How effective does everyone find HabitCal?

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How effective does everyone find HabitCal?

Post by moxie » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:00 pm

Effective in terms of helping to build habits, I mean.

The reason I ask is I'm having problems getting green weeks, and I'm not sure whether it's my flabby willpower (probably), whether I'm simply trying to do too many changes at once (possible), or what.

I was hoping HabitCal would help me be more accountable, but I'm finding the old rationalizations of failures begin to creep in here and there even with bright red markings to show where I made a misstep. Am I putting too much weight on the possible influence this tool could have on me? Is this just another way to try and rationalize my relatively weak self-control?

Thanks in advance for your responses. :)

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Post by kccc » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:06 am

Well, it's incredibly effective in terms of showing me where I'm not meeting my goals. And sometimes it motivates me to push a little, so that I have a green day where I might not have.

As far as the habits... varies. Right now, my minimal meditation goals are not being met. I see that clearly, but don't seem to have the oomph to address it right now. That habit may have to wait until later. On the other hand, I'm pretty good with No-S overall. Some failures, but not too many - and I tend to "fail fast" and pull out of the downward spiral MUCH more quickly than I used to.

I suspect you're on-target with your own tentative self-diagnosis of "too many habits at once." What can you pare down, and leave to later?

Also, is there a way you can frame it that will help your success rate? My exercise goals are "five days of seven" and I don't care what five they are - that allows me to accommodate my ever-shifting schedule without guilt, as long as I'm getting in something. (And the minimum-that-counts is only 15 minutes, though I generally do more. But, on the grim days, it's nice to know that some evening stretches will earn me a green. And on those days, keeping the habit is more important than the exercise itself.)

A strategy that (usually) helps me is to set the bar so low that it's hard not to succeed with minimal effort. Then as the greens rack up, I'm willing to rachet up a bit. (Usually works, but hasn't with meditation for some reason.)

Hope some of this is helpful. Good luck with figuring out how to support yourself in meeting your goals.

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Post by gratefuldeb67 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:38 am

I think that Habit Cal is mainly meant to *track* habits in the least intrusive way, as opposed to some daily log of everything you have eaten etc..
I too find I'm marking lots of reds, but I am still tracking them nevertheless and hope to soon turn it all around. I'm glad I've got a fairly easy method to track myself and keep myself honest.
Good luck Moxie!
8) Debs
There is no Wisdom greater than Kindness

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Multiple habitcals are helpful

Post by la_loser » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:13 am


Just in the new posts I read tonight from several people, I noticed references that posters made to their habitcal which certainly indicated it's useful to them.

I know that I would never keep up with recording everything I ate a la the S.A.D. diets (Substance Accounting Diets--they make us sad!) That's never worked for me. And I don't even want to be tied to a daily check-in because I know I'd get busy and not do it, then it would be so easy to chuck it all. . . but the HabitCal is so simple and quick and you can even do it on a calendar on your wall with markers if you like! The HabitCal is something that makes No S sustainable for me.

I've included here my little strategy to keep me honest and to help me track if I've had S (or N!) days gone wild or if they were minor slip-ups. Don't get me wrong--I still strive for Pure Vanilla No S. . . but these additional HabitCals give me a way to visually see how I'm doing. Some other No S-ers have adopted similar strategies.

Hope this helps.
Posted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:17 pm Post subject: SOMETIMES. . .
This of course goes right back to the reason the official wording of the plan includes that word "sometimes!"--even if it didn't make it to the book cover!

Except (sometimes) on days that start with "S"

Re-reading this old thread refreshes the explanation of that and how not being an idiot is so important:

That's why I started a Habitcal reserved just for S days to keep myself thoughtful of not being an idiot!

It's called Not_an_Idiot_S_Day I give myself a Green even on an S day just to keep track if I've avoided being an idiot!

Also added a habitcal called GREEN_Equals_two_r_Less_S_Slips I even mark regular S days green then too

As I noted in a previous post, I still keep my "real" Strictly S day Habitcal called Strictly_Speaking_No_S and I'm really not doing the extra Habitcals to give myself permission to go crazy--it's just a way to track where my issues are if I do blow it.

When I remember that prior to No S--I was not only having S's on every day--but I was often "an idiot" every day!

Now -- to plan my S day so I won't be an idiot TODAY!

It really does help me from the mindset that others have described as "so I put a little dent in the fender. . .might as well ahead and run it into a brick wall. . .!" I do find myself thinking "I could have red for my Strictly Speaking No S but mark a green for two or less slips on my other habitcal . . . then my little self-talker usually steps in and slaps me around to say--come on. . . make them both green-you can do it! The other day I picked up a cookie in the break room at school and by the time I walked to my office, that little voice grabbed my hand and threw that store bought cookie in the trash! And the music swells and I marked a green day green day green day!
LA Loser. . . well on my way to becoming an LA Winner. :lol:

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Post by winnie96 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:48 pm

Oh wow, LA -- "GREEN_Equals_two_or_Less_S_Slips" -- this is exactly the idea I need to prevent running the car into a tree!

Maybe I have unrealistic goals (more for such issues as exercise, rather than No-S itself), but I keep having to mark reds despite being just a tiny bit below goal, e.g. walked 20 minutes, not my HabitCal minimum "requirement" of 30 minutes. Over time, the accumulation of reds sometimes makes me think "Why bother? It's a red".

But how much better it is to have walked the 20 minutes vs. not at all -- surely deserving of a green! I'm going to give this a try on HabitCal and see if it helps with my "all or nothing" mentality.

Thanks much!

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Different kind of Exercise HabitCal

Post by la_loser » Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:56 pm

Glad it might help. I didn't mention how I do my exercise HabitCal. . . since I am pretty pleased with myself if I do SOMETHING for 14 minutes or more, I made another strange HabitCal. I didn't want to mess with having a separate one for shovelglove and for walking or other "movement with purpose" (MWP).

It's called: GREEN_Any_YELLOW_Both_or_RED_Nada
Red for no MWP at all; either shovelglove OR walking is green and yellow is doing both.

The stats don't really tell an accurate story--except for the failure to do anything --which is the most critical one, I think.

You could make one for Green is 30 minutes and yellow is SOMETHING but not that long. . . the neat thing is you can do whatever you want to/call them whatever you want to. . . for a while I was tracking "getting_to_work_on_time". . .but I never remembered to update it so I chunked it.

So long as YOU know what you mean is all that matters.
LA Loser. . . well on my way to becoming an LA Winner. :lol:

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Post by butterfly1000 » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:21 pm

I really enjoyed reading this topic. I discovered No S Diet in March and really liked the concept. It started out well, but then I was getting too many reds and got discouraged and in the last week I haven't even been putting anything in the Habitcal (because it's been all reds).
However, I haven't given up on it and I keep coming back on a daily basis to read what people are posting. I like the idea of putting a green even if a day hasn't been perfect, but an effort was made (example: a walk around the block would give a green even if it wasn't long).
With Summer creeping up quickly, I sometimes feel panicky because I haven't lost weight (I've tried many diets over the last years with no success). You'd think that feeling panicky would make me try even harder, but it's the contrary -- I eat more junk.
Hopefully, sometime in the future I can start giving advice as you all do -- until then I'll keep reading your tips and advice (and I'll try not to panic).

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Still keep your pure No S habitcal too

Post by la_loser » Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:38 pm

Yes, I do think my extra calendar can be helpful. . . but please note that my objective is still to achieve true green days which is why I still keep the "Strictly Speaking No S" one. It tells me if I've stayed true to the rules. The other ones simply give me additional info that helps me analyze how I may have messed up. For example, I had a couple of reds in March, but at least I can see that they weren't horrible terrible mess-ups.

One of my favorite lines from Dr. Phil is that "you can't change what you don't acknowledge." This helps me acknowledge more precisely what I've done.

Good luck--and keep reading and posting. And whatever you do, don't panic. Like vmsurbat has said, "just mark it and move on!"
LA Loser. . . well on my way to becoming an LA Winner. :lol:

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Post by dittany » Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:28 pm

I use it for Shovelglove and I do find it a motivator because I want a little green box every day. The only times I've missed it since I started a few weeks back have been when I've been ill.

I'm guessing there's a difference though between using it to get yourself to do something e.g. exercise, and using it to stop yourself doing something e.g. eating between meals. I'm pretty sure the latter requires more willpower.

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Post by winnie96 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:38 am

dittany wrote:I'm guessing there's a difference though between using it to get yourself to do something e.g. exercise, and using it to stop yourself doing something e.g. eating between meals.
Hmmmm ... what an interesting way to look at what you're trying to accomplish. I think I have more success with getting myself to do something vs. trying to stop myself from doing something. Am going to think about how to rephrase my "stop doings" so they seem to be "getting doings". Thank you for a thought-provoking post!

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