The Two-Day Rule of Forming Successful Habits

When you see a blogger, YouTuber, influencer or Internet marketer who has “made it,” you sometimes think to yourself just how “lucky” they are. Maybe you recognize how talented they are or how they have these incredible skills that have propelled them to astronomical success. However, this comes from a place of a “fixed” mindset rather than one of a “growth” mindset. Having some in-born talents is great, but they’re meaningless if you don’t put them into practice and work on improving them steadily over time.

You might recall when I said that success is a habit and not a goal to be achieved. You might also remember when I said that excellence is a habit. As such, you should come to realize that if you want to be successful, you need to have successful habits. But as you gaze upon those empty gyms in February, you might also realize that it can be hard to make successful habits stick.

Here’s a simple hack I learned the other day about forming these kinds of successful and sustainable habits: it’s called the two-day rule. Let me explain.

One Day at a Time

Let’s say that you want to make it big on YouTube. That’s great. As you know, posting a new video only every once a while will achieve very limited results. You need to be consistent and reliable. You also need to put in the practice so that your videos actually improve over time. Unsurprisingly, your first few videos are probably going to be pretty bad, and that’s okay.

It’s with this kind of mindset that John has participated in a few 90 day video challenges over the years. And it’s the same kind of mindset you need to apply if you want to be a successful blogger. Create and publish new content EVERY DAY so that the content creation itself becomes a habit. Putting up that daily vlog or daily blog post just becomes a part of your regular everyday routine.

This is a perfect starting point. However, you might find that the pressure to produce EVERY SINGLE DAY can get remarkably overwhelming very quickly. And this is where the two-day rule comes into play.

Everyone Deserves a Day Off

The ideal objective is that you’re able to maintain your daily objective each and every day without fail. That’s how I managed to complete my #kwan365 challenge on Instagram. But the reality of the situation is that life can sometimes get in the way, especially if the daily habit you’re trying to build is more ambitious than posting at least one image each day on Instagram.

So, cut yourself some slack and take a day off. You’re only human. But with the two-day rule in play, you must NEVER skip two days in a row. If you skipped yesterday, you HAVE TO produce today. If you skip today, you HAVE TO produce tomorrow. This takes some of the pressure off, while simultaneously putting a system in place where the habit doesn’t completely disintegrate.

Without the two-day rule in place, skipping one day lends itself to a slippery slope where you skip two days in a row. Then three. Then four. And before you know it, it’s been two weeks since you’ve last fulfilled your obligation. With the two-day rule, there’s some healthy pressure to perform without it becoming completely debilitating.

Positive Habits Take Time

We’ve used the hypothetical example of posting a video every day to YouTube or publishing a new post on your blog every day. However, the two-day rule can just as easily be applied to practically any other daily habit you want to form in your life. Want to exercise every day? Use the two-day rule. Want to meditate for 30 minutes every day? Use the two-day rule.

What I will say, though, is that you really shouldn’t apply the two-day rule if you are participating in a shorter term challenge, privately or publicly. If you’re doing a “30-day challenge,” you really shouldn’t miss a day. Apply the two-day rule and you could theoretically only participate for 15 of those 30 days, and that’s hardly living up to the spirit of a 30-day challenge.

Instead, use this rule when you’ve got a longer time horizon in mind. When you give yourself that time and space, you grant yourself more time and space for the habit to become second nature. Then, you don’t even need to think about rules anymore, because blogging, vlogging, exercising or meditating will just become a natural part of your daily routine.