21 Days and waddya get? Three weeks older.

Flylady.net is a real person. I find her ideas and her inner light lovely. Check out her site if you need help with housekeeping.
Flylady is a real person. I find her ideas and her inner light lovely. Check out her site if you need help with housekeeping. Flylady.net

My friend Ros sent me an article called: Habit Formation: The 21-Day Myth. I found it simultaneously repellent and enlightening.

Repellent because it’s macho and corporate, using words like “successful”, “fight”, and “win”. It uses Michael Jordan and the Williams sisters as examples of “success”, rather than, say, M. L. King and Georgia O’Keefe. Reading the piece, I get the definite impression that these folks are “swimming with the sharks”.

Enlightening, though, because it clarifies that “21 days” do not, after all, make a habit. Aha! I wondered about this! I have done plenty of things for 21 days and still not continued them as habits.

The article uses a three-phase model of good habit formation:

  • Honeymoon
  • Fight-thru
  • Second-nature.

Seems obvious once I read it. Nice to see it clarified.

The best wisdom nugget comes from this addition: The “Second-nature” phase, (touted by some to happen automatically after 21 days), can be disrupted, and we need to get back into “Fight-thru” mode.

Now this makes sense. Too often I have braved my 21 days, but fallen all the way back to squat. If I’m lucky, there’s a new Honeymoon, and sometimes another “Fight-thru”, but more often than not I just forget about it after a few days.

So I think I’ll incorporate this model into my year of building better habits, but reword it into a “kinder gentler” approach.

Instead of “success”, how about “fruition”; “gratification”; “growth”? Instead of “fight-thru”, how about “Hold Fast”?

Let’s see…

To form and keep better habits, I need to Hold Fast. When a new habit seems to have become Second Nature, but then gets interrupted, I’ll Hold Fast again. This will increase my joy and contentment.

Hoo boy, it’s hard to leave “corporate-speak” without falling into “Birkenstock-speak”.

How about…

To get my act together before I kick the bucket, I need to stick with the habits I’m trying to form, so I can quit feeling whiny a lot of the time. When I get distracted and/or lazy, I need to suck it up and keep on keeping on.

That’s a little closer.

Feel free to send me your version.

This week’s new habit goal:

My Second-Nature light housekeeping habits are slipping. I’ll revisit FlyLady.net and Hold Fast, and get back that cozy feeling a clean home gives me.

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Ok, Week 2!

to-do-listI’d like to say that, (per last week’s goal), because I prepped veggies this week, I stayed off the couch and didn’t eat chocolate. Hah!

But I did eat a whole bunch more fruits and vegetables. Yay!

I also started a new To-Do List method I got off the Internet from Stever Robbins, the “Get-it-Done Guy”. The method is easy, and uses paper. This is the most successful To-Do system I have ever used. (Note: I am not an organized person.)

I started by writing my initial list in a small notebook, and drew a line at the bottom.

Whenever I  get the urge, I go through the list and do as much as I want of whatever item I want. No prioritizing, no categorizing, no worries about breaking things down into small tasks. I can write a short task like: “water petunias” and cross it off when done, or I can write “clean house”, and as long as I put away one item or scrub something for one minute., I can CROSS IT OFF. (Dontcha just love crossing things off the list?)

Once something is crossed off, if the project is not complete, I put it under the line I drew, onto the “Current” list. The previous list then becomes the “Backlog”.

To manage the backlog: If I go through the whole backlog and don’t work on ANY of the items, they all get stars, and I go on to the Current list. Next time through, starred items must be: 1. worked on, 2. crossed out and forgotten, or 3. put on the calendar for future consideration. This gets rid of the nagging feeling of failure from seeing: “Finish my daughter’s wedding album” week after week, and makes the backlog completely disappear every couple of days.

So…I did keep prepped fruits and veggies available daily this week, and in addition I cleaned some house, did some gardening, and completed several little nagging tasks that I kept forgetting about. It’s been a good week!

Next week’s plan:
1. Continue to ensure availability of daily fruits/veggies already prepped.
2. Every meal and every snack to include a fruit or vegetable.

Wish me luck! Join me if you wish!

Now excuse me; I have to go cross “update blog” off my To-Do list.