Don’t Miss 2 Days

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In Superhuman by Habit, Tynan tells us:

“I was talking to a friend about a daily habit that I had. He asked me what I did when I missed a day. I told him about my strategies and how I tried to avoid missing a day. What do you do when you miss two days, he asked. I don’t miss two days, I replied. Missing two days of a habit is habit suicide. If missing one day reduces your chances of long-term success by a small amount like five percent, missing two days reduces it by forty percent or so. Three days missed and you may as well be starting over. At that point you have lost your momentum and have made it far too easy to skip in the future. … The solution is to plan your day around the habit for the next day. Rather than say, ‘Okay, I’m definitely going to do it tomorrow,’ decide specifically when you’re going to do it, and come up with solutions to problems in advance, particularly whatever problem stopped you from executing in the first place.”

In How to Change, Dr. Katie Milkman tells us:

Aim for streaks. Anything more than a short lapse in a behavior you hope to make habitual (say, multiple missed visits to the gym, as opposed to just one) can keep a new habit from forming or disrupt an existing one.”

I use this tactic all the time with my #1(sleep) and #2(exercise) self-care habits. If I miss out on getting a good night’s sleep then nothing is more important the next day than prioritizing all the behaviors I can that give me the best chance at getting a good night’s sleep. Similarly, if I miss a workout then I prioritize working out the following day.

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