To read, listen to, or watch
On Habit Change
You can also find dozens of posts about my successes, failures, and learning at workingoutloud.com/search?q=habits.
These two posts are about my early progress charts and what motivated me to make them. You can see photos of three of my charts in the Examples column on this page.
Related to the Additional Exercise
Chapter 8 - A Growth Mindset
Chapter 13 - Making It a Habit
Chapter 19 - Shipping and Getting Better
Additional Exercises & FAQ
Something you can do in less than 15 minutes
What if, instead of constantly trying to fight against some of our cognitive and behavioral weaknesses, we could use them to our advantage?
That question is at the heart of what’s meant by “structuring your environment,” an item on the Habit Checklist. The mindful placement of triggers for positive actions (and elimination of triggers for negative actions), can alter your behavior without requiring much effort or even thinking.
Read the two posts below. Then reflect on how you might apply this idea to the new habits you’re trying to develop or change. How might you structure your environment and make it easier on yourself?
Q: You said the the progress chart and structuring your environment were the most important items on the Habit Checklist. What about the other items?
While those two are what has been most useful for me, I find I use all eight items on the list fairly regularly. I truly think of it as a checklist.
Let’s say I’m procrastinating about taking some step, for example. (An all too common occurrence!) Then I may apply the checklist in any or all of the following ways:
I’ll try to make the step smaller and ask myself, "What’s one thing I could do today?”
I’ll make the goal more achievable by framing it as a learning goal. That makes it feel less risky, and no matter what happens I’ll be sure to get something from it. It also means that I won’t be so discouraged if things don’t go as I might like.
I’ll plan to reward myself in some way. (“Once I finish this, I’ll get a nice cappuccino and sit in the sun.”)
Often, just “co-working” with a friend will help me overcome inertia or resistance. For example, we’ll meet in a cafe, tell each other what we need to do, and then sit down and do it. That kind of peer support enforces a sense of shared accountability that helps us both focus and deliver.