How To Keep A Habit: Make it a Default Action

For an app, when you have settings on default, a segment of your audience will never touch it. The path of least resistance is to just let it be.

By default, Facebook is designed to take your information and only give you the posts that they think you’d like and agree with. You have to turn it off manually.

But most people won’t.

With YouTube, even if your intentions are to watch one video and that’s it, the “Related Videos” sidebar automatically shows up as a constant reminder to check out more videos — you can’t turn it off.

That’s how companies build highly effective products: they make the default choice the one that keeps you on their site longer.

You can borrow this lesson from these famous tech companies and incorporate it into your life.

  • How can you change your environment so that the choice you want to make is the default one?

  • How can you make the path of least resistance the one you want it to be?

Some ways to make your defaults easier:

  • To eat healthy: Stocking your kitchen only with healthy foods so that those potato chips are simply inaccessible

  • To start exercising in the morning: Setting up your gym clothes the night before by the door, so that all you have to do is put them on the next morning

  • To start meditating: have a yoga mat rolled out on the floor and put your alarm clock next to it so you have to move to it in the morning

… and so on.

There are numerous ways you can make your life easier when you just make it the easiest choice to take. You shouldn’t have to fight temptation everywhere you go. You’re going to lose if you want to quit smoking, but leave cigarettes everywhere in your house.