Elastic habits

publishedabout 1 month ago
1 min read

When you start a new habit, why give yourself only one chance to win?

Yet we shout out commands all the time:

Run 5k three times per week! Eat more healthy food! Write 10 pages per day!

... and feel bad when we fail at them.

What if there was another, more fun approach to habit formation?

Instead of having a do-all-or-fail plan, you create a habit that adapts to your day. Elastic habits fit your life and offer more wins. But how do they work?

At the first level, there's the mini habit. It needs to be so simple you can do it on your worst days. Think: No sleep, kids crying, dog poop on your hands. It's the bare minimum and it must be easy to do.

Then you have your medium level, the Plus habit.

At the top, there's the Elite habit. If you perform at this level several weeks in a row, you're on your way to becoming a champion.

The different levels leverage your motivation. On your off days, the mini habit is there to keep the momentum going. On days when you have more energy, you can go all-in on your Plus or Elite habits. It's a win-win-win.

I took my three words for the year and turned them into an elastic habit. Let's look at how I did that.

Move: Exercise

First, I came up with different options on how to perform the habit. In this case, I decided on walking/jogging, sit ups, and dancing.

At the second stage, I decided on the size of the win: my Mini, Plus and Elite habits. I am left with a table that looks like this:

Example of an elastic exercise habit.

I’ll try this habit in the coming two weeks and adjust the difficulty level if needed. But you get the gist. We’re aiming for:

Attainability: “This is easy, I can do it” (Mini habit)
Respectability: “This is a good amount of work and a decent result” (Plus habit)
Greatness: “Wow, I did a grand slam! This feels great!” (Elite habit)

Although elastic habits are flexible by design, there’s still a structure to them. Author Stephen Guise recommends these four pillars:

  1. Do elastic habits every day. Don’t skip two days in a row.
  2. Have a limited number of lateral and vertical success points (no more than nine). See above as an example.
  3. Track your progress: use stickers!
  4. Have max 3 elastic habits at one time.

Which goals do you want to turn into an elastic habit? If you’re unsure, choose a habit that will be most impactful. You can't go wrong with exercise, skill building, or meditation.

Need help with starting an elastic habit? Hit reply and let’s talk. I want to help you win.

Have a great week!

Cheers,
Olle


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