Belief Beyond Boundaries
If you've ever tried to accomplish any goal, you may already understand how important good habits are. They are another strong element of the foundation you are trying to build in order to accomplish your goals. I would like to share with you the system I use in order to keep on top of this.
Step 1: Establish A Habit
Anytime you need to do something on an ongoing basis with some degree of discipline, you are looking to form a habit. In order to establish a good habit, you must first be sure it is something you can numerically keep track of on a regular basis. For instance, here are a few of nearly 20 habits I work on regularly:
The way to keep track of your habits is through a habit tracking app or website. Regardless of what app or software you use, it should be quick and easy to record your progress for each habit.
Step 2: Give yourself some points
At the beginning of the week, sit down to assess how well you've performed the week before accomplishing all the habits you have established. You can do this by using a point system. For example, each week, my goal is to write 5 blog entries. I chose 5 entries, simply, because I felt one per weekday was a good start. It's not under achieving, but also doesn't feel stressful. For each blog entry I complete, I give myself 1 point. If I can write all 5, I give myself all 5 points plus 2 bonus points as an incentive.
At the end of the week, if I accomplished my goal, I receive 7 points for writing blog entries. I do this for each and every habit I set. While assessing your habits, add up all your points for every habit to get a total and final score. This is how you can measure how productive you've been. Compare your current score to that of previous weeks.
Step 3: Use a Habit Journal
Once you've calculated your habit scores, you can then use these scores to help you gain further perspective on your performance by filling out a set of weekly questions. Here is the template I use:
Journal Work Sheet
Week Ending (Date)
Points (Tasks Completed): --
Compared to the previous week, what are some of the highlights from your goal work from last week?
What habits did you not achieve and what can you integrate in order to accomplish the goal you did not get done?
Did you get last week’s focus accomplished?
What one thing would you like to focus on this week and would allow you to feel more satisfied if you were able to accomplish it?
What are you going to do this week to ensure your focus gets done and is a priority?
Think over the past month or two. What breakthroughs or accomplishments do you feel proud of?
Step 4: Integrate!
Assessing your habits has allowed you to really think deeply about what is working well or getting in the way of your productivity. You can now, based on your answers from the Journal Worksheet, revise your habits, add tasks to your task list (Google Tasks works great), and with any inspiration you've received, set some additional goals.
Step 5: Forgive Yourself
Once you begin to create lots of habits, you will notice that you seldom can do everything you'd like to do, so please be kind to yourself and use this moment to understand your own personal processes and tendencies to create habits that work better for you personally. For instance, a few years ago, I was very set on reading a specific number of minutes each week. Each week I found myself unmotivated to accomplish the goal, because it felt like a chore to me. Instead, after several months of struggling, I decided to base my reading goals on chapters or pages instead, say, reading one chapter per week of a certain book. Surprisingly, I was more motivated to finish the goal. Changing my perspective on what achieving the habit meant to me was ultimately a matter of personal psychology.
To summarize, at the beginning of each week, I add up my points, write out answers in my Habit Journal Worksheet to the questions discussed above, and then go over my Goal Road Map to help me keep on track for the rest of the week. This process takes me under an hour while allowing me to stay focused for the entire week, which is a pretty good tradeoff in my opinion. If you feel like this could be daunting, modify this into something that works with your own style. Like anything, if something causes you stress, it probably isn't doing you much good.
If you have any questions regarding how I set and track habits, please let me know in the comments and I'd be glad to give you more information. Have a great week, friends!