The Difference Between Forming and Keeping a Habit

I’ve journaled for 5 years.

Well, sort of.


Although I’ve journaled “for 5 years,” I only journaled in 35 of those 60 months.*

Although I’ve journaled for 35 months, I only journaled in 91 of those 140 weeks.*

Although I’ve journaled for 140 weeks, I only journaled on 750 of those 980 days.*

In sum: Although I journaled for 5 years, I only journaled on 41% of those days.*

The above probably doesn’t fit your definition of “consistent.”


More important than consistency is the willingness to return to a practice after an absence. Grit.

Consistency is both necessary and sufficient for forming a habit; however, it is neither necessary nor sufficient for keeping a habit.

When you miss doing Habit X for a day, week, month, or even a year, the Resistance emerges and says something like:

”It’s all ruined now! Might as well accept defeat.”

That’s why one day turns into two days, one week into two, one month to two; it’s why so many habits are start-stop, start-stop for our entire lives.

But if you accept that you’ll drop the ball and neglect habits, and if you expect that the Resistance will seize the opportunity to deflate our ambitions, you’ll be prepared to soldier on anyways.

Don’t let the Resistance convince you that you’ve lost the war when you’ve only lost one measly battle.

*Estimated numbers because I am a qualitative, not a quantitative, reviewer.

You can learn more about keeping habits in my book and on my blog.


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