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  • Writer's pictureJosh Wymore

1+1: Consistency beats intensity + Atomic Habits

Hey there! Here’s one leadership idea and one resource I’ve found beneficial this week:

A grapefruit sliced in half

1 idea: Consistency beats intensity

"Sometimes all you need for exceptional results is average effort repeated for an above-average amount of time." - James Clear

At some point in my twenties, I decided on a whim to do "the grapefruit diet." I love grapefruit, and I wanted to drop a few pounds. What could go wrong?

When I told my wife, she said, "Have you done any research on it? Do you know how it works?" "No," I said. "I'm just going to eat nothing but grapefruit for a few days."

After a few days of that "diet," I have an hypothesis. Have you ever heard of the grapefruit-flavored soda called Squirt? Well, I think that the person who named that soda got the inspiration from eating nothing but grapefruit for two days.

Suffice it to say, the diet didn't last. But what did linger longer than it should have was my inclination to try and make up for Consistency (in this case, easting healthily) with Intensity (a binge diet).

I know I’m not alone here. There’s a reason that diet pills are a billion-dollar industry and Ponzi schemes remain so attractive. Human beings by nature love quick fixes and loathe the slow and boring ones.

But the truth is that most growth occurs slowly over time. And if that’s true, it means you should take a close look at your habits and figure out how to tweak them so that they help you become more of the person you want to be.

As an example, here are four simple habits—merely average efforts—that have paid big dividends for me personally:

  1. Read for at least five minutes a day. If you want a break from life, don't turn on a screen; crack open a book instead! Night time, morning time—shoot, even bathroom-time—it doesn’t matter when. But if you can sustain this habit, you’ll find that you slowly become a well-read person.

  2. Journal 10 minutes a day. This is my most critical morning routine hands-down because it forces me to stop and think about my thinking. My frustrations, exciting developments, and life questions all get worked out here. If you want to deepen your self-awareness, you need times of reflection like these.

  3. Pause for 3 minutes of reflection in the middle of your day. During this brief pause, I notice where my priorities have been disordered throughout the morning or when I've been stressed by an issue without consciously addressing it. Re-centering in this way gives me a choice for how I want to proceed, and that choice is powerful.

  4. Fast from one or two meals a week. I resisted starting this practice for months before finally saying yes. I love eating! Why should I stop? It seemed silly. But I’ve noticed that by saying No to my body on a regular basis, I’ve gained more awareness of when I’m actually hungry and more control over my eating impulses. I’ve also slimmed down a bit and maintained a healthier weight due to this increased self control.


What about you?

  • What are two simple habits you could start today?

  • How long would you like to try it for? One week? One month?

  • What is one simple habit you will start today?

1 resource: Atomic Habits

James Clear’s book on habits wasn’t the first one, but it was a New York Times bestseller because of how clear (pun intended) he makes the habit-forming process. If you like the idea of the formative power of the micro-habits described above, you’ll enjoy Atomic Habits.

You can find the book on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

Cover of James Clear's book Atomic Habits

Note: If you purchase a book via the link above, we may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you).

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