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📙Beware the rule of three

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

Daily Self-Discipline: Weekly Newsletter

📙 Beware the rule of three


I have a quick email today about a very important topic if you're struggling with consistency...

Beware the rule of three

Whenever I work on a new goal, I try to work on it every day, even if on some days it's just a quick 5-minute session.

The point is to keep demonstrating my commitment to the goal, even if on some days it's not perfect.

I've found that skipping one day here and there isn't dangerous as long as you resume the very next day.

In fact, sometimes a day off may even help if you're burned out. And for some goals, a day off is even necessary (like fitness goals with a structured training plan).

So one day off: no biggie.

If you skip two days in a row, the risk of failure increases dramatically. It's still possible to resume your progress after two days off but it's much harder than after one day off.

You may have noticed this if you work out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The workout on Monday, after two days off (Saturday and Sunday), is often more difficult than the workout on Wednesday or Friday when you're in the rhythm.

If your plan is structured this way, then two days off can still be okay. But if both days off were unplanned, then you may struggle to resume your progress.

Still, two days off are salvageable.

But if you skip three days in a row, the domino effect may begin to overpower any amount of resolve you have left.

I like to call it the rule of three.

After three days off, the mind and the body begin adapting to the new (undesired) state.

Maybe you've already eaten sugar for three days in a row and now your body refuses to break the cycle and return to your no-sugar diet again. So on day four, you reach for another chocolate bar.

Maybe you haven't exercised in three days and you're worried you'll be sore if you exercise again tomorrow. So on day four, sofa it is again.

Maybe you haven't studied French for three days and you like the pleasant feeling of freedom from the everyday mental challenge. So on day four, the only French you study are French fries.

Whenever two days pass without engaging in your new positive habit or quitting a bad one, do ANYTHING on the third day to break the negative cycle and re-commit to your goal.

The worst thing is to do nothing and let the dominoes fall.

With appreciation,


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Daily Self-Discipline - 21,000 Happy Subscribers

Weekly self-discipline tips from a Wall Street Journal bestselling author Martin Meadows.

I'm sharing unique perspectives on how to build more self-discipline and achieve your goals. My primary focus is on sustainable, consistent methods that let you improve your life while also enjoying it. I don't believe in constantly pushing yourself to the limits and struggling for the sake of struggling. I'm an entrepreneur, writer, digital nomad, freediver, surfer, and language learning enthusiast.

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