For years, I’ve been using a password storage system that I’m embarrassed to admit to. It’s, well, it’s a little archaic.
It started about five years ago when I emailed myself a password so I’d have it handy, thinking I’d file it away later. That never happened. And neither did any of the other passwords I continued to email myself for the next five years.
I knew my method of remembering my passwords was ridiculously insecure. I knew that if anyone broke into my Gmail, they’d have access to my entire life. I knew this was a bad idea.
But it was just so darn easy to look up my password by typing it into the search box. And as the passwords built up, it made the cost of switching higher and higher.
Finally, last week, I was hanging out with friends and the topic of passwords came up. I told them how I just “hadn’t gotten around” to doing something better.
My friend looked at me point-blank and asked: “Well, why not? What’s keeping you from just doing it already?”
I opened my mouth to reply, then realized I didn’t have an excuse.
When my other friend chimed in that “no inconvenience is worth the inconvenience of being locked out of your life”, I knew he was right.
When it came down to it, my only excuse was that I was just being plain lazy. It would take me a couple of hours to fix my system, and that was absolutely worth saving myself a potential security headache. If I added it to my to-do list, I’d make sure to get it done the next day, once and for all.
And I did.
Get Specific With Your Excuses
In the Feast 30 Day Bootcamp, you don’t cook a thing in the first week.
We spend the first week breaking down your old habits and replacing them with new ones. You don’t have to touch a stove if you don’t want to.
This sounds silly to some people. “I don’t cook anything for an entire week of this class? What the hell am I paying for?”
We do this because we know that without getting specific on why you haven’t yet learned how to cook, any cooking techniques we throw at you are going to be meaningless.
In the case of my password situation, I had received recommendations from friends over the years for password managers. 1Password, Dashlane, LastPass. I’d had friends whose email accounts got hacked. I knew the dangers of not changing my ways.
But it was only when my friend stared me down and blatantly asked me - with that little look of judgment that made me want to crawl in a corner - “What excuse do you have for not doing this?” that I finally - after YEARS of beating around the bush - decided to do something about it.
So if you’ve been meaning to cook for years, but like me, just “haven’t gotten around to it”, what’s your excuse?
Sometimes those excuses are fears, sometimes they’re inconveniences. During the bootcamp, we don’t accept answers like “Cooking is hard” or “I don’t have time”.
Why don’t we accept those answers? Because they’re vague, and therefore non-actionable.
Make Your Excuses Actionable
Saying “Cooking is hard” is not actionable. There is no clear solution to fix that problem, or there are too many possible solutions without digging deeper.
Saying "Cooking is a pain because I never know what to make" or "I never have anything at home to cook"…those are actionable.
- "I never know what to make" - Sign up for a meal planning service, Google recipe ideas, subscribe to a food blog
- "I never have anything at home to cook" - Set up a weekly routine to get to the grocery store, get groceries delivered to you
When you fall back on non-actionable excuses like “I haven’t gotten around to it” or “It’s too hard”, it’s easy to continue what you’re doing, because it’s hard to argue with such vague logic.
When you can pinpoint your excuse and call it out by name, like “I don’t have groceries” or “I don’t know what to make”, it’s harder to ignore, because the solutions are more obvious and you feel bad for not taking action.
Your brain knows how to size and scope the time and effort needed to implement one of those actions, versus tackling the big, hairy, scary idea of “getting around to it”.
A well-written to-do list follows the same logic. If you include big, non-actionable items on a to-do list, like "Figure out healthcare", you’ll be much less likely to act on it than if you start with the first, small, yet actionable item that leads to that bigger accomplishment - like "Email 3 friends to ask them what health insurance they use".
If you keep saying you want to learn how to cook, but haven’t done a thing to start learning, start by figuring out what specifically is blocking you from taking that first step, and brainstorm some small things you could do to take action on it. So if it’s “I never have anything at home to make”, your action item might be “Sign up for Instacart”. Pick the most reasonable-sounding action and add it to your to-do list for tomorrow.
To keep the habit-forming goodness going, check out the Feast Bootcamp. We’ll start you off small and walk you through the process of becoming a cook over 30 days.
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