Red Apple

It's relatively easy to get the technology running to work from home. The hard part is the doing. Don't beat yourself up! Try this tiny tip on...

Forming New Habits

Habit-forming has lots of recent research behind it, plus several new books, articles and podcast episodes.

One important thing to know about habits is that what you've learned before is likely wrong. If you have trouble making habits it's not a lack of character or willpower or discipline. It's lack of facts!

A Simple Script

I've listed some resources later, but for now you can get started on a new habit with these steps. These are all based on B. J. Foog's book Tiny Habits and James Clear's Atomic Habits

  1. Choose an aspiration. It can be pretty general, like "I want to eat better during this remote work period"
  2. List out a bunch of behaviors that you think would help you achieve that aspiration. Make sure the behaviors are specific and measurable. The simpler the better. Example: "Snack on fruit instead of chips." Or, "Drink four glasses of ice water a day"
  3. Give each behavior two ratings on a scale of 1-5
    • Impact: How much will this help me toward my aspiration?
    • Feasibility: How likely am I to do it?
  4. The behaviors with high impact and feasibility are your winners. Pick just one!

OK so far? Now, forget about motivation. Motivation is fickle like an ex-girlfriend1. Anchor your behavior in things you can depend on.

  1. Make the Prompt Obvious:
    • What will remind you to eat that apple? Examples:
    • Right now, put apples on your work desk in easy reach.
    • The best anchor for a new behavior is an existing one. What do you always do each day? See below.
  2. Make it Easy
    • Hate biting into apples. Put a knife next to it so you can slice it.
    • Hate mess? Keep a towel nearby. Maybe a little bowl, too, for the core.
  3. No, Really. Make It Stupidly Easy and Tiny
    • Maybe your new, starting behavior isn't to eat the whole apple. It isn't even to eat any of the apple.

      Your new behavior is super tiny: Just pick up the apple.

      Don't sneer at this approach. Success is made of little wins.

  4. Celebrate!
    • Do not skip this step. Celebrations kick in your dopamine and make you want to keep doing this new thing. The celebration can be a smile, a fist pump, a little song. Whatever makes you feel good. It'll take getting used to.


It sounds dumb,'re going to pee today, right? Make your habit, "After I pee, I'll wash my hands, go to my desk, and pick up my apple. Then I'll fist pump and say, 'OK, an apple a day!;"

If you eat the apple, fine. If not, fine. You met your commitment to yourself.

The thing is, pretty soon you'll eat the apple.

And Finally

Little habits add up.




Podcast Episodes

  1. To be fair, I was often more fickle than my ex-girlfriends.