Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to track your habits

I track 12 habits daily. Yes, I know that people say that you should only build one habit at a time. But I want to build good habits faster so I am tracking 12 of them this March.

What are the habits that you can track? You can track any habit. Here is my list of habits in the morning:
1. Silently pray.

2. Affirm and read the Scroll.

3. Visualize.

4. Exercise.

5. Read the Bible.

6. Scribe journal.

As you may have noticed, the initials of the six habits spell out SAVERS. These morning habits come from the book, The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. In this book, Elrod tells the story of how he improved his life by waking up earlier and building good habits in the morning. So now I use the habits of The Miracle Morning for personal development.

You might also wonder about the Scroll. The Scroll refers to the ten scrolls in the book, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. Each Scroll in the book seeks to develop a new habit. The first Scroll, which I am now reading this March, contains the following words of wisdom: "I will form good habits and become their slave." So this is fitting to my quest to develop good habits.

During the afternoon and in the evening, I track the following habits:
1. Read the Scroll after lunch.

2. Unclutter.

3. Brush, wash, change.

4. Encode blog post.

5. Reflect and write journal.

6. Read the Scroll before sleep.

I made my own acronym: RUB ERR. Of these habits, the one that I forget the most is reading the Scroll after lunch. While I have a reminder on my desk to read the Scroll, but I still forget to do it. Maybe I should put the reminder on my computer.

For my evening habits, I intended to do them according to their listed order. But I actually do the other evening habits only after I have already encoded and published a blog post. Encoding a blog post is the keynote habit at night, from which all other habits are formed. So I just do what works for me.

How do you track habits? You can use whatever method works for you. You can use pen and paper, spreadsheet programs, mobile apps, etc.

Initially I used mobile apps like Balanced and Productive. But the free versions only tracked down five habits at most. So now I track my habits in a paper journal. At the start of the week, I list down the 12 habits and put seven columns beside them. On that day, I just check the box if I did the habit, and encircle the box if I did not.

What can you do if you fail to do a habit? If you fail, just note why you were unable to do the habit, and resolve it. For example, I often forget to read the Scroll. So now when I remember to read the Scroll, I just get my book or my iPad that has the Scroll, so I can read it.

But if you repeatedly fail to do a habit, you might want to reconsider if you really want to do that habit. During the last week of February, I included two habits about sleep. First, wake up on or before 6 a.m. Second, sleep by midnight. I failed to do any of those two habits, so I removed them from my habit list.

The test for a strong habit is if you can do it automatically. If you don't need to make a decision on whether to do something, it may already be a habit. The habits that I am doing are not yet automatic, so I have to do them everyday until they become second nature.

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