The Magic of Friction Reduction


Hey friends,

If you’ve ever read ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear, you might be familiar with the idea of reducing friction to help build better habits.

Basically, the idea is that the easier it is to perform an action, the more likely we are to do it consistently. So, by reducing friction associated with a habit, we increase the chances of making it a part of our daily routine.

“Reducing the friction associated with good behaviors makes them easier to perform and increasing the friction associated with bad behaviors makes them harder to do.”

One example he gives is of a person who wants to start running every day. If we have to spend time finding our running shoes, figuring out where to run, and changing into appropriate clothing, this creates a lot of friction that could deter us from following through with the habit. And we think “eh, maybe I’ll run some other time.”

But, if we lay out our running shoes the night before, plan a route, and have our running clothes ready to go, this reduces the amount of friction and makes it far easier to follow through with the habit.

This idea has really resonated with me lately, and I’ve been experimenting with ways to reduce friction in my own life.

One of the areas where I’ve found this particularly helpful is with stretching. I’ve been wanting to improve my flexibility for years, but I’ve never been able to make stretching a consistent habit. So, I recently decided to try reducing the friction associated with stretching by leaving a yoga mat on the floor next to my bed. Now, every morning when I wake up, I see the yoga mat and it’s a reminder to do some stretches. Just by reducing the friction to stretch and having a visible cue in my environment, I’m now stretching about 10 times more than I’ve ever stretched in my life.

Another area where I’ve found reducing friction to be helpful is with taking my supplements in the morning. For a while, I was struggling to remember to take my Heights supplements because I didn’t have a good cue in my environment to remind me. But once I started keeping them next to my protein shake, which is already part of my morning routine, it was much easier to remember to take them.

Honestly, it’s such a simple thing to do, but having these subtle environmental cues can be incredibly powerful in helping us to reduce friction and gently push us towards making better life choices.

So, are there any areas of your life where you’ve found that reducing environmental friction has helped nudge you towards a behaviour you care about? Or, are there any areas of your life that you could improve just by reducing this friction? Let me know by hitting reply 🙂

Have a great week!

Ali xx

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♥️ My Favourite Things

📚 Audiobook – Buy Back Your Time by Dan Martell. This is mostly aimed at business owners, but the main message of the book is don’t hire for a role, hire to buy back your time. So, if you find yourself spending time doing something you’d rather not be doing, think about buying back that time through hiring someone else to do that work rather than thinking you need to hire for a specific job description (e.g. a writer, an editor, etc.).

📚 Audiobook – Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. This book is mostly aimed at women, but it’s got some great lessons on leadership and it’s been ridiculously eye opening in helping me to develop more empathy towards the various challenges women in the workplace face (things like gender bias, imposter syndrome, and the difficulties of balancing work and family life). I’ve been recommending the book to literally everyone I meet, so make sure you check it out.

🍗 Restaurant – Gymkhana. This is a Michelin-starred Indian restaurant that I went to when Sahil Bloom came to visit me last week. The food was incredible and I’d wholeheartedly recommend it if you’re looking for a fancy-ish meal in London.

💻 Website – Klezma. I invested in these guys last year, and their product is now ready to play with. It basically lets anyone creating content to get rewarded with exclusive VIP access to their favourite artists by sharing and supporting their music. All you do is place your favourite song in your videos or choose it from Instagram / the TikTok music library and you get rewarded with access to events.

🎙️ Podcast – Empire. This podcast is all about the history of the British Empire and it’s hosted by two historians, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand. The first series looks at the British in India, covering the East India Company, the Raj, Gandhi, Independence and Partition. It’s incredibly interesting. I’ve never listened to a podcast like this before where the hosts just have a conversation and tell stories, but it’s a very engaging way to learn about history. I also basically knew nothing about the East India Company before listening to the podcast, but I was hooked from the opening episode when the hosts drew a comparison between the actions of the East India Company and a hypothetical scenario in which Jeff Bezos decides that Amazon is going to just invade a country and exploit it for further profit.

🎬 My New Videos

📖 This Book Made Me Quit My Job – In this video I talk about one of the best books I read last year called The Pathless Path by Paul Millerd. I absolutely loved it and I think you will too. It’s a freeing book to read and reminds us that there is more to life than work and fulfilling societal expectations. If you’re having any kind of career struggles, I definitely recommend checking it out.

👨‍💻 How to Build a Website in 2023 (With No Code) – Making a website in 2023 is a lot easier than it was a few years ago. You don’t need to know anything about code because there are so many no-code websites that can make amazing websites for you. So in this video I go through my favourite no code options for making your own website, and which platforms are best for different purposes.

✍️ Quote of the Week

“Somehow we realise that great stories are told in conflict, but we are unwilling to embrace the potential greatness of the story we are actually in. We think God is unjust, rather than a master storyteller.”

From A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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