Are you lacking motivation?

Maybe. But most people aren’t hyped up all day every day. That’s not a problem!

You don’t need motivation to create good habits. You just need to understand friction.

Sophomore year I would come home at night and eat an unhealthy amount of chips. I would look in the cabinet, see a bag of chips and eat them. Simple as that.

Then I stopped buying bags of chips.

When I’m at the grocery store, I’m usually in a rational state of mind and can look out for my best interests i.e. not eating a full bag of chips. When it’s 11:00 at night after a busy day, I’m not in a rational state of mind and I could eat a bunch of chips without noticing.

Now, I like chips, but I don’t NEED them. So to fix this bad habit, I just stopped buying them. If they weren’t in the house, I couldn’t eat them.

Pretending I could stop myself midway through eating a bag was not helping. I couldn’t. Once I got going, I kept going. So, when my mind was in a more rational place, I set up a system where I couldn’t fail. There was just too much friction in leaving my house, buying chips and coming home. Therefore, no more unhealthy chip binges.

This is a silly example about chips, but it’s true for all of our habits.

Questions of “motivation” are more frequently problems of friction.

It’s too easy to surf Facebook when the app is on our homepage and we stay signed in 24/7. It’s too easy to turn on the tv when it’s in the middle of the house and the remote is right next to our seat on the couch.

To stop bad habits, increase friction. To start good habits, decrease friction.

Buy some hand weights and leave them by your desk. When you’re on the phone, or need a break from work, just do a little exercise right there. If you want to start keeping track of your ideas, get sticky notes and keep some in your pocket.

We all have good intentions and want to live healthy, happy lives. Moments of weakness are common, but the best way to spare yourself from temptation is to design a system where you don’t have to face it.

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