Riffing off of Leo Babauta, whose “6 Changes” idea proposes a method for developing beneficial habits, I’m going to embark on a similar attempt. Leo’s idea, slightly adapted, is this:
1. Pick 7 habits for 2010.
2. Pick 1 of the 7 habits to start with.
3. Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 6 weeks.
4. Break the habit into 6 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step. Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night – don’t worry in step 1 about actually using it.
5. Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit. Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.
6. Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger. Post your progress publicly.
7. Each week, move on to a slightly harder step. You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t. You’re building a new habit. Add an incremental step each week until you’ve done 6 weeks.
8. You now have a new habit! During Week 6, spend some time breaking Habit #2 into 6 smaller steps. Then, repeat the process.
Using this approach, there’s an imposed limit of no more than two habits attempted in any one quarter of the year. The idea is not to try to change too many things at once, but be focused until something actually becomes a habit.
I’ve brainstormed a list of habits I’d like to cultivate. So far:
Inbox zero (for personal AND work email).
Improved prayer life.
Cultivation of meaningful relationships.
Stopping impulse spending.
Being better organized.
So I figure Easter Sunday is a good time to start, with April beginning a new quarter in the year (plus the whole theme of hope and resurrection). I haven’t yet decided which online platform(s) I’ll use to post my experiences/successes/failures, but at the very least I plan to post them on this blog.
Wish me luck…and keep me accountable if you feel so inclined.