Having finished 1st-year final exams at medical school, throughout the weeks of revision, I noticed that it wasn’t difficult for me to revise for a substantial number of hours a day and it eventually became a habit and a part of my routine to work within a given time frame every day.
Reflecting upon this time, I ask myself the question: ‘Why can’t I treat everything in life the way I treat exams and have a high level of deep work and focus to achieve an outcome?’ And I came up with a few ideas.
If I didn’t revise for my medical school exams I would fail and be kicked out, meaning all my efforts to get into this position and my dreams to be a Doctor would fall apart. The fear of failure is an aspect that keeps me motivated.
However, with other habits, we try to pick up in life e.g being consistent in the gym or reading more, there is a harsh enough repercussion we face if we do not stick to the habit.
Implementing a ‘harsh repercussion’ linked to a developing habit can somewhat motivate you to continue in times of struggle. This can be in the form of an accountability partner or a bet of some sort. Having the additional pressure to fail can be healthy to a certain extent.
“The people who achieve extraordinary results don’t achieve them by working more hours, they achieve them by getting more done in the hours they work” — Gary Keller
Most habits that we seek to develop have a material outcome in mind. Of course, this doesn’t follow every aspect of our life but it does for the most part.
We read books so that we can pass tests or tell others that we’ve done so.
We go to the gym to look good and impress the others around us.
The point of an identity-based habit is that even if there wasn’t material gain to come from it, you would still be doing it. I don’t gain a lump sum from writing and I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to.
However, with or without the financial gain I would still enjoy writing and would not like to give up the habit forever.
People who are successful in their craft are people who have built IDENTITY-BASED HABITS around the things that they love. That way, your habits are not fuelled by material or external validation but by your own identity.
What’s the 2-day rule?
The 2-day rule states that “You won’t allow yourself to skip goal/habit/activity for two days in a row.”
When we first start building a habit, it can be quite daunting because in our initial spark of motivation, we’re tempted to set a very optimistic 7 or 30-day consistent goal.
But, that’s not very realistic and will likely result sooner than later in failure and discouragement if it’s something that is foreign to you.
Give yourself a 2-day window to ensure you complete the given task, allowing momentum to take action.
“The most calculated outcome-based habits can still fail because they don’t take into consideration the ever-evolving nature of you.” — Faisal Jamshaid
Have a great week!
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