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January 11, 2012 - sacha chua :: living an awesome life

January 11, 2012

Bulk view

Tip: Use visibility to motivate new habits

The urge to check things off can be a great way to start a new habit. On our recent trip to the Philippines, we found out that packing our vitamin supplements into pill organizers made it much easier to remember to take them daily. I get this compulsion to tick things off in order, to open each box on the right day, to see the chain of empty boxes grow.

It’s a well-known trick, this idea of making habits visible. Jerry Seinfeld says don’t break that chain, and that works wonders. It’s part anticipation and part loss aversion. People use it to pick up all sorts of habits. Mel Chua uses it to get the hang of flossing her teeth, for example. Visible progress is wonderful.

We’re back home now, but I’m going to keep using the pill organizers to keep track of supplements. Let’s see what else might benefit from this idea…