How I Got Myself Addicted to Success and Made $44,064 in 217 Days

In November 2016 I researched the methods that companies use to get their users addicted. Little that I know that this was the beginning of my path into making forty thousand dollars in around half a year.

It all start with reading a special book…

The knowledge that fueled my success came from Hooked, written by Nir Eyal. It breaks down how companies get users to keep coming back for more of what they offer. It also provides a framework for creating your own “Hook model.”

I wasn’t interested in getting people addicted to my product. I also didn’t have a product, or an app to drive users to, and I didn’t even have the means to create one.

What I did have access to was myself, my habits, and my inhibitions. I had never succeeded in transforming my social life and finances, but I was definitely craving it.

In this article I want to outline what I learned from Hooked. Then I want to share details of how I repurposed its best methods to create addictions for myself. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. I was in control of the addictions I created.

I designed every habit to promote my personal success and growth, and you can too.

Overview of Hooked terms

Hooked goes over a four stage model that keeps users coming back. Each stage is successful when it leads the user into the next stage.

Don’t worry if the terms below don’t make sense on their own.

I will share a visual example of how Uber uses these techniques in just a moment :)

Trigger — the provoking event that starts the hook. It can be internal or external.

Action — the action completed in anticipation of the reward.

  • You want the action to be easy to complete.
  • You want to motivation to complete the action.

Variable reward

  • Predictable feedback loops do not create desire.
  • The quality of the reward’s variance is what makes us come back and want more.

Investment

  • When the user puts something into the product or service such as time, data, money, or social capital.
  • Increases the chances that the user will enter the Hook cycle down the road.

How companies design your habits…

An example of how Uber takes users through the Hook model can be seen below. Credits to Steve McCarthy.

If this is blowing your mind, you’re not alone. Big companies are literally putting users through a hamster wheel. They’re getting them stuck inside artificial addictions!

The good news is that we can reverse engineer corporate tactics, learn how to thwart them, and create our own.

Companies benefit from hooked users for a variety of reasons:

  • Increased lifetime value
  • Pricing flexibility (being able to jack up prices)
  • Supercharged growth
  • Sharpens their competitive edge
  • Builds the mind monopoly (i.e. you’re lonely, go to Facebook. Have a question, Google.”)

There are many ways you could benefit from using the Hook model on yourself. Here are a few examples:

  • Increased personal growth
  • Succeeding at goals quicker
  • Increased salary
  • Improved mood

Can you think of other positive effects of designing beneficial habits for yourself? Please share them down below!

What my plan for getting hooked to success looked like

After learning what it takes to create a Hook loop, I drafted a personal improvement plan for myself. At the time I had a vague idea of what I would need from it.

I would need a model which would incentivize me to keep track of my progress. This would make it possible to keep track of my habits and their impact on me. It would also make it possible to see the “return on investment.”

I also wanted a model which would reward me with triggers. For example, Uber rewards users with coupons. Those coupons have to be put into the app before they expire (which requires a time investment from the user). When the coupons are close to expire, they trigger the user into “using” Uber.

Last year I fumbled around with triggers actions, rewards, and investment stages. It took a few weeks to get it down right and this is what my daily routine ended up looking like.

Overview of my daily routine and Hook Model

Wake up, update the Reporter app to jot how I slept along with any dream notes.

Shower — See 10 minute morning routine trigger

In my shower I used clear tape to put up a note identical to the one below:

This would prompt me to think about Tony Robbin’s 10 minute morning routine. It involves breathing exercises, being grateful, and envisioning your success.

“I made a deal with myself: If you don’t have 10 minutes for yourself, you don’t have a life. There’s no excuse. So I have 10 minutes, and I do this little ritual.” — Tony Robbins

After seeing the trigger (i.e. note), I was bound to complete the exercise in the shower. My reward was feeling accomplished and knowing that “I had a life.” It was an easy exercise to get done in the shower and there was no excuse for missing it.

Make tea, walk into workspace — See whiteboard session trigger

When I would enter my workspace I would see three whiteboards. At least one had the words “do you want to imagine a new world?” written on it. This was my hook into one of the most exciting moments of my day.

I would spend 10 minutes in a whiteboard session. This involves random word associations, word splatters, and freestyle creation. It would give me the time to spend thinking about the ideas I want to manifest in the world.

It would give me the freedom to create for a small portion of my day. I wouldn’t have to fear logistics and execution during this time. I wouldn’t have to ask myself what was possible and what wasn’t.

Complete whiteboarding session — see meditation trigger

Next to my whiteboards there was a yoga mat. This was my trigger to meditate for 20 minutes. After meditating I would start with my day.

My desk was kept clear and free of clutter. It’s proven that clutter cramps productivity. By making my tools accessible, I was more likely to engage in actions that would drive me to my success.

Random triggers throughout the day

I used the Reporter app to ask me me questions throughout the day about what I was currently doing or working on. This triggered me into being productive at times where it caught me off guard. I also used my phone to create an alarm for myself to engage in a method of meditation I invented for myself.

1–10 minute meditation trigger

I would meditate one minute one day. I would actively think about the best ways to go about improving myself and my life.

The next day I would meditate for two minutes. I would continue on until I reached a 10 minute session on the 10th day.

The following day I would meditate 1 minute again, continuing with the pattern.

The benefit of this meditation strengthened my mind and primed me for success. I will write about why I invented this method soon. I will be sure to include details about what it does to your mind when you use it!

Investment of Time, Data, and Analytics

Every single day I invested time into using Toggl to keep track of the actions I was taking towards my success. If that involved writing an email, I would keep track of it and connect it to a respective project. Even though I wasn’t using the time tracked for invoicing, it was still valuable to me.

When I began to see rewards from my projects, I jotted the time it took to reach those rewards using Airtable.

This gave me the ability to visualize what I was benefiting most from working on. It made it a breeze to focus my efforts for the upcoming day, and weeks.

Reward, Reward, Rewards!

Anytime I earned $100 I threw a special dice-cube. My reward was $1–6 of which could be used on anything I wanted. The reward was being able to “shamelessly spend.” It gave me the opportunity to enjoy financial rewards in a small amount versus saving, investing, or paying bills.

The benefit of this was that it encouraged me with a variable reward. It also encouraged me to keep “winning” because $1–6 is not a lot.

Not to mention that just seeing the dice-cube, without being able to spin it for a reward, really motivated me.

You also have to play the game of earning $100 many times before you can have a big enough “shameless fund” to get something exciting for yourself.

Additionally, I set aside $2 for every $100 I made to use on buying pebbles or saving up for a crystal.

I could also use these funds for driving to places to look for pebbles or crystals, if I was in the mood for such a thing.

The pebbles I collected were rewards, but triggers too ;)

I would envision buying my first home and using a collection of pebbles, and crystals, to make a walking path.

It takes a lot of pebbles to make a decent pathway. It also takes a lot to buy or find those pebbles, and if I didn’t end up succeeding enough to be closer to getting a house I would just end up with a pile of rubble.

No one wants a pile of rubble!

Invest Socially

In the book Hooked, an investment is described as putting in time, data, money, or social capital. I wanted to invest socially by sharing what I was doing and holding myself accountable.

I also wanted to be able to answer the questions others had on their own path. It would encourage me to keep growing and learning.

Nothing is more rewarding than learning and helping others in the process!

Most of all, I wanted to inspire myself and I wanted to inspire others. I created a sure-fire way to succeed by designing a Hook Model loop for personal development.

Using your Hook model on yourself is bound to be beneficial. All it takes is patience and you’ll be seeing your own results in no time.

But to be perfectly frank with you, this article has been written in the past tense. I have not earned forty four thousand dollars. I’m not even interested in making monetary goals.

It made for a good title and interesting hook to say the least…

Regardless of the dollars I have made or not made, I’m on my way to seeing a different world come to light. I’m waking up and working towards it every single day.

I encourage you to work towards your own reality and to never give up on your dreams!

End of day 20 minute routine trigger

Spending 20 minutes on ending your day and planning for the next can go a long way in your success.

My trigger for this last routine was a phone alarm. I also kept my notebook close to my desk, which I would use to write down upcoming tasks.

During this routine I would spend a few minutes looking over what I accomplished and work on the next day’s to-do list.

Then I would clear my desk and make sure all of my triggers were placed in their proper places.

Before sleep — 20 minutes of meditating

Before sleeping I would log my day into the Reporter app. Then I would meditate for 20 minutes.

What results will you get from getting your own self hooked to your success?
You’ve probably chased after a partner, a career, or a certification before. Have you ever chased after your ultimate self?
I invite you into the beautiful journey of self-growth, self-love, acceptance, and unity.

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Originally published at storyofoctavian.com.