It’s almost 2012. As excited as that makes me, it’s also that time of year where our heads fill up with grandiose ideas of new things in our lives to improve. I’ve been partial to setting New Years Resolutions before, but have never really been that great at keeping them. Creating a habit calendar, however, can really help and is something I’ve been doing the past 3 months or so. It’s slowly changing my life. I’d like to share a few simple pointers I’ve picked up so far to help make a new goal or dream, a habit.
1. Draw it yourself
I don’t really have a calendar at home. We do, but it sits over the sink in the kitchen and it’s not really for drawing on. It’s also big and cumbersome. As weird as it sounds, this actually stopped me from starting some of my habits…because I didn’t have the right calendar. Please don’t judge me.
So, I just drew it myself. Grab yourself a piece of paper, and draw up the days of the month or the period you want to focus on creating a new habit. The one pictured here, was my habit calendar for the month of November. The habit I was trying to adopt, was stretching every day. I only missed 5 days in the 32 possible. Pretty good, I reckon, and I felt great!
2. Don’t break the chain
The aim of a habit calendar is not breaking the chain. So don’t. Try as hard as you can to get on a streak and then keep it going. You would have noticed that I’ve been posting more to this blog in the last 2 weeks or so. I’ve had ‘blog every day’ on my habit calendar for December and this is the result. I’m feeling great about the writing I’ve been able to do here in the past 12 days or so, and have been pleased with the results so far. Now that I’m on a streak, not posting for even one day seems like a waste. I even posted on Christmas, which I thought would be hard.
3. Watch Nick Crockers great TedX talk
This is where I started. Nick walks through how habits get formed and also discusses why this is actually so very hard. It’s been great for me because of this very fact. It helps me understand why I haven’t been able to run every day, stretch every day, save more money etc etc. Check it out.
4. Read Xaviers great post on creating and keeping a habit calendar
Xavier and his brother Jared wrote a fantastic blog during the earlier parts of this year, which focused on building skills and being awesome. The whole blog is great and you could do worse than read through most of the archives, but Xavier’s post about using a habit calendar is great reading. See it here: http://www.two-shay.com/articles/habits-calendar.
Finally, don’t be too hard on yourself. You will miss days. Use the calendar to remind you of the habit you’re trying to keep and to encourage you to get back on the horse and work towards another streak! Good luck, and have a happy new years eve!!!