"It can happen every day. You've just got to want that feeling. And if you like it and you want it, you'll get greedy for it. You'll want it everyday of your life, and it can happen to you. I believe in it now."
If you don't recognise that it's from Bill Murray's great "Christmas Spirit" speech at the end of Scrooged.
So why am I quoting it here?
There is an idea that if you set your targets ridiculously low, that they're so easy to achieve, you'll want to do more — you won't want to stop at just hitting your target. One push up is easy so why not do a few more while you're there. Writing one sentence is easy and you've probably got more to say so write a few more while you're in the swing.
James Clear writes about it in Atomic Habits. Leo Babauta mentioned it on Zen Habits, as I linked to a couple of days ago.
The important part of building a habit is turning up, you can't do anything if you don't turn up. "The journey of a thousand miles..." and all that. Making your goal so easy that it's impossible to fail is like tricking the brain: you feel good that you've started and want to do more and that, in turn, makes you feel even better because you've exceeded your goal. And if you like it and you want it, you'll get greedy for it.
My goal is to write every day, just enough to make it achievable rather than setting my sights too high. Just turning up each day so that the word count keeps rising. But as things build I want to do more and find myself going back during the day and adding some more notes or doing research — not necessarily doing the actual writing but everything else around it.
I began reading at bedtime to get myself back into the habit, I had a number of books piling up but had stopped reading. Again, the target was so low as to be virtually impossible to fail — just a couple of pages a night or a section. Just enough to keep the pages turning. Now I find myself not only reading more each night but coming back during the day if there is an interesting chapter I want to finish.
I'm getting greedy for it.