Why Do Only Some Habits Stick?

I noticed this morning that I have a lot of spreadsheets and lists that I created for various projects (some work, some personal) that work well for a short time, but then, I stop using them.

James Altucher once said that ‘If people were actually to apply what was in almost any decent advice book out there, it would work. The problem is that most people do not actually apply it.’ (That’s paraphrased.)

There are tens of thousands of advice books out there, on diet, lifestyle, exercise, spirituality, finances, and, many, many other topics.

So why is it that most of the advice we’re given does not turn into habits that stick?

I’ve got a lot of habits that did stick, and, generally speaking, here’s why they do:

  • They have a very strong ‘why’; my reason for starting them is deep. I want to reach the goal that’s associated with them.
  • There is a clear connection between the habit and the goal. There has been some evidence provided, some faith established that it will probably work. Either someone else has shown that it works, or, I trust the advice givers’ credibility.
  • I stick with it for at least two weeks, regularly practicing the habit.

If you have all of those things in place, you’re set up for success.

If something doesn’t feel right early on, that’s OK, but you need to reassess.

What’s missing? The reason, the connection, or the practice?

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