Every day my clock radio goes off, and everyday I hit my snooze button – once, twice and sometimes for up to an hour, at which time my clock radio shuts off. In fact, years ago I had a roommate who finally asked if I could please stop hitting the snooze because she heard it every morning (walls are thin in San Francisco). Rather than just shutting off the clock radio after it went off the first time, I actually started sleeping with it under the covers so she couldn’t hear it – pitiful!
Although I don’t notice that I’m groggier as a result of my snooze button addiction, I do recognize the valuable time I’m wasting when I could be stretching, working out, reading or eating breakfast. Now I just grab a yogurt (if I remember) as I run out the door.
Rather than waiting to make it a New Year’s resolution (like the one I make every year to give up reality TV), I’ve decided to commit to giving up this bad habit during the month of October.
I came across a forum on Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits blog. One of topics is an October Challenge where people share a goal they want accomplish or habit they want to break in 30 days (StevePavlina.com also has something similar). You are supposed to give an update on the forum daily. So I put out my goal and after two weeks I’m happy to say, so far so good!
It got me thinking about all the other bad habits I’d like to break and good habits I’d like to make. Below are six tips I’ve found helpful in my journey.
1. Write it down. I once heard that if you write down your goal, there’s a fifty percent greater chance that you will accomplish it. For me, the act of putting it on paper is similar to making a grocery list or to-do list – It ensures I won’t forget to do it and I really like the act of checking it off once it is completed.
2. Share your goal with others. Telling a supportive friend that you want to accomplish a goal or break a habit means that you now have two people who want you to succeed. In fact, tell a few people and create a support team to cheer you on and hold you accountable.
3. Be realistic. Set doable goals in reasonable timeframes. Even though you may feel extremely motivated, that doesn’t mean you should set a goal of working out everyday if you’ve never worked out more than three days a week or give up a pack a day smoking habit in three days. The same goes for setting too many goals. I’ve found that it’s better to completely tackle one or two bad habits or goals at a time versus taking on a lot of major tasks at once and only partly completing them.
4. Reward yourself. When you decide what the habit is you want to break, decide how you are going to reward yourself once it is accomplished. This will keep you motivated when the going gets tough.
5. Don’t give up. We all have our weaknesses so there’s a good chance that you may slip or skip a day in your quest to break a bad habit. Don’t beat yourself up or let it keep you from trying harder next time. Tomorrow’s another day and you get to start with a clean slate.
If you are looking to break a habit (or two), here are a couple other sites I came across on goal setting that might help you.