By Leo Babauta

I’ve long advocated starting very very small when creating new habits. Unfortunately, a lot of people pick tough habits, fail, and can’t understand why they don’t have any discipline. So in this article, we’ll look at habits you shouldn’t choose when learning to create habits.

The reason you shouldn’t choose these habits is that they’re more difficult. When you learn a skill — and forming habits is definitely a skill — you start with the easy version of that skill, not the hard version. When you learn to ski, you go on the beginner’s slope, not the advanced slope, or you’ll break your neck. When you learn carpentry, you learn to hammer nails and saw boards, not build a house on your first day — or the house will collapse.

So start with the easy stuff. Skip the hard stuff, for now. You’ll get to the advanced habit skills later.

Here’s the list, with brief explanations:

So what habits should you choose? Habits that are:

  1. positive
  2. easy
  3. enjoyable
  4. physical
  5. tied to a trigger that already happens in your daily routine … once per day, exactly