The best $5 you will ever spend | Give a life changing mini-gift this festive season 🎄
Read through this article in 5 mins and I ensure you will build a life changing system. By tracking tiny habits.
Columbus is celebrated for the discovery of ‘The New World 🌎’.
But he was, famously, misdirected.
Maritime navigation was exponentially tricky in the 15th century. It involved plotting a course and relying on the stars (literally) to not get lost. In many ways, it was a shot in the dark.
A 1% change in direction could alter their path by hundreds of miles. And could be the difference between life and death.
But satellite-based navigation changed that. Now, we have new celestial bodies to look up to. They allow sailors to make and track minor changes to reach their destination.
What if you had a GPS for life? 🛰️
Helped you plot a course, track progress, and nudge if you were headed (unintentionally) off-track. Almost effortlessly.
That would be a game-changer.
‘The New World 🌎’ is your big goal. And ‘the navigation’ starts with small habits.
Just like with Columbus’ journey, the small, seemingly routine actions we take every day play a pivotal role in when and whether we reach our goal.
The Streaks app is your simple, friendly, and thoughtful companion on that journey. What better time to start than the turn of the year? (And actually, keep your resolution!)
But do small changes really matter?
✅ The task is simple: You maintain a list of all the behaviors you want to build or quit and, throughout the day, you mark which ones you succeeded with. This list can be a journal, a calendar, or an app like Streaks.
Before we go to Streaks, here is a quick take on how to go from choices → behaviors → habits. Feel free to skip.
Why are habits all the rage?
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."—Annie Dillard
Most of our actions throughout the day are without much thought. Almost reflexive. Brushing our teeth. Scrolling through TikTok. Eating from that Mexican place near the workplace. Watching Netflix.
So, we need to be mindful of what we’re compounding.
Time magnifies the margin between success and failure. It will multiply whatever you feed it. Good habits make time your ally. Bad habits make time your enemy. ~James Clear (in Atomic Habits)
So, what should we do?
Step 1: Intentionally plan the habits we want to inculcate
Step 2: Identify the behaviors that would help us build the habit
Daily Behaviors → Habits
How to actually build a habit
So, now we know we need to start with everyday behaviors that develop into habits over time. Great.
B.J. Fogg, who founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, has extensive research on behavior change.
The Fogg Behavior Model shows that three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to occur: Motivation, Ability, and a Prompt. When a behavior does not occur, at least one of those three elements is missing.
Higher motivation → Higher likelihood of you performing the behavior
Simpler behavior implies lower ability required → Higher likelihood of behavior
The magic triad is completed by the prompt. Different prompts are more or less effective depending on your combination of ability and motivation
The Difficult Part: You need to do the behavior for 60+ days for it to become a habit.
Why is Streaks the right answer?
Streaks empowers you to do your desired behavior for 60+ days. And makes it fun.
A. It helps boost your motivation
We seek pleasure and avoid pain. We engage in behaviors where our achievements are recognized. And Streaks helps you do precisely that.
Every day you complete a behavior, it adds to your momentum. A long streak makes it more likely that you will keep it going. (Duolingo is one of the best examples of this!)
B. It helps track small, achievable behaviors (that have a lower ability threshold)
The simpler a behavior is to perform, the higher our ability will be. And the more like that we will successfully do it.
As James Clear, writes in his bestseller, Atomic Habits:
Reduce friction. Decrease the number of steps required for your good habits
Use the Two-Minute Rule. Downscale your habits until they can be done in two minutes or less.
Automate your habits. Invest in technology and onetime purchases that lock in future behavior.
With Streaks, you can break down your big goals into smaller bits.
💪 Get fit → Go to the gym 5 times a week
🏊♂️ Learn to swim → Go to the pool 5 times a week
📚 Read a book every month → Complete 10 pages every day
C. It prompts you to take action on your phone/watch
Through widgets and thoughtful notifications. It reminds you at times of the day when you are most likely to complete the behavior. Magic under the hood.
One final thing
Here’s a quick tip from the creator of the app, Quentin Zervaas, to get started:
What do you find is the best way to structure tasks?
I personally find a good strategy is to have two easy tasks, two with a medium difficulty, and two harder ones. Completing easy tasks early helps motivate you to complete the rest. And if you use additional pages – Streaks now supports four in total – they can still be split into four distinct pages of six tasks.
Where are you navigating your ship in 2023? ⛵