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A Fail-Safe Tip to Creating a Habit with Ryan Levesque

Ryan Levesque is the Inc. 500 CEO of The ASK Method® Company, and the #1 national best-selling author of Ask, which was named by Inc. as the #1 Marketing Book of the Year. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and Entrepreneur and over 250,000 entrepreneurs subscribe to his email newsletter offering business advice. He is also a co-founder and investor in bucket.io®, a leading marketing funnel software for entrepreneurs.

"When you change the questions you ask, you can change your life."


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  • The brain responds to change as a threat, whether the change is negative or positive
  • The brain’s job is to keep us safe and preserve the state that we’re in, so change can elicit the fight or flight response, meaning we flee, freeze or fight
  • We can learn to hack the fight or flight response to influence and improve our life


  • A lot of Ryan’s early decisions were driven by fear, and he went on to study the psychology of fear
  • Ask yourself the question: what is something I can do right now in the direction I want to go that is so small it is literally impossible to fail?
  • Example: if you want to run and tell yourself “I’m going to go for a 10-mile run”, your brain won’t let you do it, will flag danger and find excuses for you not to go for a run.
  • Instead, try an impossible to fail step like saying: “I’m going to take one step towards my running shoes.” It sounds laughable, but of course, you can succeed at that step.
  • If you want to make a change or move in a certain direction, ask yourself how you can shrink the size of the step and turn it into a micro-commitment.
  • Once you’ve taken one step you’ll want to take two, then another, and before you know it you’ll be thinking: “I can actually do this thing.”
  • You can apply this concept to anything—whether it’s something like running, reading, or writing.
  • When people think about reading a 200-page book, it can set off their fear response. Try reducing it to smaller steps, like opening the book and reading one paragraph at a time.
  • Applied to writing: step to your keyboard and type one keystroke. We can all do this! This can help to create muscle memory and remind yourself that you’re capable of. One sentence becomes a paragraph, which becomes a page, and before you know it you’ve completed the thing you were dreading for so long.


  • Key idea: use psychology of micro commitments to make change in your life and to influence your market to do the things you want them to do when they land on your website.
  • Ask them to take micro commitment steps, rather than big threatening steps that will make them abandon your site and say “I’ll do it later”—because later never comes
  • Micro commitments can be applied to parenting, or to create change in your own life
  • If you’re a parent you could ask your child to clean their room, but this might be too big an ask, so instead, you can try: “Can you pick up one toy? Can you put it in the toy box? Now can you pick up another toy?” Before you know it, the whole room will be done!


  1. What’s an area of your life right now that you’ve felt this resistance?
  2. What’s an example of a step you could take right now that would be impossible to fail?


  • Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@jimkwik & @askryanlevesque) and share your ideas for micro commitments with us!


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