21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: Day 4 (Focus on Habit at a Time)
Yesterday’s exercise was to choose one small bad habit to commit to reverse or one good habit to try to implement for the rest of this challenge. I had a couple of good habits that I was trying to choose between: getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night or walking the pup at least 15 minutes a day. Although both of those would be really beneficial to me and Will, I decided to implement the puppy walking goal first. He has been kind of crazy/hyper lately, and I’ve definitely been slacking on taking him out daily (especially on weekends). Plus, it wouldn’t hurt me to get some exercise! I already had a Daily Feats account from a couple of years ago, so I added that as a goal to track.
Today’s chapter is about the importance of only implementing one habit at a time. This is a huge one for me because as those close to me know, I get kind of overenthusiastic sometimes when I want to make changes and end up burning myself out trying to change too much too quickly. Paine talked about how it’s better to master a couple of habits per year and be consistent with those rather than starting 30 things at once and mastering none. My pastor has talked about this before too, but it’s never really gotten through my thick skull!
The exercise for today is kind of a long one, so I’ve copied it verbatim from Paine’s site instead of trying to summarize it:
“Sometime in the next 24 hours, find 15 minutes to sit down and make a list of all the good habits you want to develop in your own life and the bad habits you want to reverse. This is not an exercise to overwhelm you; it’s an exercise to just get it all written down on paper so it’s not sitting in your brain nagging at you.
Once you’ve made an exhaustive list, prioritize the top three habits that will make the most difference were you to implement them tomorrow. Then, take a deep breath, set your paper aside in a safe place (if you’re prone to lose things, consider emailing yourself the list or saving it as a file on your computer!), and keep working on the habit you’ve already committed to make your focus for the next 19 days.
When you feel like the current habit you’re working on has truly become a habit, you can then pull out your exhaustive list and start making the next thing a priority. Remember to take it slowly–even if you’re tempted to accelerate onto the next habit.”
Can’t wait to do this one (I’m a list-making nerd)! I guess my number two habit is going to be getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night!