successful life is a life filled with successful habits. But every time I try to establish better habits, I am NOT successful.
To be fair, I have been moderately successful in keeping the house slightly better, being more productive at work, and my diet has improved since I was in college. But I’ve rarely managed to establish habits that make these things automatic, rather than a constant struggle.
Tynan, the man behind a very practical blog, recently published a new book entitled Superhuman By Habit. From his blog, I knew that he had many interesting ideas about creating new habits, so I eventually got around to reading his book (which I read for free with Kindle Unlimited!).
Every Monday, I plan on turning my attention to my habits and using Tynan’s book to illuminate the path ahead.
I will choose 2 habits per month to devote myself to. One will be a subtraction of a bad habit, and the other an addition of a good habit.
“The easiest time to choose a habit is when something is a major impediment in your life, or where there’s one habit that currently extends its negative influence into other areas of your life.” (Superhuman By Habit)
I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I binge on tv shows. I can kill most of a day lost in the imaginary world of spies, superheroes, cops, and lawyers. When the fit is upon, it can ruin my life. Or at least put the “life” part of my life on hold.
I’ve tried a variety of ways to stop, and only been temporarily successful.
So first and foremost, my new habits will start with only watching TV on Fridays.
How will I do this?
Tynan points out in his book that our old habits are who we are. It’s the difference between being an early riser and getting up early. Using that thought as my guide, I designed my habit statement as a statement of fact.
I only watch TV on Fridays.
Rather than saying I’m going to try to… or my goal is to… I believe that stating it as a fact will be more motivational to me than “trying” it. So every time I feel the urge to lose myself in all those colorful pixels, I just tell myself, “I only watch TV on Fridays.”
My second habit is an additional thing I want to do every day-cleaning the house.
Now many people already have this habit, and the fact that I can go days (weeks!) without doing more than the dishes and wiping down the bathrooms, would horrify them. Don’t tell my mother!
I’ve tried a variety of things to beat this, but haven’t hit on the key. Again, this time, I tried stating it as a fact:
I clean my house every morning.
I use nudge.com to send myself an email every morning with these affirmations. So I have to say them out loud to myself every morning. In fact on the first day I did this, I realized that I had not, in fact, cleaned the house that morning, so I started to do it.
My idea of cleaning and your cleaning are certainly not the same. I am giving myself credit on this habit if I spend a mere five minutes straightening things up and wiping things off.
Two or three songs on my ipod, and I can go on with my day.
Well, I’ll report back next Monday with more thoughts on creating good habits. And I’ll let you know if I have missed a day by then.