I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how daily habits can really make or break you, so to speak. I have found that if I put off my top priorities for ‘later in the day’, they don’t always happen. What I do first thing in the morning has everything to do with what kind of day follows. So I gave my routine a mini overhaul. Now I walk-jog before breakfast, and start in on my writing shortly afterwards. No matter what takes place the rest of the day, if I’ve exercised and written, I am invincible.
I appreciate the words of fiction writer Anna Quindlen when she describes the importance of her own routine. During her interview with Gretchen Rubin (author of the Happiness Project), Quindlen says: I have a picket fence of habits to keep me on track. I neither like nor dislike them; I just need them to do my work. I really like how she compares her habits to a picket fence- keeping productivity in and wasted time and energy out. Her habits include eating the same thing for breakfast and lunch each day so as not to spend brain power on such decisions. This sounded rigid to me, until I recalled the many times I floundered for breakfast. Oatmeal? An egg? No, yogurt with fruit. Hmm, but we have this new cereal…
I think the key to forming lasting habits is to know yourself and what will actually work for you. Then do it. The beauty of a well formed habit is that we no longer have to think about it. We can use our precious energy for other things- things that really matter to us. Although I am not one of them, I understand that many people thrive on finding and using more and better technology for their everyday needs. Therefore, I did a simple search on some top habit forming apps available on iTunes. Here are a few:
Carrot– This one is definitely the most amusing. It’s introduction is “Don’t Suck at Life”. This app is your tough love coach- oh and it has a gender- it’s a girl. She will reward you and punish you, depending on how you are doing. You can earn points or carrots, or whatever she calls them. Those familiar with video games will speak her language. If you like competition, and do well with negative reinforcement, this one is for you. Also, I read that it does not overload you with options when you start, so you probably won’t spend more time figuring out the features than you will engaging in the desired habit.
The Way of Life- The Ultimate Habit Maker-This one sounds very basic, and is data driven. The free version limits you to three habits, and you simply type them in and check off boxes each time that you meet your goal. You will get a visual of how you are doing as you go along.
Lift– If you are looking for short term support, this one lasts for just seven days, and it somehow involves community support.
Whatever your habit-forming style is, there is a way to succeed. The distance between feeling like you suck at life, and feeling on top of the world, may just be a few simple habits away!