Sunday, February 10, 2008


Long time readers of my blog may be familiar with my attempts to instill in myself a series of positive habits. My attempts have been modestly successful (emphasis on modestly) I'm happy to report, but the reason I'm bringing up the subject again is that I have recently received some new insight into the process. I discovered that while it is possible to develop a habit sort of "in the wild" absent from any anchoring, that it's far more effective, if you're trying to develop a habit, to come up with some sort of trigger.

So let's say that my wife wants me to put down the little lever that switches the shower back to the bathtub (true story). So rather than trying to remember that every morning, I create a trigger, that when I grab the towel that should trigger me to put the switch down (it's not a switch, or a plunger, I'm not sure what the proper word is...) Eventually the whole thing becomes a single action in my mind.

Now that's an example of a pretty definite trigger, but I also use simpler triggers, like for example I decided I wanted to blog every day so I added the blog creation page to my daily bookmarks, and I can't close that tab/page until I have actually blogged (I did blog every day this week it's just that two of the blogs were in other venues... I can't really explain more.) I'm not sure I'm explaining this very well, but hopefully you get the idea. The core principle is to tie something you want to do into something you already do, so that eventually when you do the thing you're already doing you'll automatically end up doing the thing you wanted to add.

Creature of habits, most, but not all of them bad


Blogger hallamigo said...

"... my wife wants me to put down the little lever that switches the shower back to the bathtub (true story)."

You sister used to leave the lever up too; there's nothing worse than getting pelted by cold water overhead unexpectedly when turning on the shower.

10:08 AM  

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