Day 6: Good Habit Definitions
This is the sixth day of the Habitspark 7-day Jumpstart. Today you’ll get to plan what habits you’ll be working on next.
Good Habit Definitions
Today we’re going to talk about defining habits. A good habit definition makes it very clear what you plan to do and when, and most importantly, is do-able.
The following steps will take you through the process of creating well-defined habits.
Step 1. Write down your goals
What do you want to accomplish using habitspark? Why?
Circle the goal that would make the biggest difference in your life
Step 2. Brainstorm habits/behaviors that would help you get to your goal
Which habits/behaviors could you do every day and make part of your lifestyle (i.e. keep over the long-term)?
Step 3. Pick a habit
Look over your list and pick the habit that calls to you as something you are ready to do starting now and would feel really great about keeping.
Step 4: Refine the habit
Now that you have picked a habit, ask yourself the following questions about it:
Is this something that makes sense to do every day? Do I want to give myself a day or two off? Do I want to think of an alternative action for days off?
For example, the habit you want to start might be jogging every day. However, that could actually be hard on your body. So you might decide instead to jog five days a week and take two days off. Or you might decide to jog four days a week and do weight training three days a week. Or you might broaden your habit from jogging to getting exercise in general.
Is this habit clearly defined so I know exactly what I am doing?
An example of a poorly defined habit is “eat healthy.” What does that mean? A better habit definition would be “eat three meals a day following the USDA healthy plate recommendations.”
When will I be doing this habit?
You also want to know when you are doing it. First thing in the morning? Right when you get home from work? Before you go to bed?
Can I make this habit smaller?
It can be very helpful to make habits less ambitious. For example, you might want to exercise for an hour a day. This is pretty ambitious, which can often lead to feeling overwhelmed, purposefully or inadvertently breaking the habit, and in the end giving up on the habit. A smaller habit would be “exercise for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour every day.” There will almost never be a reason why you can’t exercise for 10 minutes, so no matter how busy you get, you can keep making progress. Once you get started, you are free to exercise for longer and you’ll probably find it much easier to keep going.
What could get in the way of keeping this habit? How can I plan for this?
Brainstorm roadblocks and barriers. Let’s say you are starting a habit to get up at 6:00 AM every morning. Some potential problems would be if you have insomnia, if you are out late drinking the night before, or if your alarm doesn’t wake you up. You should decide ahead of time, will you an exception for nights you don’t get much sleep and let yourself sleep in? You could decide that you’ll get up at 6:00 AM every morning, but if you don’t fall asleep before 3:00 AM, you’ll let yourself sleep in until 7:00 AM and it will count as a “pass” (I recommend keeping the waketime no matter what) . You could also decide that if the alarm doesn’t wake you up if you get out of bed as soon as you do wake up, you’ll count it as a “pass.” If you foresee something being a problem on a regular basic, you might consider developing a habit to get rid of that problem BEFORE you try to start this habit.
Final question: Is this a habit that at the end of the day I can clearly say “yes” I kept it or “no” I did not keep it?
This is the key question in the end. If you can think of scenarios in which the answer is not clear, spend more time specifying the habit.
Now is a great time to plan out what habits you’ll start once you’ve completed the 7-Day Jumpstart. There will be no more activities, so you’ll definitely be retiring the “Complete 7 Day Jumpstart activities” habit. Decide whether the “Track Habitspark progress” and “Meta Habit” habits are useful to you, or whether you want to start new habits.
Visit the forums to share goals, brainstorm habits, and problem-solve.
One day left! You’re really rolling now. Come back tomorrow for Day 7.