The X Effect: Improve your will power one habit at a time

Do you ever have regrets looking back at projects and goals you started and never finished? What if you could learn to be a finisher? How would that change your life up to this point if you were a finisher? But where, how do you start?The internet is a fantastic place. Sometimes misinformation in forums, conflicting perspectives, petty arguments… but on occasion great ideas come from a collective of people united to helping each other be successful. The exercise below came from Reddit users adapting the ‘Chain Method’ Jerry Seinfeld uses to write every day, while adding a few more powerful habit forming techniques to create the “X Effect”.

If you are ready to become a finisher and stop making excuses… keep reading

The X Effect is a way of visually and physically tracking one habit at a time, until it becomes ingrained in your daily life. In the book ‘Focus’ by Daniel Goleman, he talks about how will power is used up by our top down processing, whereas bottom up activity like habits do not use up the ‘muscle’ of will power. If you take this method and apply it to different areas of your life, although initially those will take concerted effort to happen, over time your basil ganglia takes over for will power and you can add in other habits, or simply not be as drained of attention at the end of a day.

So what is this X Effect?

  • 4×5 notecard
  • Pen/pencil
  • Red Marker

*note, there are apps you can put on your phone that can do the same thing, I have found in my own life there is value to writing some things down vs using digital means.

On the lined side of the card, write 2-3 reasons why you want to accomplish this task. Your first task should be something to accomplish every day, and should only take 10 or 15 min. Don’t get too crazy with your first card, because even doing 1 sit-up a day will start to build in the habit of exercise, and you can easily increase the amount later on.

On the reverse side of the card, draw out 6 vertical lines, and 6 horizontal lines. You will now have 49 boxes on this side of your notecard. Your goal, is to now do that task you set your mind to EVERY DAY, and take out that red marker and write a big X in the first square.

Start today!

Don’t worry if you miss a day, just leave that box blank, and absolutely, positively, without fail do the activity/task the next day. Any day you feel discouraged, from missing a day, or are just plain unmotivated, just flip over your card and read all the reasons why you want to get that goal accomplished.

Once you get through 49, on that 50th day, write one huge X on that bad boy, and post a picture on this blog post. I don’t care if you failed or succeeded, just that you don’t give up on that first card, but grab another one and start over!

What I love about this method, is starting fresh with each new card. It can be easy to have had so many goal journals it becomes impossible to keep track of goals. I just recently went through all of mine, and they always start off one way, and finish as daily notes, or to-do lists. Once I finally did get through a journal start to finish, compiling all my goals was all that more difficult. AND, because of how scattered they are, I have not hit nearly as many as I wanted had I done the X Effect from the start.

How are you doing? Have any questions about this process you would like answered? Post comments or questions below, and we can get you off on the right foot!

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1 Comment

  1. Christopher Porter May 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Fail Fast, learn faster. That has been my personal motto for a while, and it applies even now to this habit. I wrote out my x effect card, and told myself to write for 2 hours every day. But with 49 boxes, I should have known I would hit editing days where I would not write a lick!

    I failed… time to fall 7 rise 8!

    New notecard folded up in my wallet, I now will write, edit, or promote my book for at least 2 hours every day. Why not more than that? This is something I will do no matter what, 7 days a week. I want to take time off from writing or editing, and so on the weekends will promote the book instead of continue writing. The important thing is to build the habit. If I ‘work on my book’ every day, I will be a success.

    How is the X Effect going for you? Take a picture of your progress and post it here on the comments!

    Reply

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