I’ve been reading lately about habits; how to get rid of bad ones, how to encourage good ones. The author, James Clear, seems to be a master of…well…mastering habits. He used a specific example that I love and wanted to pass along. He said he used to be a non-flosser. He said that he wanted to change that habit and make a habit of daily flossing (hooray!) so what he did was to change his environment.
Rather than keep his dental floss tucked away in a drawer or in the medicine cabinet, he placed a bowl next to his toothbrush and filled it with flossers. He attached the new habit he wanted to start (flossing daily) to an existing habit (brushing teeth). That way, whenever he brushed his teeth before bed, he saw the flossers next to his toothbrush and voila! He always remembered to floss after that because he was already in the habit of brushing his teeth.
See how that works? Attach a new habit to an existing one and the chance of the new habit sticking goes up considerably. I’ve been trying that and I have to say that while my record isn’t 100%, I’m really starting to develop some good habits: doing sit-ups daily, writing this blog regularly, not checking my email constantly, etc. I’m kind of excited about it because it feels like I’m taking control of my habits and they are not taking control of me.
If you are interested in reading more by James Clear, I highly recommend him. His website is: JamesClear.com.