How to Install Habits of Success

How to Install Habits of Success

The habits of success seem so straightforward, yet sometimes unattainable.

Have you ever thought to yourself…

“When I’m super successful I’ll be so disciplined. I’ll wake up early, exercise, drink green juice, get lots of focused work done, cook an incredible meal for my family, have time to write my novel, floss and be in bed by 10pm every night! No procrastination, just excellent habits.”

If you’re already there: congrats.

Either way, keep reading!

How you can change one of the most dangerous habits

But if there are still some habits you’re trying to kick or set into place, then you need to know this: when you get to that uber successful picture of yourself, you’re going to have the exact same habits you have now.

So you either have to change your habits today, or change your future picture to fit what your habits are currently.

Now I want to share with you how you can change one of the most dangerous habits – the one that might be stopping you from reaching your goals.

I know you’ve experienced this one because none of us are really immune.

It goes a little something like this…

You’re about to write a scary email. Or maybe you need to figure out a technical thing but you don’t know where to start. Or you have to make a phone call that could change your life.

Suddenly you need to:

  • Check your email inbox
  • Check Facebook
  • Check your sales reports
  • Check your website stats
  • Check your subscriber stats
  • See how many books you’ve sold on Amazon
  • Check Twitter
  • Check Instagram
  • … And then it starts all over again:

  • Check your email inbox

The Panic Loop

I call this phenomenon the “Panic Loop”.

Your loop might look a little different: maybe you clean the kitchen or dust the bookshelves instead. Maybe you organize your sock drawer, or call your aunt Ira.

It’s still a panic loop, and it’s what we do when we’re avoiding work. Sometimes this form of procrastination serves us: we’ll come back to find out that the task wasn’t that important, or that someone else took care of it for us.

Other times, we need a way to break out of the loop so we can finally get stuff done instead of resisting it.

Snap out of it and install the habits of success

All you need to break the loop is a pattern interrupt. Something to make you snap out of it.

If you have a similar loop to mine, your interrupt can be to disable your internet and realize your email and Facebook won’t load. So you need to get back to the task at hand and get it done.

Or, you could train yourself to recognize when you’re about to fall into your panic loop and do something different instead.

When you see your mouse hovering, take a step away from your computer. Go lay down on the floor for a few minutes. Or get up and stretch. Go for a walk. Down a whole cup of water.

By the time you come back to your computer, the panic loop won’t have a hold on you anymore and you’ll be able to get your original task done!

Writing these emails, filming these videos, and connecting with you through this show every week is true pleasure and honor. Yes, sometimes I find myself going into the loop when I should be writing an episode or a newsletter, but every time I stay focused I know it was worth it.

It doesn’t matter how big your email list is, or how many people visit your website. Your work matters, and each time you’re able to stay out of the loop and focus to get your message out there… you’re making a difference in people’s lives.

Spill the beans on your panic loop…

Now, I’m a curious animal and I’d love to know what your panic loop looks like. Do you fall into the digital trap like I do?

Or do you have other avoidance patterns, and how are you able to interrupt these? Leave a comment below and let us in on your best secrets!


  1. Lara on February 26, 2014 at 11:57 am

    My panic loop is just like yours! I think I need to turn the internet off in times like that. Maybe for a bit right now ;)

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Yes! I turn my internet off when I need to get stuff done, and it’s so powerful!

      • Natalie Sisson on February 26, 2014 at 10:59 pm

        You caught me out Nathalie – was doing this earlier today – I blame jetlag. But when I am on a plane or in a wi-fi free zone I get soooo much productive and valuable work done.

        • Nathalie Lussier on February 27, 2014 at 3:22 pm

          Yes Natalie! I get some of my best and most productive time on a plane or wifi-free zone, too! That’s one advantage to travel for sure. :)

    • Maureen Beaucond on August 3, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      I so agree with you! Doing your 30 Day Challenge or other specifically structured activities with accountability keep me on track and focused. Guess I need to turn my daily work schedule into a challenge just for me. The Daily Greatness Journal I won in your challenge is helping a lot because it asks for input of what I accomplushed every day. Thanks, Nathalie!

  2. Tova Gold on February 26, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    My loop looks just like you described and my vision for the successful future version of me looks just like you described it. I guess I’m not so unique after all. ;-)
    I try to get away from my desk for a change of perspective, and I also use an app called selfcontrol to block access to FB and other time sucking sites.

    Great video. Thanks for sharing! I needed it! – now, back to work!!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      Ahhh it’s the going to bed early thing thing that gets me every time! ;)

      I totally use these apps too, thanks for sharing what you do – and yes onward and forward! :)

  3. Sherri on February 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Yep, my panic loop is pretty much what you just described! I joined your 30 day list building, and I have to say that it’s really helping me get focused and be productive. And has gently forced me to get over a huge creative copywriting stump. I now have scheduled time to sit down and get serious about what I want to say and have created a few accountability partners to help stay on track. Thanks Nathalie, for making the technical stuff fun and easy to understand!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Yay Sherri! I love that the 30 Day List Building Challenge has helped you get more focused and be productive, that’s a really cool side benefit that makes me so happy!!

  4. Jennifer on February 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Boy did I receive this on a good day! I woke up today and found myself just messing around with Facebook, checking stats, twitter, and, well, you know how it goes. And yes, there’s definitely a lot of truth that the habits never will quite go away!

    Thanks for the much-needed tips!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Yay you’re so welcome Jennifer!!

  5. Caroline Frenette Intuitive Leadership Coach on February 26, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Damn Facebook man! What a waste of time!

    My “snapping out of it interrupt’ are :

    1. My dogs; they have a 6th sense about this.

    They’ll come up to me, tail wagging, and I will not be able to resist. So we’ll go play outside, I’ll refresh my brain and come back rejuvenated and focused.

    And second (and maybe best of all): going to the spa for a hammam. Works every time. Plus somehow, I seem to get my best ideas when I’m in the hot whirl pool… :)

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      The SCHNOODLES! So cute, and yes my dog is great at this too – it’s a blessing, isn’t it?

  6. Sylvie Barthelemy on February 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you Nathalie for your wonderful energy and encouragmemt. Your words always resonate with me. I feel grateful. As for my loop on top of what you’ve listed, i’d add checking out my horoscope for the day, the week, the month, the year!! As if the answers to my dilemma were in there! Lol this happens when I feel stuck. I would also add going into the kitchen for a snack, and another, and another. Generally to get un-stuck working out, dancing or cleaning will do. All activites that get me out of my head and ground me into my body feels delicious and is a good reset for me.
    xoxo Sylvie

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      Oh yes! I check my horoscopes at the beginning of the month too – and I agree, it’s not like it’s going to tell me the secret to life itself right? ;)

      And yesss to dancing!!

  7. Emma Gwillim: Success coach for ambitious mums on February 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Haha, we’re not so different after all… Seems everyone has the same weakness for social media as I do!! I procrastinated valuable time this morning in exactly the way you describe…

    I didn’t realise I had a pattern interrupt… But here it is: I have a playlist on iTunes that makes me feel upbeat, go-getting, full of gumption. Hearing a couple of tracks off that little list can have me fired up in no time!! (I wish I could be the push-up type!!)

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      I love the playlist idea. There are just some tunes / radio stations that do it for me too, thanks for sharing Emma!

  8. Liz Brazier on February 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    The good old panic loop! Love it Nathalie. I find setting a timer whether I am taking a break or am working on a project helps. And if I choose to take a break writing what I was working on, on a post it note helps, so when I come back to my office I remember what I was working on..and don’t get distracted to FB etc while I figure out what to work on!!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Yes timers are the productive entrepreneur’s best friend – thanks so much for chiming into this Liz, you’re a pro!

  9. Laura Kelly-Pifer on February 26, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    Great post and I can certainly relate. My loop is essentially the same as yours. Great suggestion on shutting down the internet. I think I’ll try that as it will help not only for business but for things that need to get done around the home too. :)

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Absolutely Laura! It’s easy to neglect the home when the rest of the world is out there wanting our attention. ;)

  10. Rowan TwoSisters on February 26, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    It might be weird but I find when I put on the big fuzzy DJ headphones with some rockin tunes that I stay on task and click around less, especially if I have a list Im working through.

    I also take breaks every twenty or thirty minutes so I can move around and goof off (or clean the kitchen)

    Love this post!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 2:57 pm

      Yes that’s a great tip Rowan! Sometimes the right tunes can really keep us focused. There’s some science behind that too, I think. :)

  11. Pamela on February 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    The “LOOP” as you call it really should be called a PROCRASTINATION LOOP not a “panic loop”. The use of the word panic is far from correct and ,minimizes what panic actually is while creating larger importance to what the loop actually is.

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Hey Pamela,

      First I want to apologize because I never considered that the word panic could be interpreted in this more serious way… I used it because that’s what I personally do when I’m in panic and avoidance mode, and I do appreciate that this “mild panic” is not the same as what you refer to as panic.

      I’ll be more careful with my wording next time!

      • on February 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        Thanks Nathalie- I personally think PROCRASTINATION LOOP tells it like it is ; ) and I’m guilty of it often. Aren’t most of us. Might give us anxiety- but you wouldn’t want to know what real panic feels like ; )

  12. Amy on February 26, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    My panic loop is finding ANYTHING other than what I’m scared to do. Then, if there’s only an hour left until I pick up the kids from school…well, who can do the task at hand in only an HOUR? :-)

    Great video. Thanks for sharing

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:16 pm

      Oh yes! You mentioned something I feel all the time too – when you just have 1 hour or even 30 minutes before an appointment or something… and it feels like it’s not worth starting anything during that time. That’s a tough one for me too!

  13. Share Ross on February 26, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Love this Nathalie! Omg! It was like you got in my head. Yep. Same panic loop!!! And you totally made me laugh out loud.

    Love you lady. You’re a shining bright light in my cyber world. xoxo
    Thank you for the brilliant video.

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Aww I missed you Share! So glad to see you here and happy I’m not alone, either. ;) You’re a shining light here too!

  14. Brett on February 26, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I’m looking at my Chrome. It has 13 tabs open. My panic loops is pretty much like yours, although, I’ll get up and walk to the break room to freshen or heat up my coffee every 15 minutes. I have two or three of those stressful projects to work on and I need to have the internet on to work on them. I did add Strict Workflow to my Chrome so I could block the main culprits (including my personal blog during work hours).

    I was just saying to myself, “Brett… why can’t you stop!!!!!!”

    Thanks for the video!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 26, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      Hey Brett – I have to admit that the hardest part is that we KNOW we’re doing it, but stopping is the toughest part.

      Love the tip for Strict Workflow, great addition – thanks!

  15. Tara on February 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    OMG can I relate to this! Thank you, thank you for being my pattern interrupt and inspiring me to break out of this nasty habit! I’ve gone ahead and created a daily to-do list with all the activities that keep me in this horrible loop. I feel very rewarded when I can check off items on my “to do” list so I’m hopeful that by having these items on a list I can check off physically that mentally I’ll be done with them so I can remain focused on the tasks at hand and increase my productivity. Thanks Nathalie for being the kick in the butt I needed! :)

  16. Lisa Nichols on February 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Do you have a secret webcam set up in here? That is EXACTLY what I do! I also tell myself the exact same story about what I will do when I am successful … right down to the green juice :)

    The only thing that interupts my loop is setting a timer. I have to get up to silence it, so I do something else for 15 mins and then come back to the job in hand (when I remember to set the timer, that is).

  17. Liz on February 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I also listen to music. I go to and turn on one of their playlists for a set time that supposedly makes your brain more productive. I don’t know about the science behind it but I do find that playing that music is like setting an intention to get into “work” mode and avoid the panic loop. Thanks for the post!

  18. Gill on February 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Thank goodness I’m not the only one who does this and then feels guilty because I haven’t managed to achieve everything on my “To Do” list. I have a mild panic attack whenever I have to go outside my comfort zone. I avoid the task in hand for as long as possible and waste so much time procrastinating. Here’s the thing though… I don’t even no what I’m worried about half the time!! I don’t want to even admit how many times I check social media. It’s just embarrassing!

  19. Melanie on February 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    The Panic Loop! Thank you for giving it a NAME! Now I can call myself on it with a specific name!

    My panic loop is going into domestic diva mode that consists of cooking, cleaning, and organizing or my nose is in my computer doing the digital panic loop.

    What love about the domestic diva loop is that I’ll eventually get it all done and have to get to work. But by then I’d usually worked a lot out in my head and once I”m done dinner is ready to come out of the oven!

  20. Anna on February 26, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I do the digital thing too! Check everything on the computer, or on the phone (which is worse, because that includes checking Words With Friends).

    I try to break the loop by getting a coffee, drinking it peacefully while reading a useful blog, then letting the caffeine do its productive thing!

    Unfortunately, I’d like to kick the caffeine habit at some point… but best not get too carried away, right? :)

  21. Alison on February 27, 2014 at 5:14 am

    I am so glad I’m not alone! This is exactly what I do and I’m in agreement with Pamela that PROCRASTINATION Loop is a more accurate description for me, or maybe even the FEAR Loop. I am so crippled by the fear of failure that I can’t even take the first step. Ridiculous isn’t it that it would seem that I would rather fail by not doing something than fail, and be judged, by my own efforts. Felt better saying it out loud.

  22. Susan Shain on February 27, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for writing about this, Nathalie — and for putting a name to it! Mine looks pretty much identical to yours. I usually get up and stretch, or go for a run. I need to get moving to get my mind clear. I love that I have a name for it now. It’ll make it so much easier to recognize and resolve!

    • Nathalie Lussier on February 27, 2014 at 3:20 pm

      Awesome Susan – well not so awesome that we both have it, but glad this will help you nip it in the bud. :)

  23. Sheri Elmont on February 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Oh yes, I do all of that, well, I don’t check my stats, but thanks for the idea! I also add in Feedly which is my biggest time sucker, and also Pinterest. Using all of these for business also only adds to that time. And I also get “motivated” to clean my desk when there is something I don’t want to face. Well, better get back to what I am supposed to be working on….

  24. Dina Burke on February 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Nathalie you are spot-on! Love the term panic loop! Added to the one you describe: For me I get wrapped up in some cool new technical thing I have to do before I can do the thing that allows me to preform the task to run the technical thing I started out with…What gets me out of it if I feel overwhelmed with the big picture is I say “ok do just ONE thing and complete it in the next x hour(s)” even if it is not in sequence. Then the dogs bark and remind me that to go for a walk and chase birds is really what life is about. Hugs, Dina

  25. Marsha from on February 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Nathalie, sometimes your timing is so perfect I swear you’re reading my mind!

    Breaking the cycle is going to be the big take-away for me here. I sometimes need the internet to work, but I’ve found and Inbox Pause to both be godsends for times like these.

    I’m going to put them both on RIGHT NOW and crack on with my deadline!


    • Marsha from on February 28, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      I meant, I sometimes need the internet *FOR* work.

      Actually, while I’m here, one thing I struggle with is that I sometimes need Facebook and twitter open for work stuff, but then find myself falling down the rabbit hole. ie, I’m going to post or check whatever it was I needed to do on my to-do list, but then I see, “Ooh! New notifications!” and then I’m lost. I don’t have it on my phone, but even on my computer this can be a problem. If you had any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!


  26. Sasha Stone on February 28, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I can totally relate to this! My panic loop is similar to yours, so to break out of it, I usually go for a quick walk around the block, which pulls me out of my cyber hypnosis and boosts my energy and confidence to take care of the task at hand. I also recently started using toggl, which is an awesome time tracking app that encourages me to stay on task and spend time on the aspects of my business that are most important to me. Thanks as always Nathalie for your great insights and shares!

  27. Nathalie Doremieux on March 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

    Glad to hear I’m not alone! For me it’s facebook, twitter email and until recently I was doing a really bad job especially with email, I felt Ihad to answer right away to make my clients happy, I found that it is in fact really not helping because now they think I answer emails right away and don’t necessarily understand when I answer only the next day!! The solution I found is to close the fb tab, email notification anf twitter tab and only focus on my todo list for the day, not easy but definitely much more productive!!!

  28. Rayzel Lam on March 5, 2014 at 1:45 am

    YES!!! I SO do just what you said- I love the terminology- the panic loop- in fact I was just doing it right this very second, which is what brought me to your blog, but I guess in this case it’s a good thing. :) Except that I’m supposed to be finishing the copy of a blogpost series I’m in the middle of. Loved it and glad to have found your blog! I think some squats will snap me out of it. Also, I play rain/lightning music in the background and that seems to kind of help me relax enough to just start writing and not think too much. Thanks!

  29. Krayl Funch on March 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    you must have read my mind! I am guilty and want to quit the loop. I have been wanting to try the internet block. I am off to find the program now. Thank you!

  30. Dayna House on March 15, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    This is SOOOO me…

    “Your loop might look a little different: maybe you clean the kitchen or dust the bookshelves instead. Maybe you organize your sock drawer, or call your aunt Ira.”

    Well, except for the aunt Ira part. ;-) thanks for the great tips on how to break the panic loop. I am a big time procrastinator and general avoider of all things uncomfortable. These strategies might actually help. Can’t wait to implement them. Thanks!

  31. Rochelle on October 22, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I’m stuck in a major panic loop right now! I have too many things to do and too many unanswered questions of how to do them. So, my avoidance starts out slow, and then BAM! I’m in full on avoidance and self-sabotage mode. I avoid emails, avoid my blog, avoid any and all responsibilities except the basics (gotta take care of the kiddos) until I feel the kick in my pants to get me going again. My panic loops can last for days, weeks, and months. I hate them and hate when I get into them. I’ll try some of the strategies you’ve suggested and see how it goes from there. I try to tell myself to “just get started.” I don’t have to finish, but just start on it. Usually by then I’ll finish it because it wasn’t really that bad, it was just the starting that was. I don’t know how to deal with unanswered questions though.

  32. Jane D on March 31, 2015 at 6:40 am

    These are great points, especially when it comes to online advertising. More often than not small daily tasks will yield better results than a blitz approach for the long term.

    Its easy to enter the panic loop when you dont see instant results, but sticking with it often prevails.