I’m not going to lie…

I’m lazy by nature. Left unchecked, I would never get anything done. I always had trouble handing in assignments at school, and I always look for corners to cut.

In recent years I have become very ambitious, which mixes with my lazy attitude like oil and water. I’ve learned that most people are lazy to some extent. It is human nature to want to experience the most amount of pleasure with the least amount of pain.

I have often created vast plans for achieving my goals, but they would only work in a fantasy reality. I imagine myself turning into some sort of robot overnight that can work twenty-four hours a day without eating, sleeping, or needing to relax.
But these plans never stand the test of time.

Eventually I give up, and feel ashamed.

Does the progression towards your goals have to be this hard all the time?
No, and I think I’ve figured it out.

Daily Automatic Developmental Habits

This is something that fellow HelpfulGuy Leroy Milton and I discuss quite a lot with each other and with the new year starting, we want to really delve into how to internalize these habits and which habits to pursue.

A daily automatic developmental habit is something you do every day that guarantees you will get closer to your dreams.

Unlike baseline habits—sleep, diet and exercise—these automatic developmental habits focus more on accomplishing repetitive tasks that support you in accomplishing your goals.

I’ll use myself as an example.

My dream is to become an expert in the field of personal development. I want to write books, engage in the self help community, coach people one-on-one, give speeches and learn as much as I can in my field.

The daily automatic developmental habits that I enact to support this vision are:

  • Writing one page of content
  • Reading for a minimum of thirty minutes while taking notes
  • Engaging with someone in the community
  • Sharing a 2HelpfulGuys article
  • Coming up with ten ideas

Now, unless you have the memory of a goldfish you will be thinking to yourself “Wait, I thought he said he was lazy and took the easy way. That doesn’t sound easy to me.”

Well it can be, if you have the right approach.

Making Your Habits Automatic

In recent years the scientific community has discovered that your willpower is like a muscle, and you can only exert it so much before it needs time to recover.

When you first start trying to incorporate a new habit into your routine, it takes up a lot of your willpower.

After daily practice of your new habit for a period of time—some say twenty-one days, but I’ve also heard up to forty-five—your habit will cease to take up nearly as much willpower. This means that you won’t have to convince yourself to do it, it will just be natural.

This is where I always went wrong. This is why I found it so hard to get anything done.

I tried to incorporate too many habits at a time and didn’t internalize any of them.

Setting up your daily automatic developmental habits will be a long process, but I prefer long and stable over frustrating and short-lived.

No matter what you want to do with your life pick three daily habits that would guarantee you’d inch closer to your goals, and give yourself a month and a half to internalize each individually before incorporating the next.

After internalizing each habit they will become second nature to you, and you will be automatically progressing towards your goal every single day.

Live Like The Tortoise, Not The Hare

It is important that you become completely content with the idea of the long term, and taking it one step at a time. This is the only way to end up with automatic habits that transform your productivity.

Remember, I promised you automatic, not quick.

I love experimenting with different daily habits and seeing how they can improve my life.

It has taken me almost two years to get my habits in place and I’m still working on them, which is fine. Maybe I wouldn’t become a robot even if I could, because then I would cease to improve.

I’d rather be slow and stable, than to go Gung-ho and burn out before I get anywhere.

But this could all just be an excuse to take the long way around because, well…

am lazy.

walk slowly


  1. Love these sentiments. I think another obstacle to installing good habits is impatience, both with oneself at not adopting things quickly enough and at those habits not affecting change in one’s life as quickly as one would want. Impatience is something I have to remind myself to recognize and release regularly.
    Thanks for the article! I always love reading the things you both have to say 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Impatience is definitely one of the biggest enemies while we try to instill our habits. We would like to live in a world where they are internalized instantly and you never have to put any effort in past that, but that isn’t the case unfortunately. You are right on the mark with this one, thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this – it has come at a good time for me (and a lot of people, I expect). I wrote a weekly planner last week and today is the first day. Things will change as I remember stuff that should be in it etc, but my aim is to simply do the finite tasks as laid out in the planner, rather than panic about the infinite number of tasks in my head. So far, so good, and I’m positive about these tasks becoming habit in time. Thanks again.


    1. That is exactly the way you should be approaching your tasks. If we think about all the things we could possibly do, we might end up spending all of our time stressing over not getting them all done. But if we focus on finite tasks we can feel accomplished afterwards and start a snowball effect of motivation and drive. This way, you can keep a positive mindset. I have confidence that you will internalize your habits! Keep going!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish to add the importance of D. A. H as the more you become involved the closer your dream gets and the more achieved and fulfilling you feel. Due to the fact that you are seeing your efforts and build up along the way.
    With that in mind, I should get back to my blogging.


  4. Great article Stephen,
    thanks for sharing, it’s so true, everything we do becomes “unconscious competence” after a sufficient amount of conscious repetitions first, like tying our shoelaces or driving home without even thinking about it!
    The first step is the most difficult then it gets easier and easier…
    I like the way of the tortoise 🙂
    Have a lovely day


  5. I often find myself rushing and there really isn’t a need for it. I have 14 to 16 hours every day to get done what I feel needs to be done with time to spare. And yes, I’m a creature of habit. Today is laundry day, and after the laundry is clean, folded, and put away, I’ll be doing the most serious of my writing. Until that time, in between changing loads of clothes, I read the blogs I’m subscribed to and do general pick-up around the house. Ideas? They come to me as I go through my day.


  6. Love this article. A little more civilised than my own attempt to embrace some new daily habits… I think go slow is the key. I want results fast and I’m not too keen on the hard yards it takes to get there. Thanks for the reminder/encouragement to keep at it.


    1. I used to be the exact same way. I ended up learning these lessons pretty much the hardest way I could have. But, I believe we will all make it where we need to, and so will you. Your drive is to be admired as well, never take it as completely negative, it is very powerful!


  7. They say it takes 28 (continuous) days to create a new habit. I like your approach of setting reasonable daily goals. “Slow and steady wins the race,” said a wise turtle. Thank you for reminding me that incremental accomplishments will get us to our goal, no matter how large that goal appears at the outset. 👌 😀


    1. Thank you for being a continuous reader. It lights up my day whenever I see you comment because I know there is at least one person out there who values what I have to say enough to come back more than once. Plus, you always add something valuable to the conversation. I can’t express just how much that means to me. Thank you so much!


  8. Reblogged this on learntoeatwell and commented:
    It’s exactly the same with eating well. If you always drink water first thing in the morning, always say no if offered a biscuit before 4pm, always have some veg or salad with your meal, it’s easy and you don’t even have to think about it!


  9. I like what you said in this post and agree with it. I have learned at my age, that just doing something is about 90% of the battle. You are right, after about 21 to 45 days or so, it becomes part of one’s routine and a habit. Doing what you describe is basically how I lived in my life and many of my dreams came true. I’m living my dream right now. Do art for as long as I want every day and being with my husband as much as possible. Keep doing what you’re doing and you dreams will come true. Most people don’t bother to start. You have, your dreams will come true, I just bet.


  10. This was very helpful to me. This article reinforced some ideas I found on how to conquer procrastination which is another problem I have in addition to laziness. I do have a weekly planner but I have hardly stuck to it because the habits I previously formed take over. I will follow your suggestions and start slowly and surely with new habits.


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