Reviewing my habit calendar: The year to date

Right before the end of the year, I posted about keeping a habit calendar and the various habits I was working on developing in the new year. It’s now February 12th and I’m in a position to reflect on the year that’s been and how I’ve gone in forming some new habits.

My habit calendar for January

You can see my habit calendar for January below. It only had 28 days on my habit calendar, so when I refer to ‘month’ in this post, it will refer to just those 28 days.

January habit calendar

This month, I managed to:
1) Post to this blog 25 times.
2) Exercise in my target heart rate 22 times.
3) Stretch 14 times this month, with a maximum unbroken chain of 11 days in a row.

Travel kills newly forming habits

This month, I’ve travelled a fair bit. I was at RailsCamp in Adelaide for the weekend of the 14th of January, which impeded pretty much every habit I was trying to form. That’s ok, because I was really happy to be at RailsCamp, but I certainly felt like I was taking myself out of my habits by going. It was hard to get back on track, especially with the fitness and stretching, after breaking the chain so significantly. Blogging was a little easier to get back into flow with. I’m not sure why that is – perhaps it means more to me than the other two habits?

Fitness is about routine

The fitness stuff was easier to maintain because I was participating in an awesome swimming class that kept me honest. The sessions were on between 6-7pm, 4 times a week and there was a strong culture of participation built up amongst the group. This is a strong reason why, after travelling back from RailsCamp on Monday the 16th I still managed to get my fitness in. I had a session that night.

Having something to take part in took the cognitive bias out of needing to plan a run or think about going out. I knew where I needed to be, when and what I needed to take with me. So I was able to just focus on doing the exercise. As such, I’ll probably remove the fitness habit from my calendar moving forwards and book into various activities that will keep me active. Hockey season is starting up soon, and I’m planning on keeping the swimming going by joining another squad.

Blogging is nearly a habit

Since you’re reading this, you might have noticed that I’ve been able to maintain posting to this blog almost everyday since the 17th of December. In that time, I’ve written 50 posts and can really feel the momentum building behind the habit. I find it hard not to blog every day, now, and feel that if I keep it up for another month or so that I’ll be able to take it off my habit calendar and still keep it up. If you’ve got any feedback or ideas for how I can improve the quality of the posts on the blog, or any topics you’d rather I focus on, please let me know via the comments or email me.

Final thoughts

Habits are very hard to form. The habit calendar has helped me focus on forming new habits rather than ‘getting fitter’ or ‘blogging more’ and as such is an indispensable tool. It’s really been amazing to see how much I don’t want to break the chain and so my thanks goes to Xavier, Nick and the others who have blazed this trail ahead of me and written about their experiences.

Also, a big thank you to my other amazing friends like Ross, Bryony, Nathan, Vlad, Steve and Andy for inquiring/tweeting/asking/prodding/commenting on the efforts I’ve been making. It would have been impossible without your attention.

Finally, a very special thank you to Rose for putting up with my sometimes religious need to keep my habits forming. Especially, time that I spent blogging was almost directly done during times Rose and I would otherwise be talking, chatting and generally doing what couples do together after work; Relax. She never once grumped about the blog getting more attention than she did, even though she probably could have done so on more than one occasion! Thanks darling.

10 thoughts on “Reviewing my habit calendar: The year to date

  1. Good work Steve,  I’ve been using this year to follow the Jerry Seinfeld model of don’t break the chain.  It would be nice if they offered streams like your model above.  But does recording & recapping what’s been done has been a good habit so far

    1. Nice, I haven’t used it. I find with things like this that the paper aspect keeps me honest. I also have a small home, so I can’t really help but see my chart every day. 🙂

      What are the habits you’re working on creating this year?

      1. One was focussing on momentum tasks, so the email I get at 6pm each day helps me record those & set focus on tmrw.  My visual is a simple slide of my 2012 goals that is pinned above my desk.  Hat tip to Samma for that one

      2. Used a one page template to break down yearly goals into quarterly targets – working well –

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