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/hb/ - Health & Beauty


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The X Effect Anonymous 1

The X Effect started on reddit as a method of forming habits and building willpower.

The idea is to track the habit you want to form for 49 days on a 7x7 grid. Each day you cross off a box if you did the thing, and you try and keep the chain of X's going for the whole 7 weeks. The theory is if you can do something every day for 7 weeks then you can keep doing it.

I've been using it to form basic morning/night routines and it's been really helpful, not only for motivation but also for accountability and tracking my progress. Have any of you tried this before?

Anonymous 2

I would really like to try this. Accountability thread?

Anonymous 3


That's what I'd like this to be! What cards do you want to try? It's generally a good idea to start with only one or two cards. People who start with lots of cards tend to be prone to burn out.

Right now I'm focusing on dental hygiene. (pic related) It's a little embarrassing how basic I've had to start, but it's been a worthwhile endeavor. What I love about this system is that it's not only keeping me accountable, but it makes progress really tangible, so I can say for sure that I'm doing better than I was a few months ago.

Anonymous 4

I want to do something like this to motivate me to stay vegan and avoid making exceptions. I often end up eating dairy or eggs if I eat out so I want to learn to just resist the temptation of eating out with friends. Instead I tell them to call me when they're done and I join them for drinks in a park.
Right now I'm doing an habit tracker in my bullet journal, where every month I track:
>making my bed in the morning
>yoga, meditation
>lunch log and sleep log
>drawing, writing
>cleaning, laudry
>Vegan day
However it's a bit all over the place and sometimes I get too lazy to fill it in. So a dedicated calendar for one or two things that are more important would be helpful. I'll try to do it for next month I think!

This is so cute! I gotta get myself a cute stamp now.

Anonymous 5

I also use a bullet journal! In general, I start with a card for the one or two things I'm actively trying to form a habit over, mainly new habits, and then track more passive habits in my journal for that exact reason. That way, I'm still vaguely accountable for the habits I've already formed, but there's still a stronger focus on the habits I'm actively trying to form. Even if I could habit track in my journal every day, I think it would be difficult for me to prioritize between new and old habits, so this has been working best for me.

Unrelated, but we should totally start a bullet journal thread one of these days.

Anonymous 6

I'm so glad you made this thread! I assume you're the same anon as the one in the dental health thread. I'd never heard of the X effect before, but it sounds interesting and I'd love to try it!

Adding to what OP has already said:
Make sure you write down the reason(s) why you want to own the habit on the back of the card as a reminder.
Example habit: drink 8 glasses of water each day.
Example reason: for glowing skin.

It's also okay to miss a day, but make sure to do it the next day. Write down (in a diary or maybe on the back of the card) WHY you missed it to avoid making the same mistake again or maybe even understand yourself better!

Lastly, once you finally have a full card, even with some holes, it's still tangible, visible proof you went through with something, be proud! Also:

>after finishing a card, your circumstances in life might not have changed, but your outlook probably has.

I blatantly got that line from a reddit post, but I still think it might be helpful to some of you. I wish you all the best of luck!

Anonymous 7

>vegan day
nods in vegan approval

Anonymous 8

Yes reasons have helped me so much! It's one of my favorite parts.

Some people do a reward system but that doesn't really work for me.

Anonymous 9

I love this idea but I have so many things I need to improve that I don't even know where to start, holy fuck

Anonymous 10


OP here, that's where I started 3 months ago. What I recommend is starting with the most foundational habits - the ones that are preventing you from doing the most things - and moving up from there. This might feel like a waste of time if you have much bigger problems in your life, but the way I see it, if you're already at rock bottom, unless you turn around those little things preventing you from progressing, you'll just sit around for another 3 months not working on your bigger problems anyway. You can't run a marathon in a day, or something like that.

My theory with these cards, and so far it's paying off for me, is that if you establish a solid habit, then you never have to think about it again, and you can do it without spending energy on it. No matter how small your goal is, no matter how many days you miss, chances are you're still doing at least a little bit better than you were yesterday, and as long as you can focus on the tiny day to day progress, you'll get really far before you even realize it. My therapist described it as, when you walk over a patch of grass enough times, eventually it creates a path. It's the same with your brain. Do something enough times and your brain creates neural pathways for it. You got this.

Feel free to post your cards in here for accountability. Thursday is actually the official "share your cards" day on the subreddit, so it's a wonderful day to start!

Pic related is my card as of today. A solid week of flossing and brushing! This week, I experienced something interesting. In the past, I wouldn't even brush my teeth before bed or anything because I'd feel so sick. This week, even if I was sick, I had the willpower to force myself to the sink to brush and floss anyway. Oddly enough, after brushing and flossing most of the time I've actually felt much better. Small steps!

Any other gems out there starting any cards? How's your progress going? Pics are always encouraged.

Anonymous 11

Oh my goodness you got a hedgehog stamp for it? That is so fucking adorable Anon, I'm going to do the same and buy a stamp online!

Anonymous 12


Do it! The ones I got are out of stock but I got them from this artist: http://diamagnet.tictail.com/product/bowtie-collection-set-of-4-ink-stamps

Anonymous 13


Started this today. Gonna add a second card in seven days and so on as I read a few habits can be achieved by staggering the start dates.

Obviously mine isn't as aesthetically pleasing as most people's but maybe for my next one I'll make more effort. I also made mistakes and had to thickly mark over that… lol. Also I'm aware my handwriting is pure doctors scribble, pls no bully

Anonymous 14

congratulations on starting! Is that 1 or 2 hours? If you find that you struggle with it come back, I've got lots of advice and tricks up my sleeve.

I don't want to post my card since I feel like I spammed it above already, but both of my teeth cards are coming along really well. I've only missed a few days and I can feel the flossing almost becoming a habit!

Anonymous 15

>>14 it's 1hr+ so I'm aiming for at least an hour but anything over if I get on a roll is great.

I redid the grid using a template from the internet (I say redid… I just printed out someone's template…)

So far I've done 2 days and missed 3 days. I wrote why I missed in; family visited and then the other 2 days I played games all day… so any advice would be amazing please anon <3

I've just stuck a post it note on my monitor saying "please don't play games until you've done x effect" but we'll see tomorrow how that works out for me…

Anonymous 16

I think the "why" is a great first step. It can help you to focus away from pointlessly hating yourself for not doing what you were supposed to do, and towards finding a solution!

I think what people on the subreddit would say is that your cards are too lofty. The idea is for cards to be made so easy that you may as well do them. A lot of people will make study cards only 20 minutes a day. Apparently after getting into the habit of studying daily, they'd find that they often blow past the 20 minute mark and just keep studying. It makes sense to me; the hardest part is usually just opening the book. If you want more incentive, you could make it a 20 minute card, but give yourself an extra gold star for the days you go over an hour! Even though it's not an hour, I'm assuming you're not studying at all right now, so even just 20 minutes a day would be an improvement, right?

The other thing is if you find there's something consistently getting in your way you can make a card of that, too. For example "no video games until after studying". Personally, I found it was enough to just write it as a strategy on the back of the card, but some habits are harder to break than others, so if that's not enough a second card is an option!

Anonymous 17

Yes definitely! It helped me to realise if I start playing games it's likely I won't come off for a long time. SO I should be productive and then use games as a reward~

The 20 minutes idea is definitely a better one! I know what you mean. I will change it to 20 minutes then, although I have done an hour the last two days (yay! the post-it note worked!).

Maybe if I put "20mins+" so then on days I'm like erugh it'll be like "come on, it's only 20 minutes" and on days I'm more energetic I can study for… however long!

I'm bringing in another card for programming tomorrow, I'll alter the time for that too! Thank you anon <3

Anonymous 18

Congratulations! I'm glad the post it is working!

Are you part of the programming discord server yet? I want to start organizing digital hack nights!

Anonymous 19


>>18 Yeah I am! I have the miner role but I haven't mentioned any of the languages I know yet. I feel kinda shy about it all…

The digital hack nights sound super fun!! I can count that as my 20mins+ for that day for sure too!

Anonymous 20

I'm going to try this. Thanks OP!

Do you think it would be OK to keep these pages in an agenda, or should they be out in the open?

Accountability thread sounds like a good idea!

I would like to do something similar to this, but not sure if I can get myself to atm because I've been so stressed. Will try though (maybe 20 minutes for me…)

Anonymous 21

I've seen people who incorporate their x effect cards into their bullet journals, so I think it must be fine for some people. The cards have been a great reminder for me to do these habits because I can put them somewhere I'll always see them. So, it probably depends on how often you check your planner, and whether you'll remember to flip to the x effect pages.

Please let us know if you decide to try it. I want to see more cards in here!

Anonymous 2143

hey! sorry to bump an old thread but i was linked here through a thread on feels where OP was seeking organizational help cope with depression, and i'm one of the anons in the exact same boat. just out of curiosity, did anyone on here stick with this and how well did it work for you?

Anonymous 2146

Hey! I'm the OP and also the person who linked it. I stuck with it for six months and I have a full time job now so I can say it worked out pretty well for me. I've fallen off the horse so I'm starting again this week going back to some basic self care habits. If the thread is revived I'll keep sharing here, but it sounds like the Reddit is the most active community for the time being.

Anonymous 2153

Hey there! (:
I'm the OP of the feels thread, thanks for bumping this, if you hadn't, I would have had to do it anyway, haha.
But yes, if anyone can share how well this has worked for them, I'd also be really interested in hearing. I'm going to start pretty small, perhaps with some self-care habits, then move on to something a bit bigger if I find this works well.

Anonymous 2200

Anyone ever tried this to control negative/self loathing thoughts? I've been wondering if it could work.

Anonymous 2202

I think it depends on how you set up the goal. Because you're trying to avoid doing something instead of setting up a habit, slipping up seems like a huge failure. Maybe try to make the habit "think of something positive for every negative thought" so you are working on doing better? (Instead of thinking one negative thought, not being able to earn the X, then negative feedback loop)

Anonymous 2208

Ohhh, that seems like a good idea. Thanks, anon.

Anonymous 2926

Just started one for "shower daily" as a way to ensure self-care when I'm have depressive episodes. It's been very helpful so far.

Which made me think how useful a lot of anons in /hb/ and /feels/ would probably find the X effect sheets. For example, a lot of threads on improving appearance etc (shower daily/style hair daily/exercise daily) or even for girls with anxiety pants, they could set a small daily goal to help them with that (speak to one person a day, do one thing that makes you anxious a day).

I've used x effect before for habit building around my skills and career etc but I really think people overlook how useful it can be for stuff like this. I hope someone takes inspo from this anyway <3

Anonymous 4771

Sorry to bump an old thread but I love this idea and I'm going to make some of these today. My little goals are:
>do morning stretches
>drink 2l of water
>drink (at least one cup of) green tea
>do yoga/meditate
>track my food intake (but allow a free space for a cheat day lol)
>eat (at least) 5 servings of fruit/veg
>spend 15 minutes cleaning my room
>read something before bed

I'm probably going to start off with one or two and see how it goes instead of doing them all at once.

Anonymous 4806

I think I'm going to this. Does everyone use a physical calendar /card, or has anyone tried doing this on their phone calendar /planner?

Anonymous 4900


Replying to myself because maybe it'll help someone else: if you search "habit tracker," There are a lot of useful-looking apps!

Anonymous 6631


I definitely want to try this!!!!!!! I'll post my charts when I get home on Tuesday.

Anonymous 6682

I'm starting this today :)
>Brush teeth
>Wash face
Simple ones but something I struggle with having depression, so I'll make sure to do them every day.
If it goes well after a week or two I'll start doing some others like
>Stay hydrated

Anonymous 6918

How did your first month go?

Anonymous 7266

Just want to bless this entire OP because getting into this was the single most beneficial thing at helping me move forward and deal with my depression and I can't recommend it enough to you all, so bump bump bump

Anonymous 7281

thanks for bumping. I hadn't seen this thread before but now I'm inspired and I'm gonna try this out! I would like to track healthy eating habits

Anonymous 7288

This has really been helping me. But I've realized once I go past 4-5 things I start dropping the difficult ones and then just dropping all but the easiest. Anyone else have this problem or am I just lazy? (or both?)

Anonymous 7289

That may be from trying to form too many habits at once. Why not focus on 3-4 for the first 7 week cycle and then evaluate later?

Anonymous 7432

update: I started small with brushing teeth before bed and keeping a gratitude journal. I'm on day 26 of brushing before bed and day 20 of gratitude journaling (only missed one day total). it feels really good to mark of each evening! I want to incorporate some new habits soon

Anonymous 7720

I second what this anon has said. I remember hearing somewhere that you aren't supposed to try to introduce too many habits at a single time as it often lead to failure - instead, you're supposed to focus on only a few to start with, then add a few more each month.

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