Why Daily Frequency of Habits is Important

One very common question is: what about habits that aren’t every day? What if I want to exercise three times a week, or do my finances once a week?

It’s very possible to create a habit like that (think of weekend habits as a good example), but it’s harder.

Daily habits are easier to create, and therefore have a better chance of success.

Remember, you need to create a strong bond between the trigger and the habit, and this is done by being as consistent as possible. The more the habit is consistently done immediately after the trigger, the stronger the bond, and the sooner the habit becomes automatic.

So if you decide to create a new habit in two months … think about the bond between trigger and habit if you exercise once a week, or every day:

  • The once a week habit will happen about eight times in the two months, giving the habit and trigger eight chances to form a bond.
  • The daily habit will happen about 60 times in the two months, giving the habit and trigger more than 7 times the number of chances to form a bond.

From this, it should be obvious why a daily habit is formed more firmly than a weekly habit. And it follows that doing a habit 2-3 times a week, or even 5 times a week, is less than ideal — not as good as a daily habit.

So, at least for your first few habits, choose habits that can be done every single day. Which means you need a trigger you do every single day — this is important: don’t choose a trigger you only do on weekdays and then forget about on weekends. For example, if you get up and get ready for work on weekdays, but sleep in and do a completely different routine when you wake up on weekends, don’t choose your weekday routine as your trigger.

If you choose a habit that’s less than daily — say 5 times a week or 2-3 times — choose a trigger that’s only done on those days. So if you ride the train to work 5 times a week, then it’s OK to use that as a trigger for a habit you do 5 times a week. But it’s not OK to use that as a trigger for a habit you plan to do 2-3 times a week, because then you’ll have 3 days where it’s a trigger for the habit, and 2 days when it’s not. Which means the bond will be very weak — you don’t automatically do the habit every single time the trigger occurs.

But again, daily frequency is best, because the bond will become the strongest. And again, choose a daily habit for at least your first 2-3 habits.