any kind of writing; or any kind of personal transformation in general – the key is to reduce the friction of the new habit. Reduce it down to zero if possible. Usually there is a bottom limit because anything worth doing takes some effort. But reduce the effort of starting the thing as close to zero as possible.

Put a hotlink on the desktop screen of your laptop. Make the bookmark to the dashboard the first thing you see when you open your web browser. Put a bright green post-it note right on the bottom of your monitor (and remove all the other post-its, for God’s sake).

All of this is nothing new. A slew of prominent writers all talk about this idea incessantly. James Clear. He wrote one of the most popular self-improvement books of our time – ‘Atomic Habits’. I think I actually read Charles Duhigg’s ‘Habit’ first, which also talks about it. And even Tony Robbins’ earliest concepts was about how motivation only gets you so far. Even the great ‘The One Thing’ by Keller and Papasan.

The key to making lasting change, and a lasting impact is reducing the friction of doing ‘the thing’.

This applies in business as well. How often do those few, critical ‘Value Added’ activities get done when the right people aren’t engaged, the data isn’t available, the technology doesn’t enable it, and so on.

Whatever today’s goal is, reduce the friction of doing it and watch the results explode.

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