Imagine for a moment that starting your day with a difficult habit and as your day progresses you reduce the difficulty of each habit.
For such a system to exist, it must have the following:
- actionable, easily able to verify your most difficult to least difficult habits
- obvious, habits that are accountable and attractive
I believe I’ve developed a method that I like to call the ‘reduction steps of habit‘, where I can assign myself the most difficult habits at the start of the day because I’m more productive in the mornings. And, follow-through with the selection of habits with ease as the day comes to an end.
So, let’s break this down and provide some definitions for clarity:
The (y-variable) – Time, setting the scope of the day in conjunction with your habits, so morning to evenings. The (x-variable) – Difficulty, starting the day by completing the most arduous habit and ease into the rest of the day with less demanding habits.
By completing a difficult habit in the early morning, you gain that mental advantage of a win as you begin with your day. And, this mentality is like a preset to overcoming the challenges of the day.
The thought process behind the reduction step, it provides that dopamine boost as you progress down each step. It is a way to make one ‘feel accomplished’ about completing a difficult habit. And secondly, no-one likes to complete a difficult habit in the evenings hence ending the day with easier habits.
I used Figure 1 as an initial template – through research, I started to consider my most and least difficult habits. Here, are few examples to consider:
Figure 2 highlights by creating an association bar (hard, medium and easy) for the level of difficulty, it provides an indication where I can place my habits accordingly within that week.
I can position myself to allocate my habits into varying difficulties. By doing this, I experimented with the following:
I demoted a habit to a lower difficulty based on how comfortable I felt. The reason for this is as a difficult habit becomes easier to accomplish I should practice that habit at a later stage of the day. Hence, leaving room for new difficult habits to take place. And, if the demoted habit becomes difficult to manage I can promote it back to a higher difficulty.
There is versatility in following the reduction habit of steps because you are not subjected to the same pattern of habits each week. The ability to promote and demote habits (upon your own decision) provides leverage to your day and how you manage each habit accordingly.
As they say, you should practice what you preach and for this reason, I’ve devised a working template that I’m currently following as highlighted in (Figure 3).
So, give it a try and see if this can be useful to you. I would be very much interested to know your feedback on this.
I am a writer and a graduate engineer working in Leicester, UK.