Day 3012 – When Does A Habit Become A Habit?

This morning, Bret and I were discussing habits. He’s started a few checklists because he was inspired by my checklists. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve flossed pretty much every day (minus about 3-5 days) for a year. Bret has flossed almost every day since June. We have a “Floss Journey” checklist next to our sink to keep track. He’s started a “habits checklist” that he keeps above his computer. On there, he included flossing. I said, “well, why include that? Isn’t it already a habit? Don’t we track it elsewhere?”

It got us thinking, when can you call something a habit? When is it ok to stop tracking it?

For me, I HAVE to track everything I want to grow in. I can’t stop. Even though I do devotions in the morning, and it’s almost always the first thing I do, I still keep it on my to do list. Even though I am in the habit of blogging every day, I still keep it on my to do list. Ha ha, it helps to have to number of days too!

I think that the things on my morning checklist are finally habits. I am so thankful for that! Writing and working out have been completed since 9/4, but it wasn’t until 9/17 that I added in reading through two books, and working on building my pinterest account. I do feel like those are now habits. So, that’s almost a month.

This weekend, I created two new checklists – an afternoon slump checklist (including things like laugh for 5 minutes, have a dance party, and go for a walk) and an evening winding down checklist (prepping for the next day, doing the dishes, etc). I’m looking forward to seeing how they will increase my productivity and energy throughout the day.

When do you think a habit becomes a habit? When do you think it’s ok to stop tracking something because you’ll do it no matter what? Do you have a video that makes you laugh out loud every time? (I’m building a playlist on YouTube!) Let me know in the comments below!

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Day 2435 – My New Secret To Productivity – Habitica!

You may remember that I’m a sucker for new productivity ideas. I shared in that post that I learned that I have finally accepted that my secret to productivity will change. What will motivate me today will most likely not motivate me in a week or next year.

I am a list person. I am a spreadsheet person. I LOVE that feeling of crossing something off the list. I love seeing progress based on records I’ve kept. I’m a huge nerd in this regard. I geek out over Pivot Tables in Excel (go look it up, trust me). Give me a chart to fill out and I’ll most likely get it done.

Or, at least, I’ll plan and plan and plan to get it done. As I’m reading Die Empty, I’m finding I’m a Mapper (planning my objectives) and a Mesher (education, doing things that challenge me, cultivating curiosity). But I’m a terrible Maker (actually doing the work). Doing all three is the goal. This goal of actually doing the work to meet my goals and use the education I’m getting has been fresh in my mind.

I also realize that I’m a big game nerd. I can spend hours a day playing Farmville (oh baby, my farm is awesome) or a Lego game (100%er right here!) I found myself thinking a few years back – “why am I so jazzed about Farmville?” (Yes, I’ve been playing for YEARS). So I read a book Zynga: From Outcast to $9 Billion Social-Game Powerhouse, hoping I would find an answer to my question. I wanted to harness this urge to craft things and get experience and level up in my life and maybe into a business.

I found a book at the library, Gamify. While on my first read/skim, I thought, well, duh, of course this is a good thing! How can I apply it? I didn’t finish the book because of that. lol, I’m very harsh on my current readings. If I’m not feeling a book, it’s gone. Which is why my Goodreads “read” shelf is filled with 4 and 5 star books. I won’t waste my time on anything less.

Yesterday, I got Gamify out of the library again. I spent time reading and thought, ok, I need to make this an actionable thing. I need a game.

A while back, my sister told me about a to do list/gamified app. I downloaded it and barely looked at it. I deleted it a few days later. I thought, I’m too busy to have ANOTHER place to track things and annoy me with the “hey Jen, here’s the million things you’re NOT doing.” But after the perfect storm above, I downloaded it again.

Friends, I am floored at how well it’s worked in the last 16 hours or so. I’ve added in habits to make (drink more water, brush my teeth before nine – if you work from home, I’m sure you can feel me on this one) and to break (I won’t play video games before 3…this is a new bad habit…I won’t pick my nails…etc). After hitting the negative sign almost 3 times in a row…within 15 minutes…and taking so much life away from my little avatar…I felt a new resolve. When I went to pick, I thought, no, don’t take the health away! It has made doing my to-dos fun. I have already done more this morning than I have in weeks…nay….months. I am excited to tackle my work day because I know I will gain points. I even wrote a chapter in my book.

Who knows how long this will keep me motivated, but I have a suspicion it might be a while. 🙂

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Day 2111 – Habits Form Canyons

This morning, I FINALLY caught up on the current sermon series at my church. (Sunday’s message was exceptionally good too, check out the Luke 6:37-42 sermon about not judging others. I honestly think it may have been one of the best sermons my pastor has ever preached.) In the middle of listening, I posted on Facebook asking friends for suggestions on other sermon series/pastors to check out. One of the things I’ve been trying to do is listen to a sermon or two a day. It gives me a chance to put together a puzzle while I listen, thus meeting two of my needs – the need for godly wisdom daily and the need to clean up a mess of something and put it into order. My senior pastor’s wife suggested that I check out Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church. I picked a sermon series called Creature of Habit. Oh friends, I found myself in tears through the sermon and very convicted. It’s a great message, so I won’t belabor you with the details. It caused me to think about habits I have, both good and bad. It caused me to delete Farmville off my iPad (again). While, it can be a good thing and does bring me a lot of joy, there are times when it can bring vicious distraction and waste time. I strive to be honest on this blog, and here it is – I spent about 3 hours playing last night. Instead of reading, instead of cleaning/going through things, instead of working, instead of writing. I lounged around for THREE hours playing this game. Now, don’t get me wrong, it WAS enjoyable. I crafted the crap out of things on my farm. But I ended the day feeling empty and under-productive. How timely was this sermon!

I spent a good bit of time after the first message writing down all of the habits I want and the habits I don’t want. What was cool as I went through was that I could think of verses that went along with these habits. I could think of the tiny ways you can choose a good habit. People make comments about our marriage from time to time – how cute we are, how encouraging as a couple, how we trust in God. But these things in us are first and foremost a gracious gift of God. But they are second habits in our life. It is a daily choice to encourage each other instead of putting down. It’s a constant choice to trust God. It’s saying – “God will provide” or “I can’t wait to see how God will work in this situation” instead of saying “How will we pay the bills?” or “What are we going to do?”

The Grand Canyon was made by years and years and years of water forming the great depths. Friends, remember that your tiny choices throughout the day add up to great things….or terrible things. What tiny change will you make today for the better?

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