Picking the right tool

July 10, 2017


When I think about my day-to-day behaviours, I often evaluate whether I want to become an expert or remain an amateur in that skill. For instance, cooking is something I found myself enjoying over the last few years. As you can imagine, cooking can vary between a simple and a highly complex and time-consuming activity. In my situation, I wanted to enjoy cooking while requiring little willpower to maintain and continuously upgrade this skill — ultimately deciding that cooking will remain an ‘amateur skill’ which also allows me to focus on mastering other priorities.

Nir Eyal’s (@neyal99) has a fantastic framework on how to choose the best behaviourial change tools for sustainable outcomes. In this scenario, it was about evaluating whether cooking is an amateur or expert behaviour. Too often we apply the same logic and approaches to both despite their vastly different attributes. An amateur behaviour is likely a low-touch, routine task that we want to integrate into our lives for wellbeing benefits — e.g., flossing. On the other hand, an expert behaviour requires strict goals, implementation plans, deliberate practice, competition and relentless grit and persistence. Imagine doing these for every task in your life! (Check out 👉 http://bit.ly/2t5h3mV for article)



1) Jot down the routine behaviours and activities in your day (perhaps split between weekday and weekend)

2) Label each as an amateur or expert behavior

3) For amateur tasks, ask yourself what is the minimal viable action required to realize the benefits while maintaining enjoyment of the activity (Nir uses the MEA concept)

4) For expert tasks, apply a rigorous goal setting and execution approach (to be covered in a separate post)

5) Track your daily progress

6) Periodically re-visit and audit your day-to-day behaviours to ensure it is aligned with the things that matter most to you 💯

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