How to Develop a New Habit and to Break Old Ones (with a Free Download)

THE PROCRASTINATION COACH LIBRARY OF RESOURCES FOR MOVING PAST PROCRASTINATION
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Dr. LiAUTHOR: DR. CHRISTINE LI

Christine Li teaches online courses for chronic Procrastinators who want to learn strategies to avoid delay and to be productive, confident, and calm. She also hosts the Procrastination Coach Facebook Group, home to several lovely members who share their questions and victory stories with each other.  She believes we all have outsized potential, and she hopes to help everyone she can to believe that their goals are within their reach.

Habit Tracker

Repetition is your friend.  Repetition allows you to get comfortable.  It allows you to feel at ease in your performance.  It allows you to preserve your mental space for more complex matters you need to concentrate on. But sometimes, being able to repeat certain behaviors seems to be a very hard thing to accomplish.  There are many reasons for this:

  • we forget
  • we get busy
  • we get distracted
  • we lose faith in our ability to keep our behavior on track
  • we get bored when we think of the idea of having a “routine”
  • the excitement wears off

One habit that has been supremely hard for me to develop is meditating in the morning. We’re talking years of on-and-off “trying” to meditate.

I decided to design a printout for myself to keep track of what I was and was not doing for the last week in July.  This printout was meant to satisfy my desire to put pen to paper and to “see” what I was really up to.  I listed four activities, including meditating, that I was interested in remembering to do on a daily basis and one activity that I wanted to remember to avoid.

The habit tracker sheet allowed me to wake up the next day feeling no resistance to the idea of meditating.  My mind was already primed to think I was going to meditate.  I had made a plan and I was going to check off that box no matter what.  I learned it didn’t really have to be a do-or-die kind of situation.  I just meditated.  And that felt slightly better than staring at my meditation pillow and running a few circles around it like I usually do.

Why don’t you try tracking your habits too?  If you are game, print out the August Habit Tracker Sheet that I have made for you to use.  My suggestions for using the August Habit Tracker Sheet are as follows:

1. Limit yourself to five habits that you would like to work on.  Getting overwhelmed never helped anyone make good changes.

2.  Enter three tasks that you would not want to forget to do on a daily basis.

3.  Enter one new habit that you would like to try to be consistent with, e.g. meditation, walking in the morning, writing down ten ideas for your business, reading for twenty minutes.

4.  Enter one old habit that you would like to avoid doing, e.g. eating sugary foods, random apologizing, impulse buying.

5.  Have fun filling in your daily boxes.  Do it your way.  You could circle the number in the box, x it out, fill it in, color it in, or make a check mark.  Go crazy.

6.  Feel the flow of your new habits start to take hold.  Stick with the August Habit Tracker Sheet and keep going.  Realize that you are stimulating the broader habit of completing what you set out to do.

Have you developed any systems of your own for keeping yourself on track?  I’d love to hear about them.  If you enjoyed this post, please share it with those you love and/or follow me on Twitter for more ideas on how to get past Procrastination in your life.

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About Christine Li

I am a licensed clinical psychologist with an expertise in working with procrastinators. I enjoy the challenge of helping chronic procrastinators to see their work and their relationship to their work in a new way so they may find ways to move forward. Although I work with many students in my private practice, I also work with professionals who wish to improve their level of engagement in their work and in their lives outside of work. I have hosted this website since 2009, when I decided to reach out to those struggling with procrastination but who were outside my geographical area of New York. I have very much enjoyed the contacts I have made through this site and the coaching work that I have been able to do as a result of "Procrastination Coach." I invite you to contact me so we can discuss how my coaching services will fit with your current needs.

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