One Bag Nation

Tackling One Habit at a Time

Posted on: April 11, 2008

Leo at zenhabits posted the other day about what I would call “self-improvement overload”. He recommends that when trying to break a bad habit (smoking, sleeping too late, blogging too much 🙂 or trying to instill a new habit (flossing, emptying your inbox, making your bed, etc.) you take it one habit at a time.

He says it takes 30 days for the new behavior to really take hold; I’ve read elsewhere that it takes 21 days. In any case, my first reaction was: only one habit a month?? I’ll only have 12 new good habits at the end of a whole year?? oh no!!

Then I took a breath and thought about what it would be like three months from now if I successfully integrated three new positive habits into my daily life. I’m guessing it would be pretty great.

The challenge now is to pick the first habit to work on!

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3 Responses to "Tackling One Habit at a Time"

Oh, that’s easy. For me that would be too much time on the computer – whether blogging, checking email or leaving comments on other blogs. 🙂

The issue is not the number, as much as it is the idea that it should be done with great care, and awareness. Only then will it really make the difference that is intended.

I keep a Habit Tracker near to me to help me track the habits I am trying to change. It’s just a daily checklist that I have found is quite powerful as a daily reminder of the habits I want to adopt each day.

It’s become a bit of a game for me now in changing habits steadily, until I don’t need to think about them anymore.

Hi Francis,
Thanks for your comment. I’ve visited your blog and read your manifesto and I was encouraged to find at least one other person who isn’t a David Allen convert. I’ve tried to follow his system more than once, but it just doesn’t seem to suit my style.

I’m interested in learning more about your Habit Tracker; is that something formal you’ve developed? It reminds me of the Stephen Covey “sharpen the saw” forms I used to use.

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