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06 Mar

A good habit will get you back at it

Datum: 2013-03-06 16:15

Do you have small recur­ring tasks you need to do but which you find it dif­fi­cult to remember? 

You keep think­ing Oh, right, I need­ed to…” over and over again. 

Sure, you might have them writ­ten down as recur­rent tasks on your to-do-list but for some mys­te­ri­ous rea­son you seem to only spot them and be remind­ed either when you are at the wrong place or at the wrong time. You get equal­ly annoyed every time you real­ize you have for­got­ten to do that small task and you get a lit­tle frus­trat­ed, which isn’t the best of feelings. 

Per­haps you are even think­ing that you are hope­less and that it’s typical”. 

With­out thinking

If you could get those small tasks done auto­mat­i­cal­ly, you would feel less weight on your shoul­ders, be less frus­trat­ed and also be less hard on yourself. 

Make the tasks into habits. 

That is, define and design habits that include the exe­cu­tion of these tasks and make room to estab­lish these habits over time. 

Do this

  1. Explic­it­ly define what the new habit implies. You can for exam­ple phrase it as: 
    • When I…, then I will …. at the same time.”
    • Before I…, I will also go to … and … .”
    • As I am already …, I will make sure to also … .”
    • The moment I get to work in the morn­ing, I will … .”

  2. Decide what you want to accom­plish in order to con­firm that the new habit can be con­sid­ered established. 

    • Researchers say it takes between 18 and 254 days to estab­lish a new habit.
      a) Do you count every day you make an effort to estab­lish your new habit by draw­ing a small dash or line on a note in your office and then cel­e­brate when you get to 18 (or 254)?
      b) Or do you use the app Strides to moti­vate your­self to go all the way with cre­at­ing the new habit? 
    • Or do you con­sid­er the habit in place when you, with­out hav­ing made a note of it, have remem­bered to do what the habit encom­pass­es ten times in a row?
    • Is the habit ful­ly estab­lished when you for the first time did that small task with­out even notic­ing that you did it? 

  3. Find a way to reward your­self once the habit is established. 

    • Treat your­self to some­thing delicious 
    • Do some­thing that makes you feel good
    • Give your­self some­thing you have longed for
    • Take time for your­self and enjoy the knowl­edge that you are able to change your habits if and when you want to 

  4. Decide when you want to start form­ing this habit. 

    • On Mon­day”
    • At the turn of the month”
    • Next time you need to per­form the task”

  5. If you want to make real­ly sure you make progress, ask a col­league or a friend to e‑mail you in a few months to ask how you are doing. If noth­ing else, don’t you think this might help you get start­ed on the new habit? 

  6. Now just get to it!

Do, did, done!

If you make habits out of recur­rent yet small tasks, they will get done with­out you hav­ing to make a con­scious effort. 

Notice how good it feels to do small things auto­mat­i­cal­ly, with­out hav­ing to plan or sched­ule doing them. What you want to do gets done but with min­i­mal effort.
If this isn’t true effi­cien­cy, then what is?

What is your way?

How do you make some­thing into a new habit? Feel free to write a com­ment and let me know!