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How to make make habits that stick with three notes


Making new habits is hard! Based on everything I have learned about habits over the years, I created a simple method for building new habits. I call this method “Three Notes.” All you need is three notes and a pen. This method combines the findings of several pieces of research into habits and it’s simple enough for anyone to follow. This post has more on how habits are formed.

The “Three Notes.”

To create a new habit you will need three notes. A “What” note, a “When” note and a “Why” note.

The “What” note has your reminder and your routine. 

The “When” note tracks every time you do your routine. The “Why” note reminds you of the benefit 
you get for doing the habit or of your goal.


The first step with the “Three Notes” method is to pick a new habit or routine you want to develop. Pick one new habit to build. To increase the chances of success, your habit should be small, simple and sustainable. Start small and build it up over time. Keep it simple. The more complex your habit is, the greater the chance you will find something that “prevents” you from being able to do it. Make it sustainable. Make it something you can realistically do every day.

The next step is to come up with a reminder to ensure you do your your new routine. Pick a trigger, something that will prompt you to do your new habit.

Examples of triggers are:
An existing habit. For example brushing your teeth.
A specific time of day. For example 8.00 am.
Visual cue. For example your running shoes. Now write your habit reminder and routine on one of your notes.


Next, take another note and draw a 5 x 7 grid on it. Use this to track when you do your habit. The average habit takes 66 days to create so once your first note is full, make a second one.


On your third note write down the benefit you get from doing your habit. This will help you persist.
Next steps. Go and write out your “Three Notes” now while it’s top of mind. There is no reason to put it off!