You’ll notice that I made the title of this post sound quite impressive (at least I hope I did!).

But the great thing about this story is that anyone can have such an impressive outcome, and it’s not at all as daunting as it might sound.

In fact, all these outcomes came from doing small things every day over a long period.

I’m a big fan of working smarter, not harder and finding small ways to make my work more efficient. As Buffer’s first Content Crafter about two years ago, I got the chance to explore these topics quite a lot.

Now I’m excited to be back to show you exactly how I came by these wins in 2015.

  • From a habit of practicing French for just 5 minutes a day, I can now read, write, and speak basic French.
  • From a habit of reading just a page every night, I managed to increase my reading list by five times over the past couple of years.

building habits

Basically, I used small, everyday habits to build up into big, long-term outcomes. Tiny habits, says Stanford scientist B. J. Fogg, can become life-changing behaviors over time—and that’s just what I used to my advantage.

There are four principles I try to stick by whenever I’m building a new habit. Through everything I’ve tried, these are the principles that seem to work every time.

1. Start small: Repeat a tiny habit daily

When I first started focusing on building more healthy habits a few years ago, one of the biggest mistakes I made was to ask too much of myself.

I would go from reading hardly ever to attempting to read one book per week. Or from getting up at 9 a.m. most days to trying to roll out of bed before 6 a.m. every morning.

The distance between where I was starting and where I wanted to be was so great that I would fail a lot. And each failure made it harder to succeed the next day.

At their heart, as James Clear explains, habits are about routines.

habit formation

And what I really needed was small wins and visible progress to help me create new routines I could keep at every day.

Finally, I came across this idea of starting small. The point is to focus on repeating the habit every day, but not worrying about how effective that habit is. In other words, quantity first; quality later.

A great example is flossing. Say you want to floss every night, but you haven’t flossed for years. If you take up flossing out of the blue and expect to spend 10 minutes doing it every night, you probably won’t last more than a week. It’s a very big ask.

But starting small is so effective, it’s almost like a super power. Here’s how it would work for flossing: you take the tiniest part of the habit you can work with—in this case, it would be to floss just one tooth. It’s still considered flossing, but you won’t make huge leaps in dental hygiene this way.

But here’s where it gets powerful: at first, you focus on just flossing one tooth every night. And you stick with it for more than a week. Then, more than two. Then three, four weeks. You can stick with this habit because it’s so easy. There’s barely any effort involved with flossing one tooth, so it’s hard to make an excuse not to do it. And once it’s become easy and automatic to floss one tooth, you start flossing two.

For a while, you floss two teeth every night. Then, you increase to three. And slowly you work your way up, never taking such a big leap that it becomes a chore.

By starting small you focus on making the behavior automatic, before you worry about making the behavior big enough that it produces a useful outcome.

As Scott H. Young says, we tend to overestimate how much we can get done—especially when we’re stepping into the unknown. Scott suggests planning as if you can only commit 20% of the time and energy you’d like to, in order to be more realistic.

Here’s how I applied the “start small” process to my habits in 2015:

Reading: One page a night

I started by reading just one page of a book every night before bed. Often I would read more, but if all I could manage was one page, I would count that as a win.

Later, when the habit was already strong, I would put on a timer and read for 15 minutes, and eventually I was reading for 30 minutes before bed and another 30 minutes most mornings.

Just starting with one page added up: In 2013 I read 7 books. In 2014, 22. In 2015, 33. That’s almost five times what I read in 2013.

I worked on this habit over about a year and a half. That probably sounds like a long time, but it only seems that way in retrospect.

When I’m working my habit, all I think about is how much I need to read today to count a win. It’s always a small, daily effort that I focus on. But when I look back on my progress, I realise what big achievements those daily habits have developed into.

French: One lesson every morning

I had dabbled in French with before, but I wasn’t very good at sticking with it. When I decided I really wanted to improve my French, I started by building a habit of doing just one Duolingo lesson every morning while I drank my coffee. (If you haven’t tried it, Duolingo is a free web and mobile app to help you learn lots of languages.)

One lesson takes around five minutes, so it’s a tiny commitment, and quite easy to do when I’m sitting around drinking coffee anyway. Eventually I started doing more than one lesson—two, three, sometimes even four or five, if I was enjoying it.

I did as many as I felt like, but I always did at least one.

Only one lesson was required to check off that habit for the day, so it was easy to stick to, even when I didn’t feel like doing any more than that. These days I also use Babbel (a paid web and mobile app for language learning) to get a better idea of the grammatical rules and structures of French, and I’ve finished the whole French section in Duolingo.

According to Duo, that means I know about 41% of French! That’s a big achievement from just five minutes a day!

2. Focus on one habit at a time

One of the hardest things for me when it comes to building new habits is to not take on too many at once. I always have such grand plans for the things I want to get better at, and so much enthusiasm when I first start out, that I want to build several habits at once.

Every time I’ve tried that approach, I end up failing. Usually a few of the habits don’t stick, but sometimes none of them do. It’s just too much to focus on at once—a bit like multitasking, where your brain has to switch contexts constantly, because you really can’t focus on multiple things at once.

So my new rule is to work on just one habit at a time. Only when that habit is so automatic I can do it every day easily do I start on a new habit.

With the example above, I was reading every night before I started focusing on French. And I was easily doing a French lesson every day before I started focusing on getting up early.

one habit

Sometimes building a habit can take a long time. Getting up early was one I really struggled to do consistently. I spent around four months focused on that same habit: trying different approaches, tracking my progress, and reporting in to friends who helped keep me accountable. I was determined to make it a consistent habit, but that meant not building any other habits for months.

These days I’m glad I committed to building that habit for so long, because I get up early almost every day without even trying. It didn’t come easy, but it was worth the effort.

How long it takes you to build a habit will vary, so four months might be longer or shorter than you need. We often hear the idea that it takes 21 days to build a habit, but studies have shown we all take different lengths of time to build new habits. In one study, the average time it took to build a new habit was 66 days—about two months.

The lesson I’ve learned is to treat each habit differently, depending on how hard you find it to stick to consistently, but also to focus on just one habit at a time so it gets your full attention and energy.

3. Remove barriers: Have everything you need at hand

I find it much easier to complete my habits when the equipment I need is at hand. For instance, having my phone in my hand already while drinking coffee made it easier to build a habit of doing a quick French lesson at that time. Reading a page of a book every night became a lot easier when I kept the book by my bed.

Malcolm Gladwell calls this the tipping point. It’s that small change that tips you over from making excuses to taking action. One great example of the power of a tipping point comes from a study of tetanus education at a university. The study tested whether trying to induce higher levels of fear about tetanus would encourage more students to get vaccinated against it. The fear level of the education program didn’t seem to make any difference, but one surprising change did: adding a map of the university campus showing the health center and the times vaccinations were available increased the vaccination rate from 3% to 28%.

The tipping point is that tiny change that makes it easy enough to take action that you’ll actually follow through. I like to think of it as removing any barriers that make it easy to not follow through on my habits.

One habit I want to build in 2016 is to play piano more often. Right now I play whenever the mood strikes me, which isn’t often enough to get a lot better. But I have noticed that I tend to play more often when the piano is easily accessible. Right now it’s in a corner of our lounge/dining/kitchen area, so I can easily sit down and play a little while waiting for something to cook or when I visit the kitchen for an afternoon snack.

Another habit I want to focus on this year is exercising more regularly. I’ve noticed that once I put on my exercise clothes, it’s pretty much certain that I’ll go outside for a run, but until those clothes are on it’s a lot easier to think of excuses for not going out. Getting out my exercise clothes the night before and putting them on quickly in the morning before I can think of excuses tends to help me get out the door faster. This is something I plan to do more regularly when I’m focusing on building this habit.

4. Stack habits: Build new routines onto existing ones

One of my favorite ways to build new habits is to stack them onto existing habits. This builds up several habits into a routine, and each habit acts as a trigger for the next one.

The cool part about this is you already have lots of habits you probably don’t realise. Brushing your teeth before bed, getting out of bed in the morning, making coffee at the same time every day—these are all existing habits. So long as you do something at the same time every day without thinking about it, it’s a habit you can stack others onto.

If you do your new habit after completing an existing one, you can rely on the strength of your existing habit to help keep your new habit on track. For example, when I get out of bed, the first thing I do is go downstairs to make a coffee. When my coffee is made, I start my French lesson. My existing habit of making coffee acts as a trigger to complete my French lesson.

And when I go to bed at night, I open the book sitting by my bed. Getting into bed and seeing the book act as a trigger to do my nightly reading.

habit stack

Research has shown a cue to work on your new habit may be the most effective way to ensure you stick to the habit long-term. When you stack habits, you use the existing ones as cues for each new habit you want to build.

Over time you can keep stacking new habits onto your existing ones to take advantage of automatic behaviors you’re already doing.

Building new habits has become something of a hobby for me. It’s exciting to think of all the skills I can gain and improve over time, just by building tiny habits that I repeat every day. It makes huge accomplishments seem much more achievable.

If you’d like to learn more about how I build habits that help me work smarter, not harder, you can sign up for my course, Productive Habits.

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Written by Belle Beth Cooper

Belle Beth Cooper was the first Content Crafter at Buffer. She’s the co-founder of Melbourne startup Hello Code, an iOS developer, and a writer.

  • Super

    Thanks for such a great post Belle! I love the summation of the first part – focus on quantity first and quality later. Especially with a New Year here, it’s almost easier to commit to a huge behavioral change (because it’s so exciting!) which paradoxically is so much more difficult to follow through on.

    Also love using Exist and your work there so thanks for building that as well :)

    • Belle

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Awesome to know that you’re enjoying using Exist :)

      I definitely agree about the New Year—it’s so tempting to make huge proclamations about what you’ll achieve, only to quickly burn out. Daily habits have really helped me work towards my goals without giving up, thanks to the little wins they give me every day.

  • Kosio @ Mintfull

    Great stuff, Belle! Are you back at Buffer?

    • Jane

      I wondered the same thing … or if this is possibly a repost. Either way it is a great way to smile.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Belle is joining us for a guest post; we were super excited to welcome her back for a bit!

  • Oceana Kennedy

    Wonderful tips! I often find myself not completing skills and tasks I want to work on because I feel that if I don’t accomplish a lot all at once, then I’m not making progress, which leads to me becoming disheartened and not doing anything at all. I’ve always wanted to increase my language skills in German, Spanish, and Dutch specifically. I’ll start doing the 5 minutes a day and see how I do. Thanks again for the awesome article! :-)

    • Belle

      So glad you found it useful! I definitely think starting with 5 minutes per day and being okay with just doing that tiny amount for a long time helped my French immensely. I was much more consistent at doing it daily with this approach than anything I’d tried before. I hope it works for you!

  • Ericsestimate

    This is great. I’ve started learning french and reading every night this year along with a few other things. One thing that has helped me is to use a habit tracker – once you get on a streak, you don’t want to let it end!

    Currently using habitbull on Android, but I think there are a few on iOS that are better (damn you iphone!).

    • Belle

      Great point! Streaks can definitely be helpful, and I always like to use a habit tracker to keep an eye on my progress. I’ve heard good things about HabitBull, but it does seem like there are more options for habit trackers on iOS.

      If you’re looking for something new, I put together a list recently of a whole bunch of habit trackers:
      You could also try tracking on paper—there’s a good example of how to do this at the bottom of this blog post:

  • felicia.cristofaro


    What an interesting take on self-improvement! I hadn’t really thought of it before, but all of the things I do to maintain my health and to learn are all habits. When you explain personal success in this way, it suddenly becomes much easier to fathom taking on those big self-improvement projects. I’ve learned from past mistakes that multi-tasking for me is a big ‘no’. As you point out, my brain simply cannot focus on multiple things at once.

    I prefer to do one thing well, be satisfied with the accomplishment, and then move on to my next item. This pattern resonates with habits. I recall reading somewhere that it takes approximately ninety days for a practice to truly become part of your routine. If that’s true, by the end of a year you could have four new and fully developed practices. That’s a lot of opportunity for personal growth! You can certainly initiate more habits than that, especially if you are able to stack them, as you suggested. It’s definitely exciting to see personal changes, and how far you can grow! Thanks for sharing.

    • Belle

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here! I definitely think daily habits make big goals seem much less daunting. And you get little wins along the way whenever you stick to your habit, which makes the process fun :)

    • Jane

      Your method makes sense. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mirko Scavazzin

    Thank you very much for your very helpful tips and feel free to ask me any french language related question, I’m a native speaker.

    • Belle

      Thanks Mirko!

  • Ken

    When forming a new habit, I find that the ‘reminder’ piece noted in your James Clear image is of vital importance. I’m often frustrated at my lack of follow through, and when I honestly evaluate the ‘why’ – it often comes down to the fact that I simply forgot to do it. A reliable reminder system is critical, IMHO. Thanks for the post!

    • Belle

      That’s a great point! I’ve definitely had that happen to me in the past. Setting a reminder on your phone can be really helpful in the early days, when it’s so easy to forget that new habit!

  • Jane

    I love your posts and the emails that Buffer sends. Even if I don;t have time to read them, I read them anyway. They always make me laugh. The topics and the text are great smile starters.

    • Belle

      Thanks Jane!

  • Rachael Wynne

    This seems so simple but it hadn’t really occurred to me. I often try to change my life by becoming a new person who has multiple talents but I know it won’t happen overnight. Thank you for this post, it has come at a time when I really need it! Well done for the French by the way! :)

    • Belle

      So glad to hear that! I hope it helps you build all those talents :)

  • DiogoNeves

    What a great post! Thanks! I’ve been learning Chinese but before bed and lately been forgetting it a bit. Your suggestion to do it on the morning coffee is a great one!
    Coincidentally, I’m reading this book Black Box Thinking ( (which is a must read!) and it has a chapter about marginal gains. Sounds like both, your post and the book, go hand in hand.
    (seriously, read that book if you haven’t yet! :) )

    • Belle

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll add it to my reading list :)

  • Harshit Sekhon

    This is great Belle and reaffirms what I read in the book “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. Like they say Rome wasn’t built in a day. The same holds true for forming new habits especially if you’re breaking age old habits.

    I found the use of habit tracking apps especially useful in kicking small goals daily until they became a subconscious effort. However, it’s also very easy to fall back to old / comfortable ways of doing things. A 1 minute rundown of goals you’ve set out for yourself for the day to make new habits works like a charm in keeping up the momentum.

    • Belle

      Agreed—reminding myself every morning of the habit I’m currently working on has been a huge help to staying on track lately.

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  • Michael Jenkins

    With life becoming so busy these are some great tips to help learn a new skill. I always imagined having to set aside a lot of time to do such a thing but the way you broke it down gets me excited to start new hobbies. I use to get overwhelmed with the whole time crunch but now I have a whole new outlook. Thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed it!

    • Belle

      Glad you found it helpful! I feel the same—I easily get overwhelmed by how much time and effort is required to make big changes, but this approach has been working really well for me so far.

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  • T.Nichols

    Hey Belle. Long time, no see.

    Thanks for this post. Last year I decided that I wanted to learn Spanish and I really tried, but I couldn’t make the habit stick. I’m going to try your approach and see how it works.

    • Belle

      Hey, it’s fun to be back! I’ve definitely been in that situation—I stopped and started French several times before I found a way to stick to it. Taking each day one at a time and not thinking too much about my long-term goal of speaking fluent French (and how far away that goal is) has really helped. Good luck!

  • Susan Pauls

    Thank you for this little nudge in such a positive direction–it’s definitely something I needed to hear! Duolingo is awesome. I’ve been working on Spanish off and on with it. You’ve inspired me to try it in smaller chunks every day, instead of trying to knock out whole sections but on a less regular basis. Also, I’m super excited to see Czech in the works there! Our family visited Prague over Christmas, and although I only learned to say “Merry Christmas” and “thank you” in Czech, I loved seeing people’s eyes light up to hear their own language, even with my feeble attempts! :) Anyway, here’s to learning better habits, and congrats on yours!

    • Belle

      That’s definitely a great feeling! When I first went to France my French was so terrible native speakers could tell I was foreign just from hearing me say “bonjour”, but they were so friendly because I made the effort. I think it’s really worth it to try to speak a little of the language of the country you’re in, and Duolingo definitely makes it easy to get started. Good luck!

  • Joseph de Souza

    Very interesting points. I am trying to learn German and brush up my French, (but keep postponing due to time constraints) because knowledge of additional languages definitely helps and gives you an edge in internet marketing. Hope to try out some of your methods and manage it.

  • Brenda Daugherty

    Thanks for the Duolingo link, I have been wanting to learn Spanish and this is the perfect place to begin!

    • Belle

      It’s definitely a good starting point! I definitely recommend Babbel + Duo once you need more help with grammar and sentence structure, too.

    • Ash Stevens

      Love DuoLingo! It’s even better when you can download it onto your computer or tablet. People make a lot of comments on lessons that expose you to discrepancies and double meanings. It’s SUPER helpful!

      FluentU is supposed to be awesome too! It has videos that come along with the language so you can see the spelling/symbols as you listen to native speakers. I need to download it! :-)

    • Kate Veinot

      I second that! I’ve been wanting to work on mon francais pour (a while)… I need a refresher!

  • Rachel Pregunta

    Hey Belle, you’re back! This will sound weird, but while I’m doing my reading everywhere, productivity, planning. Social media, blog growth, you are in so many places. And your post on Exist made me support the beselfjournal! Okay, so that was totally unrelated,but hey, I just want to log a “hello comment”. I’ve been loving your write-ups everywhere.

    • Belle

      That’s awesome! Thanks for saying hi :)

  • Thea Woods

    Great to see you back on the blog Belle! :) This is such a great post for the beginning of the year! Ironically, I need to adopt ALL of these habits too, ha. I have a habit of trying change too many habits at once which in many cases leads to an epic fail. (#MyBad!) This is a great reminder to focus on making one SMALL consistent change at a time to get the results I desire in the long term. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Best wishes on the piano playing and working out. I’ll be joining you on those goals later on as well. ;)

  • Aaron Tang

    Well done Belle, and great to have you back! One great tip about getting better with an instrument (like piano) is to practice it daily i.e. one hour practice every day is much better than practicing seven hours once a week. I’m not exactly sure why it’s that way (the subconscious helps, maybe) — but in my experience — that’s the best way to get better.

    Looking forward to you posting some masterpiece performances soon!

  • Nik Crossman

    Hey Belle, welcome back!

    This is such a great article and breakdown of habit formation – I was excited to see you reference James Clear! He’s a major influence/mentor in my life and has such a great, simple way of achieving so much! Great tips on stacking habits btw :)

    I also wanted to share an app I found through Tim Ferriss’ podcast: It’s called Way of Life ( — It is a very simple “Yes/No” habit tracking app and pretty solid tutorial/onboarding flow from a UX perspective. I have no affiliation, just wanted to share a good habit app as so many out there try to do way too much.

    Anyway, Thanks again! Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  • Wesley Dowding

    Hi Belle, you are so right. I never exercised and it got to a point where i was so unfit I weighed in at over 360 pounds! But just by trying to get into the habit of working out 10 minutes each morning and forming that habit I now work out daily before going to work for 30-45 minutes. Due to this I have lost nearly 100 pounds and i feel sooooo much better!

  • Izaya Orihara

    Yep, I heard a muslim friend talking about this according to the Prophet’s (pbuh) speech: “The most beloved deeds to Allah’s the most regular and constant even though it were little” [Narrated by Al Bukhari] and he says to me that this speech can be applied to anything from our daily lives.

  • eyalev

    This post reminded me of a book called Mini Habits:

    Has a lot in common with this blog post.

  • Megzus Digital Tech

    Good tips

  • Susi Castle

    Hi Belle, thanks for your post. It sounds like 2015 was a really good year for you!

    Your section about stacking habits reminded me a bit of this Freakonomics episode they repeated recently: which talks about the ‘Fresh Start’ effect and temptation bundling – tying things you enjoy doing to thinks you want to try and do more of. I’d really recommend a listen!

    Thank you for sharing your advice :)

  • Jorge Calle

    Hello Belle!
    This post was just what I was needing. As you, I have failed to make reading a habit many times. I’m going to follow your lead.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  • Nina Marini

    Bravo ! bien joué ;)

  • Filip Novák

    2015 is in headline. Shouldnt it be there 2016? :)

  • Nathan Grimm

    For casual language-learning, I can definitely second the recommendation for Duolingo. In October, I traveled to Guatemala and used it to freshen up my Spanish skills from school. It made a massive difference in my ability to communicate on the trip. I’ve continued the habit through this year.

    One other thing I’ve done to help with language learning is to listen to Spanish language podcasts. There is a great one produced by a Spanish teacher called Learn Spanish with La Casa Rojas, It is 100% in Spanish but he is much easier to understand than a typical news podcast produced for native Spanish speakers. The content is a collection of stories so even though he hasn’t published a new podcast for a year, the content is still enjoyable to listen to.

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  • Paden

    Hi Belle,
    Thanks for the post. I know it might be off topic but what pointers do you have for keeping the Duolingo tree gold?

  • Rob Knapp

    Nice post. I like the thought about 1 habit at a time. I usually set goals when I’m super enthusiastic/motivated. It’s usually too much. In reality I typically stick to the most important routine… the other stuff falls off. So yeah, focus on one habit at a time.

  • Stephen Pritchard

    Hey Belle, this is the first article of yours I’ve come across and look forward to reading more :)

    Totally agree with your point about how once you’ve put on exercise clothes you suddenly stop making excuses!

    Do you have any thoughts on how to maintain habits if you have a lifestyle that gets in the way of daily rituals? (Such as after work drinks on a Friday for one..)

  • katehenley

    Great stuff, thank you.

  • Muhammad Zubair

    Thank you dear for this awesome article.

  • Patrick Sawler

    Another great post from the crew at Buffer. I love it. It is similar to the approach that I have adopted this year. I am using the productive app on my iPhone to remind me to do the little things that eventually lead to big progress. Keep up the great work.

  • Ty Govaars

    So great! Read this first over on Fast Company and wanted to drop by and say hello. I love the idea of practicing a language each morning with my cup of coffee. I’m already a huge fan of DuoLingo so looking forward to practicing my Spanish this way! :)

  • Chris Howard

    Great article, Belle. Very inspiring and insightful.

    One question… how did you become the morning person getting up at 6am all the time?

    What were the little steps you took? Was it 15 minutes earlier at a time or something like that?

    I’ve been trying to do this but keep failing. First off, I don’t think I’m going to become a morning person until I change the time I go to sleep. So I think that is the habit I actually need to work on and the getting up early will follow. (I struggle to get out of bed if I haven’t had 8hrs, and the earlier that is the harder it is. i.e. I can get up more easily after 6 hrs sleep if I went to sleep at 5am, than 7 hrs sleep if I went to sleep at 11pm!)


  • Dima Taras

    I found watching Britney Spears video work b**check more motivating that this 😁

  • Justyn Warner

    Great Article! I love duolingo did Italian now doing French

  • Ansie

    Hi Beth. Good advice and very practical, but I have one question: If you get up early, you have to go to bed early, which is a completely different habit to get used to. How do you do it?
    I find that difficult because I can’t control the evening as much as I can control the early morning. Evenings are filled with children, chores, other family members’ schedules, etc. As a mother I can’t just clock out and go to bed if everybody else isn’t taken care of yet. Early mornings when everybody is still asleep I can basically do what I want, but not if I’m sleep deprived….

  • Sam Thomas Davies

    Thanks for the mention Belle. Love what you’re doing.

  • Tim Woods

    Like this very much. Thanks.

  • nightowlgirl

    I’d like to know more about becoming a morning person. I have never been one but it would be easier. I understand the concept but how oh how did you do it?!

  • Lukas Leander Rosenstock

    I like the concept of stacking up habits! I’ve written a blog post about improving my daily routine in which I mentioned this and your article in the introduction:

  • Printer Playground

    LOVE the idea of habit stacking! Great stuff Belle, thank you for sharing!

  • gards77

    Great post Belle. I wish you had written about changing your wake up time. It’s something I’ve always struggled with and seem to fall back on.

  • Terri Whitbread

    I’ve been wanting to learn another language for ages but never have the time. You’ve motivate me to get going and I’m going to start with Italian then Spanish, thank you so much!

  • Laura Gabrielle Feasey

    That’s it, I’m reading a page of the book that has sat open at the same page for the past ten months TONIGHT. I will start by putting it beside my bed. Thank you Belle. :)

  • Ville Ekman

    Hi Belle

    Thanks for excellent, specific and very inspirational article! Now that I think of it, this is really how I have managed to take on new habits.

    Would you have any suggestions for services like duolingo to learn various instruments like piano or guitar? :)

  • Martin Roberts

    Hi Belle, Thanks for this post. I love the work of Prof BJ Fogg and James Clear on
    habits and systems. I also love your custom diagrams as they look both
    professional as well as informal and personal. Can I ask what
    software/app do you use to make them?

    • Hussein Horack

      No idea, but the more arty ones may have been done in Photoshop using a Wacom tablet and some custom brushes.

  • Intan Goyana

    Oh gosh yeah, last week I was failing to build new habits. I think it’s because the changes were just a bit too much for my mind and body :) after reading this then yes, it made sense. Small ones first, then once I get used to it, add some more. Thanks Belle! 👍👍👍

  • Hussein Horack

    Really like the idea of stacking habits. Very useful blog post, thanks! Memrise ( is also a good place to learn languages (and much more).

  • Éric TANDÉ

    Hi Belle, I am french, if you want I can help you in your practice of this langage and you can help me for my english. One question is : what is exactly “Floss” in the translation of “Google” it is write : “silk” or “soie” in french if you prefer but I not understand why you do “silk” when you brush your teeh. Can you help me thank you. Éric

  • Chandrashekhar Iyer

    I just did my 30XP French before reading this article! I have wondered a lot of times if I could make any progress chipping in just 5 minutes. That was reassuring. Plus the trying to do a lot and getting nothing done. Been there. Thanks for the article!

  • Aurélio Hoch

    Great article. I really like how tiny acts, such as leaving a book by the bed, leads to reading a page per night and so on. I finished a book this week and was looking for ways to start and keep a steady rhythm of reading. I’ll surely follow your tips. Thanks a lot.
    And how about your piano and exercises?

    Warm regards.

  • Savannah

    Growth gold. Love it.