The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

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The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by FormerlyShyGuy on Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:22 am

Recently I started trying to get into the habit of developing habits, first I made my bed for two weeks and changed nothing else. I did everything I would normally do good bad or otherwise. Then I started eating breakfast I cooked. Then started bringing in lunch to work, to save money and eat better.

My point of bringing this up is that I have been able to change a great deal of my behaviors in the last couple of months by working this way.  I have only a few rules that I try to follow to make these changes last.

1. Make the change as small as possible. For example my first goal make my bed every day, I didn't even have to make it well as long as it got done.

2. Only work on one or at most two goals at once, and if I do two goal they are working towards different long term goals. For example I am working on eating my sack lunch at work for my goal of better diet, and working doing 10 minutes of cardio a day for the long term goal of consistently exercising.

3. Only hold my self accountable to the goals I am currently working on, the old goals should be habits now and not require as much will power to accomplish (for me at least) and the next goal is yet to come.
      3a. This means that since I have yet to make a goal for dinner time I can eat as well or as badly as I want and that ok.

Recommendation: If you are like me and you try to change EVERYTHING!!! all at once and then fail horribly, then this might be a good method to try.

Advice please:  I have choose my goals so far because they have a domino effect making it easier to do more, making my bed gives me a little mood boost in the morning cuz little victory. Diet and exercise help cuz endocrines and health benefits. So my question is after all my long windedness is what habits do you have that help you? What habits make life easier, or boost your mood, or help you get a lot done with out exhausting you.

*I know this is not revolutionary lol but this is the fist time I have tried it on purpose.

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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by celette482 on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:50 am

Going off making the bed, I have a schedule for cleaning the house (we have a schedule) and we stick to it, no matter what. Neither of us are particularly neat people, but we've found that we feel more comfortable in our space when things are tidy than not, and more relaxed and then we know it's getting done and there's none of that "Well I cleaned it the last 5 times" that can come up in cohabiting situations.

The other habit that I have is meal-planning: every week I pick out recipes to make for every dinner (usually leaving one night as either a convenience food [frozen pizza ftw] or go-out night [but we've been on a no-extraneous spending diet for the summer, so that hasn't happened]) and then gather the recipes into a planning app and make up the grocery list. Benefits: home-cooked food is on the balance better for you than prepared meals (mr celette has dropped... 60-70 pounds on my cooking, which sounds awful until you realize his old strategy was to make giant things of mac and cheese and just...eat them), on the balance cheaper than restaurants, and a satisfying way to relax/can actually be faster than going to a sit down restaurant. Plus, the meal-planning itself is a regime that helps me stick to it and minimize food waste. I'm not very rigid when it comes to dates: if I felt like soy chicken thighs tonight rather than tomorrow, that's cool. But I always make sure i have something *easy* and/or one of my favorites for the end of the week when I get drained.

(Plus, having everything arranged means that Mr. Celette, who is usually sous-chef at best [it's a tiny apartment kitchen] can take over seamlessly if shit really hit the fan that day)
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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by FormerlyShyGuy on Sat Jul 25, 2015 4:53 am

I am glad you commented celette482, your comments where you mention the attitude that you and Mr. Celette "will stick to it, no matter what" is part of why I started this strategy. So thanks!

Also today started a new goal to clean my dishs from breakfast every day before leaving the house.

Both of the thing you mentioned are things I would like to work toward in my longer term goals.

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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by celette482 on Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:00 am

Excellent goal. Something about coming home to no eggy plates or stained coffee mugs... it'll give you one less thing to worry about when you're home again.

I need to start emptying the dishwasher BEFORE I start cooking, so that I can put dirty cooking implements right into the dishwasher, rather than letting them pile up in our too-shallow sink. It takes an extra five minutes, but it would make the whole process a lot smoother. (I have been letting Mr. Celette do it as part of his post-dinner clean-up job, and it's not that he minds the 5 minute task, but I have had too many days where the sink was so overflowing from cooking mess that I couldn't even drain pasta in it- that was a problem).

I also want to start keeping a record of our monthly budget. We want to buy a house soon, and are trying to save up- the down payment at least is coming out of my salary, but there are so many other incidental expenses related to buying a house and moving that I need to look at our actual expenditures and see where we can cut back or otherwise squeeze out some bonus cash. We're at a place where we definitely don't spend more (of Mr. Celette's salary, which is what we "live" off of) than comes in, but I want to see how much we really have left over.
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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by litterature on Sat Jul 25, 2015 9:22 am

Yeah, keeping a record of things is a sound idea definitely. Muji sells nifty housekeeping notebooks (UK/EUR, US), not as fancy as the ones that seem to be all the rage in Europe (example) but they do the job just fine.

I keep a log of my habits - it's a bit like a diary where every entry has a section for each habit. For instance:

"25/07/2015

Japanese
Today I learnt 10 kanji. I was confused by X because it uses radical X but the stroke order is all messed up. I wonder if anybody actually uses XX word? I've never heard it and it definitely looks like newspaper jargon, plus I thought YY was the actual way of saying that. Will check it out tomorrow.

Guitar
My F chord still sucks, but pressing the 3rd finger down a bit harder seems to help.
Chord changes:
Dm -> F: 30 (utter rubbish)
Am -> E: 75

Special Person A
blah blah

Manga
My Azuma-style shading still looks pretty pants... and I've run out of maru nibs, will have to try using the back of a saji u_u

Other
I've swept the floor.
I still feel a bit sick and don't know whether I want to eat or not. I think it's because I've been on white rice for 3 months now - I've got to look for tasty recipes ASAP, but all I feel like eating is chocolate, milk, and Sprite... -_-U
The boiler seems to be completely knackered but Mr Owner doesn't want to have anything to do with it. I'm not taking the kettle to the shower again so tomorrow I'll remind him that surely he must have a bloody insurance?!!!"

It works when everything goes as usual, but I'm terrible at managing special tasks out of the ordinary so when I've got to do one of those I still need to drop everything until I'm done and the log becomes useless. I wonder if there's a way of getting better at sticking with your habits when you've got to do other stuff as well...

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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by celette482 on Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:15 pm

I've read recently that the best way to deal with special tasks is, instead of making a to-do list or a deadline, to set yourself an appointment to do them.

Like, I need to call my credit card company about our upcoming trip. Instead of writing down on a notepad or whatever "Call credit card company" I set myself a reminder that from 10-11 on Monday, I will call the credit card company, the way I might set a reminder for a doctor's appointment.
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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by kittyburr on Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:38 pm

I just wanted to add two things that I found as really helpful resources:

One was the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg -- this really got at the WHYs as much as the HOWs and I really, really found it helpful.

HabitRPG (which is now changing its name to Habitica) -- a web-based or mobile app-based daily RPG where you get experience/gold/do damage to bosses by doing your habits, your dailies, your to-do list, etc and take damage if you don't. This was really the perfect way for me to set up a lot of things and also to pat myself on the back for seemingly tiny things I was struggling with (take your meds! Brush your teeth! Eat a meal!) and the community is incredibly kind and helpful.

Oh, and just following the UnFuck Your Habitat tumblr community was a real help for me, especially people showing their Before and After pictures etc. I read the community for MONTHS before I started making my bed, and it really really set things in motion for me. Between the three of these, I now feel really good about my adulting in general, my place is drop-in ready and feels good to me, and I don't feel too overwhelmed by big things coming up because I'm already breaking them into smaller parts to get more xp in Habitica.

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Re: The habit of building habits. Advice / recomendation

Post by FormerlyShyGuy on Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:08 am

I recently started on a similar site called Super better, they describe it as:

SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers and backed by science to help build personal resilience: the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of difficulty challenges.

So far I like it alot, after doing if for a couple hours I feel a little (stressing the little part) more motivated to eat better.

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