My wife and I on a date at our local theme park (another habit I’m trying to get better at is taking her out weekly!)

Interview with Kody Duncan

My name is Kody Duncan, I work full time as a director of marketing and run a weekly newsletter called Habit Examples in my free time. My wife and 2 (almost 3) kids live in her home town in north Idaho where we spend as much time as we can outdoors in our lakes and mountains. I was born and raised in Utah, and also lived in Honduras for 2 years while volunteering as a full time service missionary for my church. That’s actually where I met my wife, where she was also serving as a missionary!

What’s something that has been helping you be consistent?

One thing that’s made a massive difference is building habits around things I feel passionate about. For years I felt like I had knowledge and experience to share, both from my degree in psychology, my years of experience in the personal development industry through my dads company, as well as my own studies and experience.. but I had no outlet or audience to share it with. I don’t love social media either, so I didn’t want to be an Instagram influencer. YouTube seemed like a LOT of work - more than I can give right now as a husband, dad, full time marketer, and with church responsibilities.

Then I discovered the idea of running a free email newsletter - and 9 months ago launched it. I committed to sending one email per week sharing tips, insights from studies, and cool stories that inspire me to build my own habits. So, I figure others will enjoy it too.

Building and keeping this habit has brought massive amounts of fulfillment to my life. I don’t make any money from it right now, yet spend several hours a week researching and writing the content because I truly just love the process of it and the joy that comes when even one person tells me that what I shared made a difference in their day.

The social accountability of knowing people expect it every Tuesday helps me stay consistent too!It’s not for everyone - but the habit of sharing what I’m passionate about really does make me happy and I plan to continue indefinitely.

Which habits or goals are you currently working to make progress on daily?

I go through phases of being really physically active for a while exercising everyday, then suddenly not for a while. Every time I’m reminded that sticking to doing SOMETHING every day is always the answer, no matter how small. For example, last year I started back into just 10 minutes a day of exercise. After a month or two, I upped it to 20 minutes.

Then I got motivated and a buddy and I signed up to run a Spartan Beast, which is often 15+ miles and 30-40 obstacles. We joined a CrossFit gym where we went 3x a week and we’re running several miles multiple times a week. Now, several months after successfully completing that race, I’m back to building up my exercise habit again - and that’s OKAY!

I think we all need to be a lot more compassionate with ourselves when we fall out of habit in something. It’s not a sign or failure - it’s just human nature that long lasting change takes time, effort, and MANY attempts to get it to stick. So for the last few weeks my “something” has been 30 push ups per day, cause that’s what I can give right now. My next move is to get back into running and biking with my friend again - which is the other key…

Every time I find a good workout buddy I become dramatically more consistent. Accountability is king.

How do you deal with times when you struggle or get stuck?

In business there’s a concept of a MVP, or minimum viable product. The idea is that before massively investing in a new business idea, you want to create the most basic, bare bones version of that product to prove that it works, provides value, and people want it.

The same principle is essential in building habits - yet most of us think the opposite way. We come up with a habit we want to work on, then quickly jump the gun to the biggest most awesome version of that we want to start doing tomorrow (most New Year’s resolutions). “I’m gonna go to the gym for an hour!” “I’m gonna read 10 books this summer!” “I’m gonna wake up 2 hours earlier!”

What we really need to do - what I strive to do - is go back to our Minimum Viable Habit (MVH). What is the tiniest version of this habit you could commit to?

Most of my habits right now are TINY. They each take 2 minutes or less. Yet the way I feel After doing them is so much better than before I do them. There’s a kind of accomplishment energy that comes from doing what you say you will do - no matter how small, that then often leads to bigger actions over time.

My dad, Kirk Duncan once said, “No habit is too small until you can do it consistently.”

Any methods, tools or tips you recommend for your habits, goals or productivity?

One of my college professors and her husband participated in hundreds of studies on willpower and found, somewhat unsurprisingly, that willpower is strongest in the morning, so I usually try and do my habits earlier in the day to capitalize on that.

I try and pick habits I intrinsically enjoy at least to some degree. No use building a habit out of guilt or obligation. Recently I’ve been using a habit tracker called that’s been really useful to me, as it helps me visualize my progress with habits as a chart tracked over time. That way, it’s less about what happens on any single day, and more about where I’m headed in my overall trajectory.

A favorite quote?

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become” - James Clear

It used to be that when I’d go to bed at night, I’d leave my clothes in a pile next to my bed. I’d tell myself I’d put it away in the morning. Sometimes this pile would grow over a few days before I’d get to it. All the while, the pile of clothes would mock me as a symbol of my laziness and inaction.

One day, that quote from James Clear popped in my head, and I realized I wanted to vote for myself to be the kind of person that puts away my clothes at night. It sounds so silly and simple, but now every night I hear his voice in my head, and even if it’s 2 am, I fold up my pants and put them in my drawer, and hang my shirt back up (if it’s still clean, of course). I don’t care if you make fun of me - every time I make this choice I feel like I’m becoming the kind of person I want to be.