While I’m happy with the ideas on this blog, and I truly believe in the power of Time Management 2.0, I still have the feeling of being stuck in Habit Changing 101.
In other words, I’m still not satisfied with the speed and ease with which I’m able to change habits.
This is THE critical point when it comes to making a change in a time management system. All the theory that I’ve addressed on this site is useless if it’s impossible for users to change their habits to implement them.
What I do know is the following:
1) Habit changing is an individual phenomenon. Each person must work with himself or herself to find the right cocktail of methods that succeed. In my case, it seems that I even need to change my approach over time, as what used to work in the past no longer works today.
2) Finding the right “cocktail” takes extraordinary self-awareness and no small measure of patience. What we often call “laziness” and a “lack of discipline” are often not these things at all; they have more to do with a lack of awareness than a personality defect. Most people try to double their determination, and they vow to “get more serious” with themselves. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that habits have a “muscular memory” that often defies grim demands I make of myself, so that rarely works.
Last week, a partner of mine referred me to a new site — Stickk.com — and it truly struck a chord with me as a tool that could be added to my blend of reinforcement techniques.
The idea is simple. You create a goal, and then set up human and monetary supports to help accomplish it.
The human supports consist of people who are on, and off, Stickk to hold you to account in accomplishing it.
If that doesn’t do it for you, then here’s more — you can actually put some “cold, hard cash” at stake, so you forfeit it if you don’t accomplish your goal.
As a triathlete (and someone who’s known to be thrifty/cheap), I know that there’s a difference between the races I think about doing and those that I actually pay to do.
For example, I have a race to complete on October 31 in Montego Bay, here in Jamaica. I paid for it in July, and it’s made a tremendous difference to my training to know that it’s coming. As a result, I spent 90 minutes in the pool this morning swimming almost 3,000 meters, in my least-favored sport of the three.
I know that when I put enough money down for a race, as I did for an Ironman in 2005, I increase the odds that I’ll accomplish the goal.
In an earlier post, I shared that I used a Habit Tracker as my daily tool to perform the daily practices I’m likely to forget. One of them is particularly difficult to do each day: “Do One Thing for My Wife that’s Unseen.” I’ve been failing at this new practice in spectacular fashion, and I’m thinking that I should try the Stickk approach to see if I can “help” myself make it happen.
Maybe I live without having to be more serious, determined, or disciplined.
P.S. If you’d like to be one of my “referees” or “supporters” in working on this goal, simultaneously with testing out Stickk, shoot me a message from my Contact Page. Tell me a little about yourself and why you’d like to participate in this particular experiment.