How to Create A Habit
Creating a new habit isn’t easy, that’s for sure, but it’s so worth it.
I’ve heard and read a lot of things about creating lasting habits, and I certainly don’t have definitive answers. However, there is one thing I’ve learned that might surprise you.
It’s actually easier to create a daily habit rather than to create the habit of doing something 2-3 times a week. It sounds a little crazy, but it’s so true.
Here’s the thing about non daily habits – they give you too much wiggle room. Your brain will use any possible excuse or opportunity to get out of doing the new habit because it’s hard. If you commit to doing something daily, there’s zero wiggle room.
For example, let’s say you want to work out 3 times per week, so you decide to do so on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Wednesday rolls around. You’re exhausted, you have five million things to do, and you really don’t feel one bit like working out. So you can just do it tomorrow, right? Then tomorrow comes and you make a deal with yourself that you’ll just workout on Saturday instead, and so on. Before you know it, you’ve made far too many deals with yourself, and you just can’t keep up. If you instead commit to daily workouts, you wouldn’t be able to make any excuses.
Also, doing something daily helps it become a much deeper part of your routine, and it’ll feel like a natural thing to do much sooner. The more times you do something, the easier it becomes.
There’s also a lot to be said for the extra motivation of creating unbroken streaks. Jerry Seinfield is known for his “Unbroken X” productivity hack. He says that he commits to creating a joke every single day and puts an X on the calendar every time he does that. He tries to creates long strings of unbroken X’s. It builds up the momentum. Often, you make more progress in small daily action than in occasional, intense action. This is why I recommend starting with just washing the dishes every day before going to bed if you feel completely overwhelmed and out of control.
I’ve been using the unbroken X idea to help me develop the habit of walking 10,000 steps every day. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it. I’ve been doing it unofficially for about a month, but I’ve missed a few days. So it’s time to make it official with – you guessed it: a pretty printable!
My goal is to start today (July 27 as I write this) and see how far I can get with unbroken X’s. Who’s with me? Your goal doesn’t have to be walking a certain number of steps. It can be whatever is important to you – a load of laundry a day, reading a couple books to your kids every day, drinking a certain amount of water, eating a least 2 veggies, etc. The only rule is that you need to start with just one thing and stick to it! See how many X’s you can get.
And, of course I’m sharing the printable with you. I created two versions. One that has the calendar on one page and one that has it spread on 2 pages. You could use the two page version for writing in numbers or using bigger stickers to track. For example, you could write in how many steps you got each day if that’s what you’re tracking. Click the image below to download for yourself:
I hope this helps inspire you to follow through on a good habit. As always, I’d LOVE to see this printable in action for you. Share it online and tag me or send me photo via email.
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Ok, after I sent the email to you, I decided that I’m joining you! So I am making the commitment to craft every single day. I can’t wait to start seeing all the X’s!
Heather Braaten Says
Do you send printable throught the mail to mailbox
LauraJane SaysPost author
No, just click the image to download it right to your computer.
Susan Williams Says
I made a list on index cards to create a bedtime habit. I listed them on a card that is labeled p.m. Every night, I check my list to be sure I have completed everything. It worked so well, I created one for A.M This includes making bed, cleaning my cpap machine, taking meds, etc.
It has worked so well that I am working on a downstairs habit card!
Susan Frost Says
Hi Laura – What a great post about creating habits! I absolutely agree. I have been working out every day since last week. I’m hoping that by the start of week 3, maybe 4, it will be a habit. I had never heard of the Unbroken X but I think this is a great way to stay motivated to keep up the momentum. Thanks for sharing!
I joined anytime fittness my work days are tues & thrusday. my trainer keeps me accountable to work out ob those days so far doing good