Focus on the FREE! Perhaps the Most Important Habit of All

By: Martin Grunburg

When you think about the word FREE, what comes to mind? What associations do you tend to make?

I say “free,” you say: Cheap? Worthless? Garbage? A loss leader?

Once again, I find myself fascinated by our language and the associations we attach to the words we use. And, of course, how those associations lead and direct our behavior.

How do you value things that are free?

How do you value the things for which you pay a lot of money?

Which do you view as more valuable? “That depends,” you may say.

Recall the word “habit” and its peculiar, negative association that sometimes directs even the most educated people to say things like, “avoid habits to achieve your goals.” That is an actual quote from a personal development coach/blog. Oops!

When it comes to the idea of “pressure,” something similar happens to the vast majority of people. Rather than viewing pressure as a positive influence and force to help them achieve their goals, they tend to shy away from pressure and view it as negative. (see TPP/Link)

This leads us back to the word FREE.

Free. Free. Free.

Fortunately, the large majority of people are born healthy. Their health comes “free,” as nature’s gift.

Today, the air most of us breathe is free; the same can be said for our water.

We can laugh for free and exercise for free. We can love and share our favorite things — all free.

Our most important relationships are all free.

Yet we will idolize and cherish that $250,000 sports car or the multi-million-dollar crib while disregarding our health and taking our friendships for granted.

Further, we might not even exercise at all (which can be done for free), and instead we’ll consume (and spend money) on things like cigarettes, alcohol, too much food, etc.

I’m as guilty as the next guy (minus the cigarettes; ).

The point is, we seem to value things that cost money more than things that are free, yet so many FREE things are priceless gifts! All given to us freely — and without which we could not survive.

Land, air, water, trees, love and the ocean all come to mind.


Let’s put more care and attention into those things that are free, such as your relationships and health (exercise). Love more, share more — give more.

Speaking of giving things away (what a coincidence) . . .

We give away The Habit Factor app for FREE (limited edition), so people can test it and try it without any risk. The limited edition allows a user to track 3 active habits. The Pro or unlimited edition allows a user to track unlimited active habits, but the functionality is nearly identical.

Having said that, which do you think is rated higher? Which has a higher perceived value, when in reality they both do the same thing — help you to develop a new, positive habit?

Well, what’s “funny” is that the FREE app has about 50 fewer five-star reviews while the $9.99 paid app (again, same general functionality) has approximately fifty more five star reviews. BTW: This is over a 6-year period with approximately a couple thousand ratings.

Final thoughts:
What behaviors (habits) are you tracking that value and support all those FREE, priceless gifts you’ve been given?

For instance, you can track phone calls to your friends for the next four weeks. How much exercise you are doing? How much water you are drinking?

In closing, the personal development legend Zig Ziglar once commented on this very idea: “Money,” he said, “will buy you a bed, but not a good night’s sleep; a house, but not a home; a companion, but not a friend.”

Focus on the free, my friends! That’s where the real gold is!

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