Last February, I set a 30-day challenge for myself—to do yoga everyday.
It wasn’t a difficult routine; in fact, it was a 10-minute class from doyouyoga.com.
I’ve been trying to set up a daily habit of doing yoga for years. Yoga doesn’t really thrill my non-exercising, I-would-much-rather-be-knitting heart but I have a Do You Yoga premium membership that I didn’t want to waste. I could wear the rattiest of outfits since I didn’t go to class with other students. I knew that I would be able to fit in 10 minutes of something—anything—into my day.
On March 3, I completed all 30 days!
What made it stick this time? Four simple things:
1. A homemade tracker
I created a fun habit tracker. After each session, I stamped a little star on the day. My inner kindergartner was thrilled with my progress, especially as the series of stars got longer.
2. Motivational quotes
Every 10 days, I gave myself a high-five by writing a compliment on the tracker. After day 10, I wrote “You are a rock star!” After day 20, I cheered myself on, “You’re awesome!”
3. A consequence
If, at any point, I broke the chain of stars by missing a day, I would have to start the challenge all over again from day one.
4. …and a reward
But what kept me moving forward was the promised reward from my husband. I had my eye on TWSBI fountain pen for a long time. I didn’t need a new one but I’ve wanted to add to my Lamy and Pilot Prera collection for a while.
He bought it for me on Valentine’s Day and the box sat, unopened, in its bright red gift wrapper, tantalizing. But I exercised (ha!) my EQ and did not succumb to temptation. To slide it from its wrapper and unhook the pen from its case made the gift even more extraordinary, because it stood for an achievement and was not just another purchase.
I set another challenge for March: to write on my blog everyday. I missed yesterday’s post. There were a lot of reasons why I didn’t write but the main one is that I’m not doing these four things. I have no tracker, no quotes, no reward, not even a consequence.
Time to start again.