I have heard the same general “message” in several different places in the past week, so it must mean the universe is whispering it loudly to me.
Daily Habits > Once in a While!
It started last week when I listened to an episode of the 5 am Miracle podcast titled “5 Bad Habits I Eliminated“. In his open, he said something like, “What you do everyday will have a greater impact on your life than anything else.”
In other words, making a big deal of swapping your pizza for a salad one night of the month- probably not gonna do much for your health or your figure. But swapping your breakfast choice most days of the month, might. Reading 1 book a year on a vacation= 1 book read/year. Reading 10 minutes a day might = 25 books/ year!
It also made me think about other “habits” I’m always trying to improve. Walking. Water. Exercise. Eating healthier. Mindful and deliberate consumption of media/news/etc.
I often have tried the habit tracker method. On the whole, I really do like checking off boxes. I also like the feeling of “commitment” to a tracking program/plan type thing (i.e. I will drink a gallon of water everyday for 30 days. Or whatever.)
HOWEVER… my life is just really kinda crazy these days. Too much of my life/time ends up out of my own control. I get pulled into whatever OTHER people need and want from me, and I can’t always dictate exactly how I’ll spend every moment of my days. (Such is life as a fulltime working mom/wife/taxi driver/ cook/ housekeeper/ etc.)
So the whole streak idea has just not been overly successful for me this past year or so. I’ve tried! I just always seem to “fail” eventually. And then I get frustrated. Because I WANT to do the thing(s), but I can’t always make it work 100%.
Get right back up
But then I saw another comment online on this topic, along the lines of “People who “slip up” but then immediately pick up right where they left off are much more successful at implementing lasting change.”
Meaning, if you’re trying to, say, go for a walk everyday, but one day you’re super busy, it rains, life happens, and you don’t go for a walk….then what? You can either look at your habit tracker and say, “Damnit! Now there is a big hole in my streak of “x’s”. I guess I just won’t walk for the next 19 days either because I’m annoyed with myself, and anyway, I already failed my challenge.”
Or, you can just say, “Oops, didn’t happen today. Ok, tomorrow- back out there.”
At the end of the month, with Option A, you’d have the 19 “misses”, whereas with Option B, maybe only 1 or 2. Obviously, with Option B, you walked A LOT MORE!
“Don’t Break the Chain” tracker
The third place I heard this topic was on SHU’s planner podcast the other day, featuring Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen has this new habit tracker journal coming out called the “Don’t Break the Chain” tracker.
It’s basically a little book where you can list habits that you want to improve on, sketch out a detailed plan on how to implement them and then “track” them.
I already do this in my planner, so I don’t really think I would need this, but this picture caught my eye:
What caught my eye was her little blue “PASS” stickers! I love this idea. It makes it feel like just a natural, normal, no big deal thing to have misses on certain days. Pass, and move right on.
I feel like this is a different mindset than I have adopted in the past, but a really smart one!!! I do believe that ultimately, what we do most days matters more than what we do every single day (or, once in a while).
And I feel like I have been guilty lately of falling off certain habits, and then ending up WAY way off….which is just silly! It’s ultimately very counterproductive.
So I really like this concept.
Oh! And the icing on the cake was that I opened my little book of quotes and saw these today:
“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.” – Mike Murdock
“The way you live your days is the way you live your life.” – Annie Dillard
See? The theme is following me!!! 🙂
I am grateful for a really good night of sleep last night!