I have become a huge fan of daily habits. If we want something to become part of our lives, then we need to do it every day. Think about it - it is much easier to keep a rolling ball moving than to start one from rest. So it is with the helpful and healthy practices in our lives.
To illustrate, let me tell you my flossing story. For years a succession of dentists would tell me that I needed to floss. My brother-in-law, who is a dentist, even encouraged me by telling me that I only needed to floss the teeth I wanted to keep in old age. So, I would start flossing, I’d do it every day for a week or so, then I’d give myself the night off, which would make it easier to skip another night, and before I could say “gingivitis” it would be months since I’d flossed. The turning point for me was resolving to floss every night, no excuses, no nights off, ever. It’s been two years now of daily flossing, and I have become the kind of person who flosses. I don’t even think about it. It is now second nature.
If there is great power in daily habits, skipping a day unleashes the full force of inertia. I have resolved to blog every day (Monday to Friday). It’s been busy, but no busier than normal (if I’m honest). What happened was that I skipped a day, which became 5, and suddenly it got increasingly difficult to get the 20 minutes I need to put fingers to keyboard. Inertia set in very quickly because blogging is not yet second nature to me. It is still early days and daily writing is not yet part of who I am. However, I know that, give it a year or so, and it would be unthinkable that I didn’t write each day, no matter how busy.
I use an app on my iPhone to help me keep inertia at bay. It is called ‘Lift’ and it enables me to track my daily habits. I have been working on 4 new habits and can say with some satisfaction that I am on a 22 day streak for at least one of them (11 is the best I managed with blogging so far…)
What daily habits do you want to build into your personal life, your family, or your organisation?