A TICK NOT JUST FOR A TICK: visualization of habits

Winter holidays – time for new year resolutions, traditionally. People’s fantazy goes a long mile – somebody’s planning to stop drinkings, another is ready to sign up for a gym, somebody’s promising to lose weight and so on. With every following year the list of such resolutions slowly goes down since the head is realising that all which was promised won’t be accomplished in next 12 months. The last bastion of hope – setting just one and only goal. Wise, I must say.

It so happens that in order to reach something most of the things require some regular actions.

– in order to make body fit – go to gym

– in order to learn a dance – practise it regularly adding more complicated moves

– in order to master a martial art – attend trainings all the time

I can go on with more details, but you already get the main point.

Making a habit habitual

The biggest problem with habits is that we’re not used to them yet.

New habits are something unusual for our routine, something foreign. And it should become native.

When there’re some major epic changes happening in life, it’s sort of easier actually. Unlike the “normal” life that is already fill up for 24 hours with other stuff.

This produces a funny (and sad paradox) – a person thinks he’s following his new habit or resolution (that no doubt would make life a better thing), but actually even the necessary minimum isn’t accomplished.

Lets take excercising. One digs up a video tutorial from some coach and in the first evening one does the whole program, on the second evening muscles are in pain but one is committed to the idea, gets up from the couch and moves, on the third day it hurts to walk, one makes a break, on the forth day one is not in the mood and doesn’t have strength, on the fifth one goes somewhere with friends, on the sixth there’re just too many things to do, so on the seventh one remembers that it’s already fifth day in row when nothing was done, mood gets lower than the floor level and the new habit is given up.

Another often situation is an illusion – one does something only once per week when it requires more, meanwhile thinking that he does it at least every second day, and later one is astonished by the lack of the result.

There’s no simple way to keep an eye on the progress, but it’s easy to fix.

Visualising the habit

Take a piece of paper and draw a simplest table.

In the first column put dates and fill first row with thing you need to track.

Preferably don’t put too many items. My personal feeling is that 5 is enough. More is sort of unfocusing.

table

it’ll look smth like that

From here it’s easy – put it on the wall where you could see it often and put ticks for the stuff done.

Variations of things can be very different from person to person: eat 3 fruits, do 10 push ups, read 50 pages of a book, learn cooking a new dish etc.

Important note, the goal is NOT to fill all the cells with ticks. The goal is to visualise how one follows new habit. It’s generally enough to get an objective picture right in front of the eyes and motivate yourself extra in this way.

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