Habits lie to us.
Especially short habits you can do quickly. If you’ve read Atomic Habits by James Clear, you’ve perhaps been overwhelmed by the Big Man’s Willy version of habit formation. It sounds grandiose. And it’s yuck.
Grandiose tasks rarely become habits. Our minds think they’re too big and take too much energy, so we never do them. Fast habits are better.
It takes 21 days to form a habit.
66 days to find a habit’s flow state.
6 months to get good at it.
1 year to make the new behavior automatic.
2 years to make the habit form part of your identity — but no one ever tells you that. We think powerful habits can be created quickly. There are different levels though.
Here are 26 fast habits to consider for a badass life.
- Your nights create your days. Prepare for tomorrow the night before. 15 minutes of planning is all you need.
- Remove two items a day off your to-do list. It’ll create enormous relief and give you energy to put into what truly matters.
- Post a tweet every day that takes 60 seconds to write. Sharing your ideas with the world makes you a human magnet.
- Send thank you messages. Manners are rare. A message after a great call or meeting helps cement your face in a person’s mind. They’re more likely to take action on next steps too.
- Reconnect with people from the past. Pretend like no time has gone by. Look up your high school yearbook. Choose a few names, then search for them on LinkedIn.
- Place your phone in another room when doing deep work.
- Walk in nature without listening to podcasts. The sounds of nature help relax the mind. When the mind is relaxed ideas flow effortlessly. These ideas will often change your life.
- Set up for a Zoom call 5 minutes before. Arriving last minute makes the meeting stressful. You won’t perform as well.
- Give a Toastmasters speech once a month. Public speaking is by far one of the biggest fears humans face. Toastmasters is a free club you can practice. They’re all over the world. When you master public speaking you become more confident. You’ll get promotions and attract more success.
- Regularly watch the best Youtube speech you’ve ever seen. My favorite is “This Is Water.” I watched it again today for the 100th time. The greatest advice should be heard often so it’s not forgotten.
- Write your thoughts down before bed each night. You’ll go to bed with an empty mind. Empty minds sleep 10x better, according to research.
- Do the hard tasks in the morning. The afternoon will feel like a victory.
- Close your web browser regularly so all the tabs you’re hoarding are lost. Don’t bring them back from the dead.
- Take ideas to the shower with you. The solutions often appear when you’re under warm water because the brain is relaxed.
- Answer most text messages at the end of the work day. Most of them are notifications of other people’s priorities, not yours.
- Debrief big projects. After every online course launch I do, I go back with my co-teacher and decide what worked well and what can be done better. Debriefs often help give birth to new ideas.
- Invest in an after hours activity every day. Some call it a side hustle. Who cares. Just make sure you’re spending time on an activity you love. This habit could become your career if you keep going. That’s how I became an online writer.
- Practice saying no. Decline requests you want to accept. Because you can always go back and change your mind. Mastering how to say no will save you a lot of time. And time is the currency of life, not money.
- Take the daily rejections and ask yourself “what good came from this?” Something always shows up.
- Before bed, tell your significant other one thing you appreciate about them. You’ll see the good in them by default and it’ll make your bond stronger. Gratitude overrides negative thoughts about other humans.
- Call your parents every weekend. One day they’ll be dead. You’ll wish you called them more often once they’re gone.
- Batch reply to emails. They make your mind wander all over the place. Choose set times to reply. Quick and dirty. And don’t reply to useless emails, because every email you send tends to generate a reply.
- Plan social events in advance. Our tendency is to get busy and make catching up with friends a low priority. If social time is already in the calendar, the friction to cancel it is often too high.
- Escape to the bush at least once a year. Go where there’s no phone reception. The technology addiction we all suffer from will become obvious.
- Delay responding to angry people. After a good night’s sleep a deeply demotivating message is easier to deal with. Low energy, bad response.
- Get into a flow state every day. Watch it produce extraordinary results you could never have imagined.
Do fast habits, die a legend.