Change your habits: dealing with the rational

I recently read the book Switch by Dan Heath and Chip Heath, which gives tips about smoothing change in your life and making them stick (made to stick is their first book).

You can read my introduction from last week.

The first part is dealing with the rational part of yourself. Sometimes this part of us gets bogged down in researching and recording data, there are some ways you can get around this.

1. Look for what works. This could be habits you’ve instilled yourself over the years, how did you manage to keep those habits. But more than likely you need to look outside yourself. Talk to people you know or search the internet. The world wide web is full of blogs by people who have made any number of changes in their lives, and they are dying to help someone make the change.

Not everything everyone else has done will work for you, but you can try out any number of ideas.

2. Think small. Too often we see the big picture when we are making changes. What exact change are you going to make? This step is similar to making goals that are trackable.

In my life, my goal is to write more. That’s a HUGE goal and if I stuck with just that ideal I would write occasionally and generally feel like a failure. So instead my goal is to write 500 words, 5 days a week. That is trackable. At the end of the day I can look at my word count tally sheet and see that I wrote 523 words more than yesterday.

3. What is the end result? Why are you trying to get the end result?

Again with my “write more” goal, that’s not the real result I want. I want to finish a novel, or X number of short stories. Why? Because once I have a novel I can move one step closer to being published, or self-publishing.

I know many of my blog readers and people’s whose blogs I follow are doing Row80 this round. I know Row80 follows many of the ideas in Switch.

How are your resolutions going this year? Could these ideas help you make a big change this year?

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5 thoughts on “Change your habits: dealing with the rational

  1. I decided to do the ROW80 thing for two reasons. One, I knew I needed to challenge myself (like you, 500 words per day, 5 days a week). But more importantly, I needed some accountability. If I tell myself I’m going to do something, I ‘probably’ will, but there’s no guarantee. If I say I’m going to do something PUBLICLY, that’s a different matter entirely. I’ve backed myself into a corner. If I fail, everyone will know. If I succeed, they will know that, too. So I have to choose what knowledge I want out there.

    As to New Year’s resolutions… No formal list this year. Just some vague goals. Finish two manuscripts. Thanks to ROW80 goals, I’ve finished the first draft of one of them and will begin editing next week. I also will be working on some things for the second and make finishing it my goal for the second round of ROW80.

    For whatever reason, this is working for me. Looks like Switch is working for you. We all just need to find what works for us…but make sure to do what you’ve said. Make the goals specific. Generalizations are too hard to follow through on. Like that how to eat an elephant joke, we have to reach the end result one step at a time.

    Great article Asrai! :)

  2. I’m doing Row80 this round and it helps to be accountable for your results. I’ve also written yearly goals, then broken them down by month. Every weekend, I write up weekly goals so I have an end goal for the week. But I haven’t tried daily goals. That’s a great idea, Asrai!

  3. “Why are you trying to get the end result?”

    I stopped dead at this line. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the doing and forget the “why” that started it all in the first place. Thank you for reminding me.

  4. Pingback: Change your habits: the emotional side « Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

  5. Pingback: Creating new habits: The world around you « Asrai Devin- the Maven of Mischief

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