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By: Michael Blankenship |

“Champions don’t do extraordinary things. They do ordinary things, but they do them without thinking, too fast for the other team to react. They follow the habits they’ve learned.”

– Charles Duhigg

Good morning!

Did you know that placebo medication (i.e. sugar pills) works even if you know it’s a placebo? “You don’t need deception or concealment for many conditions to get a significant and meaningful placebo effect”, Dr. Ted J. Kaptchuk says. It makes us wonder if there’s a market for placebo pills that could actually help people. But also… we’re guessing that whichever entrepreneur tackles that is going to need a lot of good lawyers.

– Mike & Alec


Charles Duhigg, the author of books like The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better has spent a lifetime studying human psychology.

Specifically, why we do the things we do.

His research suggests that every habit consists of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue is what triggers the habit, the routine is the habit itself, and the reward is why we do the habit in the first place — because it provides some sense of pleasure or relief.

An example of this would be:

  • Cue: You feel anxious about a test tomorrow.
  • Routine: You chew your nails.
  • Reward: You feel relief from your anxiety.

Now we’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news, as Charles Duhigg points out, is that “you can’t extinguish a bad habit.”

But the good news follows that statement: “you can only change it.”

He continues, “Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.”

Okay Mr, Duhigg… So how do we change our habits?

“To change a habit, you must keep the old cue, and deliver the old reward, but insert a new routine.”

The cue and the reward of our habit cycles are sticky — you’ve probably noticed this from trying to quit bad habits in the past.

But the routine (the part we really care about anyway) is adjustable so long as it is triggered by the same cue and provides the same reward as the bad habit we’re trying to undo.

What does this look like practically?

Well, what if your anxiety triggered you to go for a walk, exercise, or journal instead of chewing your nails? Those habits would provide the same relief (probably more so) and could be triggered by the same cue.

Write down a habit that you’d like to change — determine the cue, the routine, and the reward.

Then plug a new healthier routine into that habit cycle.

We give up so much of our control in life by not paying attention to our automatic behaviors. But by documenting our habits, and intentionally plugging in new routines, anyone can make significant change.

Here are a few articles to check out about breaking bad habits and starting new healthier ones…

The Reasons You Choose

The 48 seconds it takes you to watch this video is well worth the inspiration it provides.

“There’s always reasons to quit and there’s always reasons to keep going and the reasons you choose will define you,” Justin Prince explains to a room full of entrepreneurs.

He continues…

“My friends, here’s what I want you to think about. There’s reasons right now to quit your business… we could write a list. There’s also reasons to keep going in your business; we need to make that list a little bit longer. It needs to outweigh the reasons to quit. It’s like a scale. If there’s more reasons to quit than there is to keep going, you’re gonna quit.

All success is uphill, all the way. You don’t accidentally go up the hill. You have to intentionally go up the hill. If you can stack the reasons to keep going, you’ll pick those reasons because there’s more.

There’s reasons to quit your faith, there’s reasons to quit your marriage, there’s reasons to quit your workout program, your diet program, all of it. And there’s also reasons to keep going. And the reasons you choose will define you.”

In other words, you find what you’re looking for.

If you look for reasons to quit, you’ll find them. If you look for reasons to keep going, you’ll find them. Direct your focus where you want to go and you’ll achieve far more, far more quickly.

Image of The Week

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

What is as big as an elephant, but weighs nothing at all?

This Week’s Journaling Prompt

Take some to answer this question in a journal.

What do you want to accomplish this week? Prioritize the list in order of what’s most important urgency-wise… and then what’s most important to YOU. How can you make more time for the things you love to work on?

This Week’s Challenge

Date yo’self! Think about which of the above self-love languages apply to you and then schedule some time to do something that will refill your tank. You need to love yourself. No one can do that for you

Riddle Answer: The shadow of an elephant.

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