Being January, a lot of people have habit-forming on the brain. My favorite app for habit-forming is Streaks, which is designed to encourage you to complete tasks over consecutive days, X times per week, etc. It can even read health data from your iPhone and automatically check off health-related tasks.

I think most people approach habit-forming in terms of “things I want to do,” and that was generally me before 2016. But in 2016, I started taking a more inverted approach and embraced the “to-don’t.” I’m willing to bet for most people in modern times, you’ll find more low hanging fruit in to-don’t lists, which are simply lists of things you do not want to do.

Great examples of things to not do or just do less:

  1. Don’t check email in the morning
  2. Only check Twitter once per day
  3. Don’t eat dessert Monday through Friday
  4. Look at the stock market only once per week

I have had a lot of success with the “only once per day” variety. It’s really amazing how easy the internet makes it to check in on useless information and how much attention that destroys. It only takes one or two well-designed to-don’ts to indirectly make way for a significantly more focused day.

Building long streaks of to-don’ts with an app like Streaks is surprisingly easy, and it’s really empowering to see that you only did something once per day for the last, say, 45 days, that you used to do 100 times a day.