Gretchen Rubin: make it convenient

gretchen rubin | AnnDaly.comI always thought it was a vice. A flaw, a failing, a sin of the mortal variety.

Just the other day, complaining to my neighbor: Oh, it takes 20 to 30 minutes each way, depending on the traffic, to get to the YMCA.

What a lazy excuse, right? If I were really committed to getting fit, if I weren’t such a lazy so-and-so, I’d get in the car right now and suck up the hour of travel time for a workout.

Well, I may be a lazy so-and-so, but Gretchen Rubin tells me in her new book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives, that, at least, I’m normal. Convenience, she explains, is a fundamental condition for making and maintaining good habits. If you want to do it, you’ve gotta make it easy to do:

“One thing that continually astonishes me is the degree to which we’re influenced by sheer convenience. The amount of effort, time, or decision making required by an action has a huge influence on habit formation. To a truly remarkable extent, we’re more likely to do something if it’s convenient, and less likely if it’s not.”

Convenience, at least in the making of good habits, turns out to be a virtue!

I’ve made laziness work for me, in other domains: the keys are always findable in the glass dish in the front hall; all my bills on dealt with on time by automatic payment; I make generous use of Central Market’s fresh, healthy, pre-made foods; there are device charging stations in kitchen, bedroom, and office.

“It’s a Secret of Adulthood,” Rubin writes. “Make it easy to do right, and hard to go wrong.”

(Also from Better Than Before: why you need clarity.)


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