How can I make huge habit progress with minimal effort and no boredom?
Here's the deal. My process for habit change is typically a singularly focused and deliberate affair. It is what I recommend to others. It is what I do myself. The reason I recommend singular focus is because it is so effective. Taking the time to get clear on what one thing you are changing, why you are changing it, what success means -- all this clarity and focus just works. And when it works, it fuels the champion (you) with confidence and energy to get better and better in more and more of his or her life. It's awesome.
Since I'm a habit change professional, I'm seeing what happens when I bend the rules of habit change. #52Habits is a personal experiment for me in 2020.
The challenge is fast-paced baby steps with a big focus, weekly freshness, and real power.
So what is #52Habits?
There are 52 weeks in a year. And that is 52 opportunities to make a change. It is my intention to add 52 good habits to my life in 2020. It's going to be fast-paced.
These are baby step habits. While I'm going to make big changes in 2020 as well, that's not what #52Habits is about. I'm not going to start running 15 miles per day one week, start reading 2 hours a day the next week, swim 2 miles a day the following...
"Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years." Bill Gates
I know myself well enough that making 52 BIG changes would be an overestimation of what I can do in a year. So I'm making little changes. Changes that aren't going to burn me out. At least that's the plan. Follow my progress this year to see how it goes, and I promise to be honest about what goes wrong. Things will go wrong, and that will be the most interesting part.
Changing 52 Habits in a year doesn't seem very focused. It seems like a scatter-brained lunatic clown who got loose in the circus, cartwheeling and trapezing around the big top, screaming in the plump faces of 52 terrified children with wet pants.
If you're into habit change, you know that it's an understatement to say focus is pretty important. The more you have on your mind, the greater your chances of failure at all the things.
So here's what I'm doing. I am making my #52Habits about one theme this year: #52Health. I'm going to make 52 changes that build on one another in the same focused direction - my health. I am taking on the identity of being a healthy person.
Since you are likely reading this on the internet, I already know that this would be hard for you as it is hard for me. You've got #InternetBrain like me. You want to jump from one thing to the next because that is the way the internet has trained you. If you had an inclination to do a similar challenge yourself, your brain would probably be like, "I'm not going to do 52 habits about just one thing. I'll still get my 52 baby step habits, but I'll do 5 relationship habits, 8 health habits, 3 parenting habits, 10 organizational habits..." My brain is doing the same thing. It's got shiny object syndrome. But I'm advising my brain to pick a focus and keep on it. There is magic in focus, and I want to capitalize on that magic.
"Dear My Brain, If you focus on one thing at a time, you can still accomplish many different things over time. Ironically, if you 'focus' on lots of things, you will probably not accomplish any of them." #Truth to my brain.
For the shiny object brain, there is the weekly freshness of adding a new habit. You'll notice that many of the habits I choose will start to fit together, but each one will have it's own spice and will keep things interesting throughout the year.
The habits I choose this year are going to be small changes that I expect to have lots of power. I'm not going to be picking small-impact things like, "Do 20 pushups every day." Do you know what you get if you practice doing 20 pushups every day? You get the ability to do 20 pushups. I will be picking things that I think will have a significant impact on my overall focus for 2020 - my health.
This is an experiment. It bends some of the conventional rules of habit change. It could honestly be a success or a failure. That's exciting. What's going to happen?