Incremental units of measure

Earlier this week I wrote about creating incremental habits and how they can lead to significant amounts completed by the end of the year.

You start with one, and then increment one and one per week.

So what’s a good unit of measure? It could be anything like these:

  • A single page in a book
  • A single pushup
  • A minute doing something

The key I think is to keep it small. I’ll explain in a later post why I’ve reached this conclusion

Small units that lead to big results

A small unit of measure seems small, perhaps insignificant.

The key would be to start with a unit small enough, so over the course of a year, doing 52 of that unit won’t kill you.

  • I can read 52 pages in a book, but attempting to read 52 chapters would be insane.
  • I can spend 52 minutes doing something like practicing guitar, but not 52 hours or even playing 52 songs.

Whether your habit is weekly or daily makes a difference too.

Weekly vs. daily habits

If I attempt to start riding my bike one mile per day, and increase it to 52 miles daily by the end of the year, that’s just not going to happen due to lack of available time.

But I could pull off 52 miles in a week, if I make the habit a weekly habit.

On the flip side, if I set a habit of doing 52 push ups a week by the end of the year, that seems a bit too easy. I could do 52 pushups now (although painfully) in one day. So for this habit, I’ve made it a habit to do X number of pushups every morning until reaching 52 by the end of the year. Right now, doing one measly pushup seems wimpy, but if I can get to 52 every morning, it’s worth starting at such an insignificant number.

Next time I’ll share why I think a weekly increment is better than daily.