How to start any habit you want in 2023 in ‘Beginner’ mode

Hi guys! This is Max, the author of this Productivity newsletter.

I write this email to help you get better at managing your time and achieve more. Today I wanted to share a few ideas that sound interesting and may be helpful for you.

⚡Framework: Use the ‘Beginner’ mode to start habits easily


  • Many of us think about starting a new habit that will somehow improve our life.
  • I’ve been thinking about starting this newsletter for months. Someone might want to start exercising, eating healthy, or learning Spanish.
  • Starting a new habit like this is hard. It requires our effort, and chances are high that we abandon it soon.
  • We can easily find multiple excuses, which include: having no time, feeling tired or too stressed about something, etc.


  • The real reason behind our inability to stick for a long time is its complexity and laziness.
  • Humans do their best to avoid that Spanish lesson next time it should take place. I abandoned the idea to start writing a newsletter muliple times too, just because I didn’t feel good about it.


  • “Beginner mode” can be the way to overcome this laziness. It means doing as little as possible as often as you can.
  • Think about it:
    • ❌ having 2-hour-long Spanish session 3 times per week = hard
    • ✅ learning 5 new Spanish words each day = easy
    • ❌ writing 3 blog posts in a week = hard
    • ✅ writing 1 comment on Reddit every day = easy
    • ❌ going to the gym for 1.5 hours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday = hard
    • ✅ doing 5 push-ups every day = easy
  • Despite the fact that it sounds “too simple” sometimes, the ‘Beginner’ mode works pretty well. You make yourself used to this new habit, which drives progress and makes it a stronger part of the routine with time.
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  • Think about the last habit that you wanted to start, but failed for some reason
  • Try the “Beginner” mode of it by decreasing its complexity multiple times
  • Make sure to repeat it daily, to develop this habit
  • You can read more about this concept in “Atomic Habits” by James Clear

🧪 Experiment: Belief and hope = Higher chances for success

The basic idea:

  • A scientist studied behavior in extreme conditions.
  • He put a rat into a bucket with water and started observing. The goal was to understand: how long will the animal keep fighting for life.
  • On average, each rat kept swimming on the surface for a few minutes. After that, they ‘gave up’ and started to sink.

Making a change:

  • A scientist did a small change: he saved rats that were starting to sink. He pulled them out of the bucket and let them take a rest from swimming.
  • Later, he put them back into the water and measured the time again.


  • Turns out, the animals who have been ‘rescued’ from drowning were able to survive for a much longer time, compared to their peers.
  • They kept swimming for hours without sinking to the bottom.


  • The name of this scientist was Curt Richter. He managed to prove that hope might increase one’s resilience significantly.
  • In other words, hope for a better future can become a source of power that helps to survive hardships.
  • You can read more about this experiment here

⚒️ Tool: Track your habits with ease (and for free)


  • Repetition is extremely important in establishing a new habit.
  • Tracking this repetition visually makes the process much easier (and more satisfying)
Read also:  Make calendar work for you


  • There are many different apps that allow you to track your habits, but I enjoy one specific setup that is free and easy-to-customize
  • It is based on Google Sheets. Here you can grab the template and read more on how to make it work

End note

I hope you enjoyed reading this letter. You can always reply to this email and share your ideas if you want to chat about productivity, share your feedback, or say ‘hi’.

Have a great weekend!