What will make this easier?

There’s a short question I like to ask myself about once a week: What will make this easier?

It’s such a simple question that it’s easy to overlook its usefulness.

This is an especially helpful question when it comes to habits you’re trying to develop.

Let’s say you’ve decided to create a habit of waking up at 6:30 am.

You might start by setting your alarm for 6:30 every morning to get up.

If you’re like most people, by day three you’re exhausted because you’re not getting enough sleep.

What will make getting up at 6:30 am easier?

The answer might be to go to bed earlier, so you’re getting more sleep. 

And what will make that easier? Getting ready for bed earlier.

And what will make that easier? Being specific about what “earlier” means, let’s say 9:30 pm.

And what will make that easier? Not stressing about falling asleep at a specific time.

You might use the technique of habit shaping (described in James Clear’s book Atomic Habits) to start getting ready for bed earlier and not set your alarm for 6:30 am yet. Instead, phase 1 of getting up earlier is regularly getting ready for bed at 9:30. Phase 2 might be laying down to go to sleep at 10 pm. Then you might add other phases before introducing the last phase of setting your alarm for 6:30 am.

It seems so simple to create a habit of getting up at 6:30 every morning, but if you don’t take a step back and ask, “what will make this easier?” you’ll miss necessary steps to create this habit successfully.

What habit are you trying to create? 

What would make that easier?