How to Get Started on Improving Your Habits

We all have habits we want to improve.

Often our habits overlap too. We may have eating habits, exercise habits, cleaning and organizing habits that we want to start. Gretchen Rubin calls this list of common habits the "essential seven" because so many people want to work on them.

But how do we get started on changing our behavior?

That's the topic of this week's video. Check it out below.

I'm excited to talk to you today about how to get started to improve your habits and this is a really common technique, but something that gets overlooked too often and something I even forget to do myself sometimes.

When you want to improve a habit you want to change your behavior, one of the first things we want to know is what are you currently doing?

And that means, are you tracking or monitoring your current behavior? I see this a lot with clients when they say, “I want to take control of my time” or “I want to change my schedule.” And I say, “Well, what does today look like?” “What did yesterday look like?” “What are you doing tomorrow?” And all of those moments seemed to be lost. They're not sure and maybe they can get a little bit of it, but without tracking, writing it down or putting it in their phone, they struggle to see where the time has really gone. It's such a powerful step to see all this in person when you can see it on paper, see it on your phone, in a document.

Some ways that this – this has really helped me two ways specifically even here in 2017, one would be that I knew I wanted to know where my extra money was going, that extra income of things I could spend whatever I want on.

But I resisted apps on my phone about it like, “I'm not gonna use that app. I'm just not feeling it out.” But my planner, my paper planner this year actually has a spot to track that extra money. And so, I was just able to write down every day here's what I spent and I get into that routine. Sure enough, all of that financial advice they say about lattes add up, yeah, they really do. And so, I was able to see not only do they add up, I can see exactly where they add up for me specifically, so things like that. That's one way I use the power of tracking in the past couple of months.

The other way would be from trying to brush my dog's teeth. I have two dogs, Calvin and Rosie, and the vet of course recommends brushing their teeth every day and I thought I probably only brush their teeth maybe once a month when I think about it, which is pretty bad I suppose. But I hadn't thought about this and I said, “Okay. I'm going to track when I brush their teeth.” And I have something on the side of my fridge where I can use a little dry erase marker. And I said, “Okay, I'm going to track.”

And I got excited to get the momentum going of wanting to check off all seven days of the week and then it snowballed of course, right? Because I want all seven days, I want the gold star so to speak – gold star junkie if we haven't met – literally, I give them out to my students – so, I wanted to check it off and then I could start to see the benefits. After a couple of weeks of brushing my dog's teeth every day, I could see that this really is helpful to them and I could make it part of my routine. But it was only through tracking and monitoring that I was able to enact those two behaviors.

So I want to ask you today, what is something that you want to work on in your life – a habit and how can you track it?

Is it on paper? Is it on your phone? Is it a recommitment to tracking that you've tried to track before but haven't been able to do it? What might it be?

I look forward to hearing from you about what you're tracking or monitoring and this new thing that you want to change.

Share your thoughts in the comments!