Are you struggling to form new habits?
It's Time to Change That...
But firstly, let's dispel a myth.
It's said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but this is actually more of an urban myth.
A Study at the University College of London in 2009 discovered that, on average, it actually takes 66 days to form a habit.
It feels like a long time - 21 days sounds way more manageable, right?
The great thing this study also found was that even if you miss a couple of days along the way, it didn't make a huge difference to the outcome at the end.
A habit, after all, is when something becomes an unconscious behaviour. Like tying your shoelaces, or brushing your teeth.
Learning a habit is a process. It is something that is acquired through repetition over time, so that it becomes an unconscious behaviour.
Until it becomes that, it is more of an act you're forcing yourself to do.
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Here is my "slight edge tracking chart" which was suggested by Art Jonak and is based on a concept talked about by Jeff Olson in his book “The Slight Edge“. You can click the image to down load a PDF of a blank chart. The idea is that you pick up to 5 goals. You could do more, but the important thing is to make it manageable and something you are actually likely to do. This technique is designed to help you break an old unhelpful habit and replace it with a new more empowering habit, so it is going to be difficult to stick to this to start with.
You start day one and if you have done ALL the tasks on your list, then you can mark the box on the green side of the chart. If you fail to do ALL the tasks then you mark day one on the red side of the chart. Then on day two if you DID all the tasks you mark a box one UP from the last box and if you failed then you mark the box in the day 2 column DOWN from the day one mark…. You can now see why you need to keep the tasks manageable and achievable. The idea of course is to finish the month in the green side of the chart, which then tells you that you have more often done the tasks than not.
As an example from my own life I was doing pretty well up to the point when Christmas kicked in, and then suddenly getting up early became a bit of a problem, and then between Christmas and New Year I got back into the good habits, to make up for my dip on the previous few days. It worked GREAT as an incentive to try to get back up above the centre line for the month. Although there were not quite enough days left in the month to make it all the way, but the motivation was still there to get as close as possible! January didn’t start of quite as well as December, but at the time of writing this I am +5 on the month and pretty determined to keep climbing…