Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Value of Habits

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
Jim Ryun

Habit - noun

1. an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary

2. customary practice or use

I've been thinking about habits a lot recently. There were a few things I knew I needed to do on a regular basis to reach certain goals I had set for myself. My problem was making the decision every day to do these things. And then each day deciding when to do those things. Shall I work out this morning or this afternoon? Shall I write now or later? Do I want to do laundry today or tomorrow? Sometimes it seemed I was spending more time making decisions about doing things than actually doing them.

Then one day while using my tablet to browse through apps in the play store I came across some habit trackers. They looked pretty cool so I checked them out a little closer. Some of these apps seem to be loosely based on Jerry Seinfeld's "don't break the chain" approach to productivity. Basically it is creating a chain of days in which the same actions are repeated daily. The goal is not to break the chain of days.  

So I decided to create a few chains of my own. Since we were in a time of change much of my routine changed daily but the first few hours of the morning were pretty much the same every day so I started there. Between 7AM and 9AM I began to build several habits - Bible time, a short workout and shower, a healthy breakfast, a load of laundry started and an hour of writing. Having those thimgs accomplished by 9AM each morning goes a long way towards keeping everything else running smoothly. Whatever else happens that day I know some of the most important things have already been accomplished. 

It's been fun to try to keep the chain unbroken and as day follows day the habits become more ingrained and less of an effort. And with an unbroken chain of habitual progress I come closer each day to reaching my goals!!!


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