´ The Weird Math of Habits -
March 1, 2015

One thing that keeps people back from embarking on activities and habits they know are good for them is this idea that doing something often needs tons of willpower. The more often you try to shape your thoughts in a more helpful direction = the more willpower you need = the harder it is. Actually the exact opposite is the case.

Let’s say you attempted to implement a good habit once a week. Sometimes it works out, other times you struggle like crazy. Our mental math goes something like this:

Number of attempts x resistance = Y (effort)

Therefore if you would put in more effort the math would look like this:

5 times per week x resistance = 5Y

Who wants 5 times or even 7 times more struggle than before? Let’s not start at all.

However habit math goes more like this:

Resistance / number of attempts = Daily effort

So if on a scale of 1-100 you feel maximum resistance (100) and you divide it by the number of attempts (1) the result is maximum effort (100) to overcome something. But if on the other hand you attempt something 5 times the effort averages suddenly around 20.

Now that doesn’t mean you won’t have hard days where the effort is 100. However it is likely that for every day like that you will have one or more days when the effort is 0 and things just flow.


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