By Jacky Jiang; Edited by Rosie Kirk

While the freedom to do what I want when I want is something that I highly value, this year has taught me that there is such a thing as too much freedom. I had no morning bus to catch. Lectures were all prerecorded. I was not needed at work. So for a good portion of the year, I had an abundance of free time and freedom to do as I pleased. Now that I have so much time, I thought, I can really buckle down, focus on my studies and work on myself.

Oh how naive I was.

Months passed and I quickly became a prisoner confined to my room, stumbling through my wasteland of a mind, lost and without any sense of progression in life. The lack of rules, systems and structure in my days had made it considerably more difficult to maintain any healthy habits or establish new goals and aspirations.

I knew I needed to change.

And that’s when I stumbled upon minimalist/productivity god Matt D’Avella’s video on the Two Day Rule. It’s really quite simple: you are not allowed to take more than one consecutive day off of doing a certain habit.

For example, let’s say that you wanted to make exercising a regular habit. Well, the Two Day Rule says that you essentially must exercise at least once every other day. So if you went on a run on Monday, you could take a day off on Tuesday if you needed, but on Wednesday you must again do some form of exercise.

The beauty of the rule is its flexibility; while promoting consistency, it also cuts you some slack, so if you had a big Friday night, you don’t feel obligated to do anything on Saturday. The rule is also non-specific. You could apply it or some variation of it across multiple facets of life, be it studying, reading or learning a language. It doesn’t specify how much you need to do, only that you must show up and do something.

We all like to set goals for ourselves but a lot of the time we forget to make them realistic. Initially we may have the drive and willpower to keep up the habit, but eventually we will burn out, fall back into inconsistency and never achieve anything significant. By not focussing on 100% perfection, but rather building up habits sustainably, the Two Day Rule is a great way to start making a positive change in your life.

I personally found that by using this rule to develop a consistent workout schedule, I’ve experienced far-reaching benefits. My sleep is better, my appetite is better and I’ve regained that sense of progression that had been absent for too long. This newfound productivity and motivation carries over into my work and studies as well, thereby returning some sense of structure and purpose back into my life. If any of my struggles sound at all familiar to you, then I encourage you to try applying the Two Day Rule to your own life and see what it can do for you.

Link to Matt D’Avella’s video:

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