Actionable Ideas #5: Never Miss Twice, OHIO, Identity Vote

Idea #1: Never Miss Twice

Themes: habit formation, consistency, performance

"Never miss twice" states that one mistake is an outlier in habit formation (e.g. missing a committed workout once) but two mistakes is the beginning of a pattern. The rule allows a mindset shift from a zero sum game, to a realistic behavioral change that requires consistency rather than perfection. You can also use the inversion principle to start to build a habit with just two days, or break a habit with two days.

Action item: think about a habit you want to form (e.g. writing daily). Commit to doing so with only one rule: don’t miss two days in a row. See how much longer you can go vs. trying to stick with it every single day.

Idea #2: OHIO

Themes: productivity, organization, procrastination

OHIO stands for “only handle it once” and is traditionally used as an email management strategy. Respond to an email right away rather than handling it multiple times. However, OHIO is much more powerful and can be extended to other tasks and thoughts: thinking about not doing a task often takes more cognitive energy than starting it, and starting is half the battle. Only handle a thought once. 

Action item: the next time you’re delaying a task, think about how much work you’ve already done by just thinking about avoiding it. Commit to only handling the task and thought once and get it done.

Idea #3: Identity Vote

Themes: decision making, self-management, habit formation

In Atomic Habits, James Clear states that “every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” In the same lineage of Aristotle, Jung, and Horowitz’s “you are what you do”, we take it a step further with this tactical approach and imagine ourselves intentionally casting a vote for our identity with every action we take. At the end of the day, you don’t need unanimous votes, just the majority.

Action item: draw two columns – column 1 “person I want to be”, column 2 “person I don’t want to be”. For every action you take today, keep a tally. Was it a vote for the person you want to become, or not?