How many times do you put a healthy activity you want to start,
on your daily list but never get to it?
I have done it a bunch of times. For me it is exercise. I am an active person and I like to stay heathy but if something goes in the day, that is it.
I have amazing bicycle rides right from my house and I can make them any length I want. Beautiful roads along the rivers with mountains all around. But I found I wasn’t riding. It didn’t matter if it was on the daily list or not. If something else came up, the biking always got dropped. I found this frustrating. But I wasn’t frustrated enough to actually do the ride. Frustration wasn’t motivating me.
Then I got the book Atomic Habits by James Clear.
In the book he talks about starting a habit and how difficult it can be. Having the activity on the list is not enough to make it happen. You need to have a time and a place for the new habit.
His example is about him wanting to add daily pushups. So he put it on his list and it never happened. Until he found the trick to starting a habit-time and place. He decided to do the pushups daily before he went to lunch and he decided to do them next to his desk. Then he was successful.
Time and place
The first habit I wanted to add to my day was journaling. Most of my days are not the same. How was I going the add a habit to a non-routine day?
I started by writing out my day. I found that my morning was a routine. I get up, shower, make coffee, read the paper, then emails, then start my work day. The days vary from there. I decided to add the journaling to my morning routine. Now I journal after the shower while the coffee is brewing. And I do it in the kitchen next to the coffee making. I even leave the journal there with a pencil ready to go. I have been successful. It is now a habit.
If I was successful with that habit, could I add others?
How about adding the biking to my week? I found that I had time between appointments on Tuesday and Thursday. And I could go right from the house.
Time and place.
It worked, I have been doing it now for a month. I am riding longer distances and it is getting easier. I am also dreaming about biking again. It is a habit I enjoy.
I am so happy to have learned the secret to successfully adding a habit.
One more tip. Set yourself up for success by adding one habit at a time. Get successful at one and the others can be added.