6 + 4 = better habits?

There are a number of bad habits I have that I've wanted to change. The problem is that -- with the exception of smoking -- I tend to come up with a huge laundry list of things I need to change. Sometimes this list lives in my head, sometimes on a sheet of paper, and sometimes on file somewhere on my laptop. I decide I'm going to become a better person and I'm going to fix all my bad habits at once. It doesn't really work, though. I think about it for a couple of days and then forget. So, taking some inspiration from the zenhabits blog, I'm changing strategy.

I've narrowed down the list to six things that really bother me or that I need to change for one reason or another. Most of these are focused on improving my eating habits or on reducing stress. At the moment the list is kind of general, but it will get more specific later on. Here's the list:

  1. Wake up earlier

  2. Drink more water

  3. Eat healthier snacks

  4. Chew my food

  5. Breath more deeply

  6. Reduce alcohol intake

For each item on the list, I'm going to take a week to focus on it. So next week, the focus will be on getting up earlier. The following week, it will be drinking more water. And so on. What I'm hoping is that while I'm focusing on drinking more water, I will continue getting up earlier, as well. At the end of the six weeks, I'm going to give myself four weeks before I decide if this was a success or not.

At the end of each week, I'll post a blog update about how the week went. If I'm adding a new goal, I'll describe what the goal is, why the goal is important and how I'm going to achieve it. For each goal, I'm going to be doing research during the week to make sure what I'm doing is actually the right thing to do and to find advice on how other people have achieved the goal. I'll also be tracking all the goals using Joe's Goals, which looks like a nice, simple tool for keeping track of this kind of thing. Joe's goals also has a nice blog widget, so you folks can see how well I'm doing with this stuff, just by visiting my blog (how very exciting for you).

What I'm hoping is that by the end of the 10 weeks, which is more or less the end of the year, I will have changed some bad habits for good habits. And there will be an incentive for me to do this. If I've stuck to each of these goals by the end of the year, I get to take the movement one course at the Castle. I've been climbing 5a and some 5bs for a while now, but I really need to improve my technique.

So there you have it: my 6 + 4 plan. We'll see how it goes, but I'm pretty sure that it's going to go better than these things have gone in the past. Taking each goal one at a time seems like the right way forward.