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Losing a habit

While building a habit is quite a hard thing to do, losing a habit that we have worked hard to build is quite easy. It's a slippery slope.

You slip one day, and that soon cascades into slipping on more days.

What it boils down to is how we manage exceptions. As the saying goes, "It is much harder to do something 98% of the time than it is to do it 100% of the time."

Take the example of waking up at 6 every morning. If you have decided to wake up at 6 in the morning 100% of the time, then you have absolutely no excuses. Whether you are feeling tired that day, or you had to stay up late the previous night, or you didn't sleep well enough the previous night, you still need to be up at 6. No exceptions.

However, if you are committed to waking up at 6 only 98% of the time, then you need to decide whether every excuse that you come up with for not waking up at 6 falls under the 2% allowance or not. Given that we are rationalizing beings, if there is an excuse, we will find a way to rationalize it under the 2% and hit snooze. And this soon cascades into us slipping on a lot more days than just 2%.

If you don't want to lose a habit, leave no room for exceptions. You continue doing it no matter what. Even if the quality suffers on that day, you are going to pick up again the next. But, you won't lose the habit altogether.

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