Making a habit stick makes other habits stick easier

June 15, 2015 by Joshua
in Exercises, Fitness, Habits, SIDCHAs, Visualization

In yesterday’s session on starting habits, when I described how easy it was finally to floss my teeth daily after I started my burpees. An attendee asked me to clarify. After the session ended, others asked me to clarify more and the following diagrams emerged.

Starting burpees

This chart schematically shows my burpee habit performance.

Starting burpees

For about forty years I never did a burpee. Then one day I did ten and I continued doing them from then on.

Flossing before burpees

This chart schematically shows my flossing habit before I started doing burpees. The red line shows my flossing effort, overlaying the gray line of my burpee effort.

Flossing before burpees

It illustrates two main things. First, I started and stopped flossing several times. Second, the difficulty of flossing is tiny compared to doing burpees.

Flossing after burpees

This chart schematically shows my flossing habit after starting burpees.

Flossing after burpees

It illustrates that after starting the difficult habit of daily burpees, starting the easy habit of daily flossing was trivial, despite having failed to have made the habit stick so many times before.


Making a habit stick makes other habits stick too. I think of making a habit stick as a skill, or set of skills. The more you practice the skills the better you practice them.

In particular, making hard habits stick makes easier ones stick easier.

Learn to make Meaningful Connections

with a simple, effective exercise from my book, Leadership Step by Step.


  • Step by step instructions
  • Video examples of me and Marshall Goldsmith
  • An excerpt from my book

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