Category: habits

My Weird ‘3 Year’ Rule + How I Used It To Jump-start Change

Looking for a trick to break bad habits? Want to build good habits but not sure where to start? Click through for habit building tips you've never heard before! #habits #badhabit #goodhabit #goalsetting
It’s 3 am on a Wednesday night in 2016 and I’m awake. Again. As per the usual.

I stare at the ceiling and try to do those breathing exercises you read about in Real Simple, but get bored and give up. I toss and turn and huff and puff and make lists in my mind of various things I need to do when I finally get out of bed.

Mend that sweater.
Send that thank-you note.
Figure out LinkedIn – do I even need it?

Eventually, I fall into a distracted, light sleep and wake up poorly rested and cranky. I drink coffee all day to counteract the exhaustion and the entire process repeats itself that night.

Wake at 3 am. Toss for an hour and a half. Fall back into a sub-par sleep. Wake up feeling awful.

For a long time – years! – I slept poorly. But it didn’t seem like a big deal. Everybody I knew seemed to be low-key exhausted. Everybody fell asleep in front of Netflix at 2 am. Everybody shared memes about coffee.

And then one day, I happened upon this article and this collection of sentences:

The cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke.

After decades of research, the case can be confidently made that sleep loss and sleep disorders have profound and widespread effects on human health.

Oh, what’s that? You mean my daily choices could slowly add up to a heart attack or stroke or depression? That thing I don’t think is a big deal will become a big deal if I do it every day for years?

Confronted with these rather terrifying findings, I pretty quickly changed my ways. I used the very same methods I teach in Habit School to give up caffeine completely. And I bought this. Now I sleep like a baby 90% of the time.

Carrie Bradshaw-like, this got me thinking: where would I be in three years if I kept the exact same habits I have today? What would my life look like if I did those things – those “not a big deal” things – every day for three years?

Imagine it.

Imagine eating dinner standing over the sink every night for three years.

Or 1,000 days of Instagram stalking our exes.

Or 1,000 days of making excuses about why we haven’t finished that project we were so excited about.

We humans love to overestimate the positive effects of our (very) occasional good choices. We work out for two days and expect to have a six pack. We use one coupon and think we’ve topped off our Roth IRAs. We take a three-day break from social media and think we’re ready to join a Buddhist monastery. <- hello, I’m talking about myself.

Meanwhile, we convince ourselves that we’re doing these non-great things “just for today” or “just because it’s the busy season” or “because it’s the holidays.” It’s been scientifically proven that we chronically underestimate our own alcohol use, spending, and social media use.

This sounds awful and terrifying, doesn’t it? Like a ghost from Christmas future, pointing its bony finger at a calendar and hissing “This. This is the date you started “just swinging into Target after work” and now you’ve done it every day for three years. You are drowning in throw pillows and credit card debt.”
Think of your less-than-great habits. Imagine you did them every day for three years. What would your life look like? If you don’t like the way it would look, maybe it’s time to make a change. <3 Click To TweetBut I’m not sharing my weird three-year rule to scare you! When I saw that sleep study and was forced to confront the impact of my sleep habits, I was finally motivated to make real changes. Under eye bags and a coffee addiction weren’t enough. Realizing the long term impact of my daily habits was.

Picture November 28th, 2022. Are you the person you want to be?

I want to hear from you! How do you get yourself to take action on change? What’s motivated you to finally break your worst habits?

P.S. the LIVE version of Make It Stick Habit School opens for enrollment on January 6th! Click here to get on the wait list.

Photo by Renáta-Adrienn on Unsplash

Everything is socially contagious (and what to do about it)

Just about everything in life - spending, mindset, habit, even health - is socially contagious. When we know that, we can plan accordingly. Click through for tips that will help you save money, build good habits, and change your mindset! #goalsetting #goodhabits #badhabits #habitchange
It’s Saturday night and I’m cuddled into the corner of my friend’s couch. The wine is flowing, the fireplace is roaring, and we’re all picking at the post-dinner party cheese tray.

We’ve progressed to the part of the night where enough time has passed (and enough wine has been consumed), that we’ve given ourselves over to gossip.

We’ve talked about That Couple’s divorce and That Friend’s propensity towards oversharing on Facebook.

Gossiping and passing judgement are my greatest vices and the character traits I like least in myself. But the gossip is contagious and before I know it, I’m saying things I shouldn’t and sharing stories that are absolutely not mine to share.


Of course, I take 99% of the responsibility for this behavior but the truth is, that quote we see on Pinterest is REAL. We are, in fact, the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Pretty much everything humans do is socially contagious.

We’re pack animals! We evolved to live in groups, to cooperate and collaborate with others so we could, like, get the best cave, the best Mastodon drumstick, and not get exiled to the dark, cold tundra.

So it makes sense that everything, ever is socially contagious. We’re ‘safer’ when we’re behaving like the people around us. But what happens when our friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers make choices that aren’t right for us?

What happens when we ‘catch’ habits and behaviors that actually push us further from the people we want to be?

Habits that are socially contagious


Why You Should ‘Indiana Jones’ Your Bad Habit + How To Do It

Want to break a bad habit? Replace your bad habit rather than trying to go cold turkey or be too virtuous! Tap through for ideas about less-bad habits you can use to replace your bad ones! #goalsetting #habitchange #badhabits #goodhabits

“You know what? I think I’m ready to do it.” We’re driving back to Minneapolis after a long cabin weekend and my never-ending yammering about habits and goals has my friend all riled up.

“I’m gonna do it for real this time,” he nods. “I’ve got this terrible habit of checking my phone first thing in the morning and I’m going to go cold turkey.” He passes an old Nissan and takes a sip of his gas station coffee.

“I’m going to stop checking my phone and start meditating! Yes!” He slaps the steering wheel.

“Oh dude, you don’t have to do that,” I tell him. “Why don’t you just Indiana Jones it?”

Unsurprisingly, this makes zero sense to my friend. So I elaborate.

“You’ve seen Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, right?” (This is a trick question because we’re both children of the 80s and OBVIOUSLY HE’S SEEN IT.)

“Indiana Jones doesn’t just, like, snatch the golden idol and leave that pedestal empty. He replaces the it with a bag of sand that’s about the same size and weight.”

Now, leaving aside the fact that it’s, uh, pretty problematic that Indiana Jones is stealing ancient artifacts from indigenous people and his sandbag swap triggers a series of booby traps, I think what he does nicely illustrates something we should do when we’re trying to break bad habits. Instead of trying to break a bad habit cold turkey or replace it with something painfully virtuous, what if we swapped in something slightly less ‘bad’? Click To Tweet (more…)

How Much Is Your Habit Worth In Dollars? (Mine’s worth $280,000)

Wondering about habits to start? Thinking about which healthy habits would improve your life? When you know how much your habit is worth, it's easier to commit to it! Tap through to read more.  #goodhabits #badhabits #habitchange #goalsetting
My hands are a little sweaty as I click the ‘send’ button.

I pace around the living room, giving myself a pep talk. “You know what? Maybe this is what will get people to pay attention. I know it’s supposedly tacky to talk about but I think it’s important and I’m glad I did it. Yup? Yup. Yuuuuup.”

What did I do?


5 Summer Good Habits To Start Today

Looking for summer good habits to try? We're halfway through the year so this is the perfect time to build some new good habits! Click through to read more! #habits #goalsetting #selfdevelopment

We’ve juuuuuust past the halfway mark of the year. Is it year shaping up the way you’d hoped it would? Have you stuck to any of the goals you made in January?

Honestly, this year has been pretty just-keeping-my-head-above-water. Between family stuff, tons of fun-but-incredibly-time-consuming travel, and the Trump administration, it’s all I can do to tick the items of my Every Damn Day List.

But the halfway point in the year is a great time to re-commit and develop one good habit that will get you a tiny bit closer to being the person you want to be. During the summer, days are longer, work pressure might be a bit lighter, and most of us are in slightly better moods.

What a great time to make a change!


How To Strengthen Your Good Habit Muscle

Want to strengthen good habits? Or break bad habits? Click through for some unique habit building tips and goal-setting advice you've probably never heard before! #goalsetting #habits #goodhabits #badhabits

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

It’s January 17th and you’re 17 days into your new habit. You’re feeling pretty smug about being the sort of person who works out every morning, calls your senator every day, inserts-wholesome-activity-here.

In fact, you’re pretty sure that in four days you’ll cross over into the promised land of Established Habit! 21 days to a new you and all that, right?*

So when you wake up to an overcast sky or an empty fridge, you’re not too worried about – just this once! – not going to the gym. Or not calling your elected officials. Or not eating breakfast sitting down.

It’s just for today! You’ve been so good! Surely you can take a day off!

Of course you can.

But here’s the thing:
When we do something today, we’re making it easier to do it again tomorrow. Click To Tweet