12 Months and 12 New Habits

AccountabilityStarting in September, 2014 (that’s in 3 days) I’ll begin a 12 month long self-experiment: 1 new good habit each month.

The idea is fairly straightforward. By adding one habit at a time, you give yourself time to adapt and make the necessary changes in your life without freaking out, but by the end of a 12 month stretch your habitual routine looks remarkably better.

The catch is this: If I fail with any of my habits, I stand to lose a considerable amount of money.

The “path of least resistance” suggests that I’ll tend to take the easiest way open to me. Parkinson’s law states that work expands to fit the available time. Basically, I’m going to spend the most amount of time possible doing the easiest thing I can find.

Luckily, we humans have willpower. . . in small doses. We also have the ability to plan ahead, which can is far more powerful when used correctly.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know I advocate using our ability to plan ahead to create accountability systems. Accountability – for instance losing money if a certain task isn’t completed – leverages Parkinson’s law and the “path of least resistance” to your advantage.

So what is my first new habit?

I’ve narrowed my options down to:

  • Spend 45 minutes in the gym every day.
  • Some more specific health goal. (e.g. lose a certain amount of weight, etc.)
  • Meditate for 20 minutes every day.
  • Plan my day out ahead of time.
  • Clear my desk and to-do list completely at the end of every day.

On Monday I’ll announce this month’s habit, why I chose it, and how I’ll set up an effective accountability to keep me on track throughout the month.

What do you think? Have you had success starting habits? Which ones have had the most long lasting effect in your life and how did you make them stick?

You’ll  also enjoy my 3 part post on creating accountability structures:

Structure Part 1Structure Part 2Structure Part 3

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