How I use a design mindset to help me build good habits

Bruno Rigolino on

Habits are decisive actions. They have a similar effect as compound interest: good habits leverage exponential value, bad habits lead to problems.

Here is how I’m using my design mindset to help me build some of my habits:

First, I ask: "How can I create the best [e.g., meditation; reading] experience for myself?"

Then I ask questions like:

  • What is the “job” to be done?
  • What actions are involved?
  • What artifacts do I need?
  • When is this happening?
  • Where do I need to be?
  • Who else is involved?

Then, I prototype it.

I simulate the habit in a controlled situation to find bumps in my experience. (E.g. Is there a clock ticking while I try to concentrate in my first attempts to meditate?) Building habits are usually challenging, so I try to create the best experience I can for myself.

After I smooth the most apparent bumps in the process, I commit to the first version of my habit.

I like the idea of having the first version of a habit because it relieves the pressure of committing to every possible feature associated with it. A first version solves essential requirements and creates the room to learn and improve.