The One Deadly Sin of Changing Habits

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~Woody Allen

Post written by Leo Babauta.

Often you’ll read an article called “The Seven Deadly Sins of” (fill in your topic here). But when it comes to changing habits, there aren’t Seven Deadly Sins.

There’s just one.

You can do a lot of things wrong when you’re trying to form a new habit — just jumping into it without a plan, not having public accountability, not having the right support, etc. But there’s just one thing you can do wrong that will cause the habit change to absolutely fail.

The One Deadly Sin of Habit Change?

Not doing the habit.

If you don’t do it, it won’t become a habit. As obvious as that may sound, too many people fail at this one thing. They start the exercise habit (or flossing habit, or filing their papers habit, or waking early habit) and they do it with enthusiasm for a week or two, and then they stop. For whatever reason — work, or family problems, or other interests taking over.

Life gets in the way, right? Well sure, but if you’re not doing the habit, the habit will never form. If you want to form the habit, you have to do it regularly.

Let’s repeat that, and then talk about how to actually do it: If you want to form the habit, you have to do the habit regularly.

That’s how habits form. You do it one day, then the next, then the next, then the next, right after your habit trigger. Soon, it becomes so ingrained that … it’s a habit.

How To Avoid the Deadly Sin
So it’s easy to state the blindingly obvious, but it’s harder to put it into practice, right?

Sure. So I’m here to help. Some tips for avoiding the One Deadly Sin:

In the end, all that matters is doing it. So go do it already.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle