Having thought deliberately about my habits for a few years now, I have some fairly established practices which I believe support me in getting through a busy life, staying healthy, fit and progressing with my goals. You might have read about some of them here when I shared my ‘Habits of a Lifetime’.
As Benjamin Hardy wrote in his excellent book, ‘Willpower Doesn’t Work’:
“…the environment shapes the self. Where you can outsource your goals to your environment, you will improve your chances of success compared with relying on willpower alone.“
In late 2017 while I was thinking about my plans for 2018, I decided that I would aim for 300 good days per year for each of my key habit metrics. This is a figure works for a number of reasons.
Because 300 like Spartan.
…And on the off-chance that it needs slightly more explanation, 300 is a round figure which feels substantial but is also realistic since 300 ‘good’ days means 65 ‘not-good’ days, which roughly equates to 1 per week plus 2 x 1 week holidays per year
The aim is therefore 300/365 which equates to 82% success.
I am a big fan of tracking and gamifying my habits, taking a few seconds each day to make a record of my habit completion and rewarding myself with a score which I endeavour to maintain above a certain level on an annual basis, although I can always break it down into smaller time-periods.
To track success against my goal of 300 days per habit, I created a Google sheet called ‘300 Great Days’ and started filling it in every day. You can open it and save a copy to your own Google Drive here.
I track this per habit, i.e. not all habits have to be good on a particular day for it to count as a ‘good day’.
It is now in a form such that it takes less than 10-15 seconds to complete while I wait for my tea to brew. This supports me in a number of ways, but the greatest impact for me is when I’ve maybe had a sleepless night and I don’t want to have to enter a ‘no’ in the sheet against ‘Up on alarm’, my score flashes into my mind and I invariably get up.
You might have another way that you prefer to track your habits but if you don’t have any, my challenge would be to think about what you can do to design your environment to support you, providing incentives without adding unnecessary admin. If you think 300 Great Days might help, why not download a copy and give it a go.
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