We’ve had a number of +1s on how to Optimize the use of our limited Willpower to install Habits that run on autopilot.
Here’s another one.
Today’s +1: If you want to install a new habit, reduce the variability of your behavior.
Let’s say you want to install the habit of meditating. You’re clear on the Why. You’ve made it silly easy to do—opting for a floor of 1 minute rather than trying to go for 60 minutes out the gate. You’ve made a 100% commitment. Etc. Etc.
Now, what do you think will be more effective?
Option #1: Doing your 1+ minute of meditation whenever you can get around to it? So, sometimes you do it first thing when you wake up, sometimes right after your workout, other times before lunch and other times when you get home from work or before you go to sleep or…
Option #2: Doing your 1+ minute at a consistent time each day? So, you decide that a certain time of the day—say, right after you wake up—would be the best time and you do your new habit at that time EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It’s a no-brainer, right?
Actually, it IS a no-brainer.
By reducing the variability of your behavior you GREATLY enhance the likelihood of installing that positive behavior so it can run on autopilot—moving from having to think about it (and use up some of your precious willpower on it) every day pre-frontal cortex style to letting your basal ganglia rock it for you without any deliberate, resource-intense thinking.
Got a habit you’ve been having a tough time installing?
Are you consistent with the time/place you do it?
Or, would you benefit from reducing the variability of your behavior?
Let’s +1 it!
And, of course, repeat that process with any and all habits you’d like to see running on autopilot!