How to design habits that stick?

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” — James Clear

Charlene Wang
An Idea (by Ingenious Piece)


Why are habits important?

Studies show that at least 40% of the daily activities are habitual. As F. M. Alexander writes, “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.”

I’ve always been curious about building and optimizing habits. I first tried to write about habits on October 2, 2014. I couldn’t find the right words to express. Then, in 2015, I went into the productivity rabbit hole, studied how top performers work, and built many systems to mirror their habits and increase my productivity.

As I learned about productivity, I realized that the industry was full of “best practices.” I wanted a simple framework to understand where I am, where I want to be, and what can take me there. I was still a fan of productivity gurus, but I was looking for a different kind of productivity. One that honors our feelings and supports my wellbeing on the bad days.

Since I haven’t found a guide that fulfills my desire, I’ve decided to write my guide. I thought to share the experiments I ran and what has worked for me. By the end of this article, I hope you get to design habits that stick.

What I have tried (and failed)