Make it easy for yourself to start a habit and keep it

Netflix works to remove the friction to get you hooked and keep paying

In Netflix, the small button “watch next”, and the text “the next episode will start automatically in 5 seconds” are used to remove the friction and avoid you to drop off at the end of an episode.

You are immersed and it requires such a large amount of will power to get yourself out of the low friction button to watch the next episode, that you’re much more likely to continue watching.

They are also using the 30 days free trial (including your credit cards registration) to make it super easy to get started and painless to keep the subscription.

This discipline is called User Experience (UX). Their job is to keep you hooked longer on their app every day, and never quit paying the subscription, knowing that you can cancel any day. The goal of UX is to get your continuous and undivided attention.

Use UX to start and keep habits

By using low friction elements – like Netflix, you may find smart ways to make it easy for yourself to start or keep habits.

Get started with the habit with baby steps

When you want to start a habit, make it a low hanging fruit to get started. Start with only a small objective at each session.

You want to start running, your objective should be to run 5 minutes, and walk 15 minutes. If you achieve that you’ll be happy. But it’s more likely that you’ll stick to it.

If you want to eat healthy, do not go from black to white in one day. Go step by step with a defined plan. It’s easier to lower the intensity, rather than quit altogether.

The important point is to lower your expectations. If you start running with the expectation to run 42 km in one week, you might be quickly disappointed.

You need to focus on the pleasure you get from a painless, low expectation experience. By building the appreciation of the journey, you will be more likely to stick to it and reach a larger objective on the long run.

Stick to the habit by removing any possible friction

If you want to go to the gym in the morning, then prepare your clothes the night before.

If the gym is far away, perhaps it will be harder in the winter when it’s dark and cold outside. You should then perhaps consider doing it at home every morning. It helps you get the blood flowing, you have no excuse not to do it, you don’t need to commute somewhere. You’re directly effective. 15 minutes and you’re done.

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