It’s tough enough to get started on a mere mortal goal. Like a new fad diet. Or maybe some sissy 30 day challenge. How the heck do you pull off an ambitious new goal for 365 days?
This morning I took some time to collect my thoughts and do some research on some tips and tricks.
First thing that came to mind, is one of my favorite recent reads – Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Chef (similar parts might also be found in the Four Hour Body). I won’t take the time to review the whole book (even though it’d be worth it) but the section I am going to key in on the section where he discusses how to initiate long term behavioral changes. Some of the relevant tips and tricks:
- “Make it measurable, make it a game”. I definitely believe that measuring progress is huge to sticking with a new goal and I have had success in the past doing this with workout programs (IE 5×5 and P90X). I have been keeping tabs on the estimated number of drinks and money saved every time I am in a situation where normally I would be drinking on a Google Drive spreadsheet. It’s already pretty interesting and I’ll share details of that at some time in the future. Another app that I used to help instigate healthier eating is called coach.me (it was called Lift when I used it) and I have also tinkered around with QuantID. Make it a game? For whatever reason the creative part of my brain doesn’t want to tackle that one this morning. Any suggestions?
- “Take Pictures of it All”. I’ll definitely start sharing some pics of what I am up to on Sunday mornings, instead of being hungover. Likewise, I can’t wait for the first opportunity to wake up sober next to a drunken buddy with a penis drawn on his forehead.
- “Make it small and temporary“. $h!t. There is nothing small and temporary about what I have planned. Upon closer inspection though, my plan will work juuuuust fiiiiine. I just need to stop thinking about all 365 days at a time, and focus on the short term and piece things together little by little. This is the most powerful part of the section: Tim explains that Nike+ designers looked at their data for 1 million+ people who wanted to start running as a daily habit. What they found is that the people who ACTUALLY stuck with their new behavioral change were the ones that successfully logged in and went through with at least 5 runs. After that, they were hooked. For a great review, check out this Wired.com article.
So I just took a look at my calendar and picked out 5 upcoming dates where I know damn well alcohol will be on the menu for my friends. I can already envision myself passing on the sauce, logging my savings, and taking pictures.
Any other ideas on how to start a good habit?