Reduce the Tasks Activation Energy To Make Habits Stick

Reduce the Tasks Activation Energy To Make Habits Stick

So, you're looking to create new habits that will better your overall health + wellness. 

Sometimes, willpower is enough to achieve their goals. Unfortunately your inner intuition can fluctuate and those goals can roll away in a wave of stress and anxiety. If willpower is not enough, what is? 

Humans can are mere bundles of habits. This is why we are able to automatically perform many of our daily tasks. So, given that we are mere bundles of habit, couldn’t the key to sustaining positive change be to turn goals into habits? This is where the phrase “easier said than done” has particular relevance.

So, how can we turn a goal into a habit? More broadly, how do we establish – and sustain – good habits? It can be as easy as shrinking the activation energy for the task using the 20-second rule. 

The 20-Second Rule

Best known from the book The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor, the 20-second rule is the act of shrinking the activation energy for your new goal.

In short, the less time it takes to complete your soon-to-be habits, the easier they will be integrated into your life. 

Using daily journaling as an example, carrying around your journal and pen will allow you to quickly write down noteworthy daily events or ideas that pop into your mind. Rather than telling yourself you will remember everything that happened by the end of the day. 

Further, you can have a specific spot to keep your journal like on your desk or at your bedside. This will act as a reminder to write a journal entry.

Ease Into Your Goal

Don't expect to write down a three-page journal entry. Your first few entries can be as easy as making a ritual of writing down three things you're thankful for at the start of that day and three good things about each day every night. 

Other examples of how to break down your goal into steps and how the 20 seconds rule can help include: 

  • Want to work out more? Leave your workout clothes right beside your bed so you can put them on easier. 
  • Want to drink more water? Have a large jug of water at your desk or always carry a water bottle with you.