Deliberate Habits

May 2018 | Axel Neree | Tru Function

"Habits speak louder than words."

Growing up I never read books in school! I hated it! Not sure why, maybe I just wasn't interested in the books & subjects we were reading. I was 22 years old when I picked up a self-help book. I don’t know how the book fell into my hands. It was called “The Power Of Now” and it dramatically changed my life the moment I started reading it. It created a huge shift in my life.

At the time I didn’t understand what deliberate habits were, but from that experience I decided I would read a book a month, every month. That then turned into 2 books a month, which eventually turned into 1 book a week. I decided I wanted that feeling, the feeling of opening my mind, of developing my perspective constantly. I would have a glimpse into people’s minds when I read their work. People I admired, people I dreamed of meeting & having conversations with. I got to peep into their minds and see their way of thinking & listen to them express themselves & their perspectives through their stories. This was the key to growing for me.

In recognizing this I chose to implement a deliberate habit of reading every single day so I can learn, connect dots, take people’s advice, experiences & grow myself. That was my purpose in developing this deliberate habit of reading. One of my favorite quotes by Warren Buffet is “We must learn from mistakes, but they don’t all have to be yours”.

My favorite Warren Buffet quote of all time is:

“The chains of habits are too light to feel, until they are too heavy to be broken”? - Warren Buffet

What if we thought about two different types of habits? Habits & Deliberate Habits. Effortless habits & effortful habits. We must not only recognize our habits, but also recognize the power of our habits.

Difference between habits & deliberate habits.


“a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up”

I think of this as "Effortless habits" some are good, some are bad. Whether good or bad, we have to recognize the power of habit. We are habitual creatures. We can become victims to our habits, or be masters of our habits. Recognize your mental, physical, emotional & intellectual habits, then ask yourself if these habits are leading towards the life you wish to live & the person you want to become. Once you have that answer you then have choices to make.

"Men Form habits, Habits form futures"

The choices you have to make are which "deliberate habits" you wish to practice in order to create the live you desire & become whom you want to become.

Deliberate habit:

  • Deliberate definition: “Done consciously and intentionally”

  • Used as a verb; “engage in long and careful consideration”

Example: He deliberated over his craft.

A habit that is purposeful & systematic. You are doing it consciously & intentionally.

I like to think of deliberate habits as "Effortful habits". This is one of the greatest skills I believe we can develop as human beings. The ability to consciously recognize & choose our habits. These are practices that will never be automatic. They will never be effortless!

These are not regular habits, these are not things that will ever become "regular tendencies or practices" on their own. These are things you have to choose & put effort in to develop them, time & time again. They take constant effort & energy every single time to choose these actions. These are the habits that give you the slight edge you've been hoping for.

"Thinking Fast & slow" By Daniel Kahneman does a great job of illustrating the power of our habitual selves. In his book, Kahneman speaks about how as humans we are wired to think 2 ways, both being of value to us, but we must understand the power of these systems & ways of thinking. He speaks about our intuitive thinking, which he refers as "system 1" & our deliberate thinking which he refers to as our "system 2". He gives great insights about our mental habits, explaining with great evidence about how we have effortless mental actions (system 1, which may be good or bad) that can dictate & influence our perspectives leading us to certain biases or judgments. And how we have effortful mental actions (system 2) which take deliberate thoughts & energy in order to come to conclusions, working through recognizing & getting past our very own biases & judgments that lead us astray.

A favorite example of mine Kahneman uses to demonstrate this is:

"A bat & a ball costs $1.10 total.

If the bat costs a dollar more than the ball, how much is the ball?"

Whats your answer?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Your first answer, a fast answer, effortless answer (system 1) may lead you astray thinking the ball costs $0.10.

Once you put in some deliberate mental effort & do some simple algebra you'll soon realize that the correct answer is $0.05.

The lesson here is to discipline yourself. The right disciplines are what get you going. You must deliberately set your code of behavior. It will take effortful actions to cultivate a way of thinking that you can benefit from. It will take effortful actions to sustain the physical habits you need in order to have the body you desire. Habits are what you do consistently. These consistent actions can make or break you. You become what you consistently do. In other words, you become your habits.

"Discipline is the highest form of Self-Respect."

How do you cultivate habits? It takes consciousness, it takes consistency, it takes practice.

It takes deliberate practice. You must have discipline to consciously & consistently practice deliberate habits! This applies to everything!

  • In how you eat

  • In how you think

  • In how you speak/ treat yourself

  • In how you speak / treat others

  • In how you carry yourself physically

  • In how you carry yourself emotionally

  • etc..

Habits & Deliberate habits.

  • Ask yourself “Are my habits leading me towards who I want to be?”

  • “What deliberate habits must I develop & practice in order to become who it is I want to become?”

Deliberate habits are intentionally & consciously done. They’re purposeful & systematic.

Be purposeful & systematic about your habits!

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