Reducing friction to zero

Reading time: 2 min

Returning home from work or education, you think about doing something you want to do regularly, such as working out. Fatigue overwhelms you and you lose all the willpower to go through with it, giving yourself the excuse of being tired and then saying you'll do it tomorrow. And then you forget about it until the next day.

The way I overcome this is by reducing the friction required to start working out to zero. I now place equipment right on the corner of my desk (where I pass by the most), right next to my exercise space, located right between my desk and bed.

Rather than keeping it hidden away in the corner of my room, I now place it in a highly visible position and I just have to pick it up as I walk by.

The friction I have to overcome to start working out is so low, it's zero. No thought required, no willpower necessary. Even better when I place a laptop next to my equipment, so I can do my stacked habit (of watching videos) together, such that my 'immediate reward' is right there.

As another example, I now place a Kindle on my bedside table to make reading as easy as just reaching over to pick it up.

This method has a few benefits:

  • It's impossible to forget the commitment when it's one of the first things you see when passing by that part of your home
  • Passing by so often makes it exceedingly convenient to start the habit at any time
  • When you do start, the time and effort required for starting is so low that motivation becomes practically optional
  • Once you start, it’s easy to continue

See also:
What else we can do to prevent ourselves from dropping habits

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