As you probably remember from the first part of Creative Habit Naming mini-series which was posted last week, I’ve discovered a very simple technique for mastering your habits: creative habit naming.
The idea is pretty simple: when you’re working out a particular habit, every little helps to stay motivated and interested enough. When it comes to mastering habits, creative habit naming is a very effective way of making your life easier.
I’ve also identified three main directions in creative habit naming: motivation, progress tracking and positive affirmations. In the first part of the series, I’ve covered the motivational part of creative habit naming.
Today, I’m going to talk about the second direction you can distinguish – progress tracking.
If you were asked to come up with an additional function for a name of any habit you have, progress tracking would probably be one of your very first guesses.
Why? Because tracking your progress is always a good thing, and measuring your performance in mastering a particular habit is just too cool an idea to pass it by.
Here are the two most useful ways of naming your habit with progress tracking in mind:
As you probably know, one of the hardest things in mastering habits is the fact that it’s so damn hard to stay regularly committed. Honestly now, most of people who don’t exercise or commit regularly to some other kind of habit do this not because they’re lazy, but because it is actually hard to repeat the same set of actions over and over again without seeing great results quickly enough.With most habits, you have to stay committed for quite some time, before you finally start getting some results.
It’s not like you can try it one day, and then immediately see the positive result in just a few moments. It usually takes few days, if not few weeks, to see the first positive confirmation of your habit working towards the ultimate result you desire.
So it only makes sense to name some of your habits in such a way that the name itself will contain come kind of regular commitment.
Think of how frequently you’re going to get back to your habit. If it’s a daily action, or a weekly one – then you probably know what words you need for the name of a habit (daily or weekly, for those who don’t follow me yet).
If you look at naming a habit this way, you will actually remember many good habits you already have, which you stay pretty committed to: your Sunday church, your Saturday golf, your Thursday night out (very traditional thing here in Ireland by the way). It doesn’t have to be a weekday, either. You have many other habits, I’m sure: your morning shower, your daily job (not a very nice habit, I must admit – but hey it probably pays to do so!).
There are also some quite successful extremes which don’t even seem to have anything regular in their names, but they are habits as well: your birthday (I bet this is one habit you always stay faithful to), your anniversary, etc.
This is another way of being creative with naming your habits. Just add some kind of count to the name!
For instance, here’s how my ab crunching routine is called: my daily 42 ab crunches. The name suggests, as you can see, the regularity of the habit (I’m proud to say that over the course of 3 months I’ve only skipped two days) and the count of ab crunches I’m doing every particular week.
I started a while ago with 30 reps a day. I did them for a week, and then moved on to 31 reps a day. After a week I’ve increased the number again, and so this week it is 42.
Using count in the name of you habit helps you not only track your progress, but also gives you additional motivation by confirming how far you’ve gone already. By simply reminding myself that it’s 42 ab crunches this morning, I also realize that it’s been 3 months of my exercises.
42 sounds much better than the original 30 ab crunches I’ve started with, and trust me it feels differently too – it’s harder to have 42 reps, but at the same time it feels great to be able to do 42 and still feel like you could do extra 20 just because you’ve improved so much over the time.
Another way to use count in naming a habit is to you is as a deadline. For instance, you can have a habit like this:
- Learn a new language in 2 years time
- Become a millionaire by the age of 30
- Learn how to count from 1 to 1000 in Chinese
That’s all for today. Have I left something out? Please leave your thoughts on this topic in comments area, I would live to learn your approaches to creative habit naming. Thanks in advance!