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06 Mar

A good habit will get you back at it


Date: 2013-03-06 16:15 Comments: 0 st

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 online service Habitforge.com 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!

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