As I’ve discovered through my series of writing challenges, I have a better chance of success in starting a new habit if I keep my expectations low and concentrate on making the action a regular part of my life rather than getting a lot of that thing done at any one time. So I’m extending this strategy to a few other areas of my life.
For the next 30 days I’m going to be doing pushups 3 times a week and using my step machine for at least 20 minutes every day. 30 days is not that long a time to do anything and finding 30 minutes to exercise is possible no matter what my days are like.
If you have been following this site for the past year you’ll see that I read quite a bit, averaging about 4 books per month. What you will also notice is that nearly all those books are fiction. For a while now I’ve been meaning to start reading more non-fiction for a variety of reasons. For the next 30 days all I need to do is read 10 pages of non-fiction each day.
Even though I’m still not quite done with my applications and have an essay that I need to do some edits to for book publication, I’ve started another 300 words for 30 days challenge.
With all of these, I am always able to go past the minimums I’ve set for myself. The challenge lies in reaching the minimum goal for each and every day. Another interesting thing to note is that when I was doing my writing challenges I was also doing pushups on a more regular basis than since I stopped writing daily. I think that maybe having multiple daily tasks can reinforce each other and help build a routine that helps give some kind of shape and pattern to the days. Also, keeping a visual record that shows each task being marked off as complete is a huge help to me and one that I definitely will continue to use as a psychological trick to keep me on track.
If you find any of these ideas helpful, please let me know. I’d love to hear how they work or don’t work or how you might adapt them for different kinds of activities.