Make Your Bed

Navy SEAL Admiral William H. McRaven:

It was a simple task — mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle-hardened SEALs, but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

James Clear:

For two and a half decades during her adult life, starting when she left for college and extending into her 40s, Lee never made her bed except for when her mother or guests dropped by the house.

At some point, she decided to give it another try and managed to make her bed four days in a row—a seemingly trivial feat. However, on the morning of that fourth day, when she finished making the bed, she also picked up a sock and folded a few clothes lying around the bedroom. Next, she found herself in the kitchen, pulling the dirty dishes out of the sink and loading them into the dishwasher, then reorganizing the Tupperware in a cupboard and placing an ornamental pig on the counter as a centerpiece.

She later explained, “My act of bed-making had set off a chain of small household tasks… I felt like a grown-up—a happy, legit grown-up with a made bed, a clean sink, one decluttered cupboard, and a pig on the counter. I felt like a woman who had miraculously pulled herself up from the energy-sucking Bermuda Triangle of Household Chaos.”

She was experiencing the Domino Effect.

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Your New Identity

Steve Kamb on developing grit and stepping into a new identity:

Identify the new “identity” you want to have. The more specific you can be with it, the easier it’ll be to prove it to yourself. “I’m the type of person that never misses a workout.” “I’m somebody who eats a healthy lunch every day.” “I’m somebody who works on my side business every dang day.” Remind yourself of this EVERY day by hanging up a post-it note on your bathroom window, or using your phone/calendar to keep this at the front of your mind.

James Clear:

The key to building lasting habits is focusing on creating a new identity first. Your current behaviors are simply a reflection of your current identity.

To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. You need to build identity-based habits.

And:

1. Decide the type of person you want to be.

2. Prove it to yourself with small wins.

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Never Miss Twice

James Clear and Rich Roll discuss momentum, and what to do when you break a streak:

James Clear: All habit streaks end at some point. Everybody slips up at some point. The mantra that I like to keep in mind for that is: never miss twice.

If I work out at the gym Monday-Wednesday-Friday, and I miss on Friday — because of a business trip or whatever — then I need to put all my energy into making sure I get in there on Monday. I don’t want to miss twice in a row.

It’s pretty much never the first mistake that ruins you. It’s the spiral of repeated mistakes that follows. So if you can get back on track quickly… I think I had a line in the book: “Missing once is a mistake, missing twice is the start of a new habit.”

Rich Roll: Yeah, cause then it creates its own negative momentum.

James Clear: Exactly.

Source: Rich Roll podcast, episode 401

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Habits & Identity

James Clear on the effect that habits have on your self-image:

Your habits are the way that you embody a particular identity. So, every morning that you make your bed, you embody the identity of an organized person. Every time you go to the gym, you embody the identity of someone who’s fit. Every time you sit down to write, you embody the identity of someone who’s a writer.

Every action you take is kind of like a vote for the type of person that you believe that you are. As you take these actions, you build up evidence of a particular identity, and pretty soon your beliefs have something to root themselves in. It’s like, “Man, I showed up at the gym for 4 days a week for the last three months; I guess I’m the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts” — and that I think is the true reason why habits are so important.

Once I realized how beliefs and behaviors are connected, that it’s this two-way street… then I started to think that this is really something. Not only does it deliver those external results — the clean room, or the bigger bank account — but also the internal results of shaping your sense of self-image and what you believe.

Source: Rich Roll podcast, episode 401

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