Have you ever tried to create a new habit, only to find yourself backsliding right back where you started? Here's a simple yet (for me, anyway) effective way to support your effort.
Back in March, I decided that I needed to build some better habits into my life. I resolved to:
- Exercise 30 minutes a day
- Meditate 20 minutes a day
- Drink 64 ounces of water a day
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day
My intent was good, but I knew that the implementation of that intention had a perilously short life span if left to its own devices. I needed a way to keep myself on track.
I decided to take a page from The Kindergarten Handbook (OK, there's not really a Kindergarten Handbook, but there should be). I created a four-columned chart with a column for each habit and went to the local stationery store to buy some sticky stars (multi-colored, thank you very much). I put the chart on the wall where I see it all the time.
Each day that I did my new habit, I got a star in that column. Any day I didn't, I was faced with a huge, ugly, you-failed-buddy expanse of white space.
It's amazing how effective that approach has been. There was an immediate and sustained shift in behavior. I would like to say that I responded to the reward of being able to put a star up daily for each column, but the reality is that I was more driven by not wanting to see the white space as constant reminder that I didn't do it.
There have been many days when the only reason I did one of the new habits was because of the chart.
I did this for a couple months, then fell off for a few weeks. And while I did each of them more consistently than when I had begun (which tells me that I really was deveoping better habits), it was still too easy to just let it slide. I started it up again a couple weeks ago, and have jumped right back to close to 100%.
What new habits do you want to develop? Why not make a chart and experiment? Maybe it will work for you, maybe it won't (who knows - I might just be stuck developmentally back in kindergarten). But the risk is zero, and the potential upside is huge. What have you got to lose?
-- If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed. -- Time for a career change? Launch it with... -- by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst
The Occupational Adventure Guide:
A Travel Guide to the Career of Your Dreams
If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed.
Time for a career change? Launch it with...
by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst