Have you ever started to pursue a goal in your life, just to see yourself slacking off after a week or two (or less)? Well, so have I...

I've tried quite a few methods to be able to make my habits stick. I'm not really interested in something that only lasts for a while because I'm not motivated enough. It's not really all about motivation, though. I've learned about myself that I can feel inspired, motivated and willing to add a new habit to my everyday life (for example exercising regularly). But even so, I've never found a way to actually maintain it for a significant amount of time.

Then I had a flash of insight about the whole approach I had tried (and not tried). I wasn't using the right method, and I already knew that, I just couldn't figure out the "right" method for me. Now, I've tried my new method for a while, and I felt from get-go that this was by far the best method I've tried during my entire life.

The concept of what I like to call "Effortless Challenge" is extremely simple: See how long you can maintain your new habit without missing a single day/session of your habit-to-be.

For example, one of my first attempts at this method was to get out and run three times a week, and lift weights at home three times a week (with sundays being my "free" day).
For me, this was a real challenge (evidence could easily be found by looking into my past), but this time around it felt different...

I actually felt motivated every time I had scheduled myself to go out and run.
I didn't want to fail my challenge. What if I could only do this challenge for three days? That would have been really lame. I wanted to be able to do this challenge for a long time. And I also knew that if I would "fail" after just a few days, I'd want to do better the next time I tried the same challenge.

So if I could only do this challenge for three days, then get demotivated/lazy, I knew that I would want to be able to complete at least four days at my next attempt. This felt like an extremely fail-safe approach. If I would fail, I knew that I'd want to do better the next time around.

So, come up with a habit you'd like to add to your everyday life (I'm sure you have something on your mind, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this!).
Then try to see how many days or sessions (whatever you prefer) you can actually maintain doing this new habit of yours. Can you manage to do it in 7 consecutive days? 14 days? A month? 6 months? Maybe even a year?

The best thing about this method is that it works with almost any kind of habit you're trying to create or erase.

A simple list of possible habits to add to (or erase from) your life could be:

  • Exercise three times per week
  • No junk food
  • No smoking
  • No caffeine
  • No Facebook/Twitter
  • Read books one hour each day
  • Work on an important project two hours a day
  • Wake up early each morning
  • Visit friends and family at least once a week
  • Eat at least two fruits each day

You can probably come up with other ideas for your own habits, but I think you get the point. Personally, this method works extremely well for most of the habits I've tried to instill. Try it out and see if it works for you!