Question about 21 days...

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mitchell
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Question about 21 days...

Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:05 am

I'm very intrigued by Reinhards approach to habit formation and maintenance. My question is, how many of you follow his 21 day rule in which he recommends:
... keeping track for at least 21 consecutive successful days. Or at least 21 non-failure days


If you don't do this, do you start the 21 day count all over? For example, I'm trying to develop the habit of going to bed, every weeknight, at 11:30 pm. For the past 3 weeks, there is always one day where I muck up. Should I start counting all over again? This seems like a pain. And since I want to implement one habit at a time, I'm concerned that I'll never get past this 1st habit. Have any of you encountered this dilema? Any suggestions?

Thanks.

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la_loser
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no worries!

Post by la_loser » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:38 am

welcome. As far as habit formation goes, when you do have a failure day you should simply "mark it move on" as one of our regulars puts it. There's more I can exlain but I am writing from my iPod touch so I will elaborate more when I'm on a real keyboard!
LA Loser. . . well on my way to becoming an LA Winner. :lol:

mitchell
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Re: no worries!

Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:20 pm

LA_Loser wrote:As far as habit formation goes, when you do have a failure day you should simply "mark it move on" !
I do that. But when Reinhard discusses: "Strictness" & "21 days Tracking", I believe he does so to avoid playing around and kidding yourself. So if I finish my 21 days, and I haven't established a consistent chain of going to bed @ 11:30PM, should I really be moving onto another habit? Or do I keep trying to maintain a chain (going to bed at 11:30pm) before moving onto other habits?

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mimi
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Post by mimi » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:30 pm

Well, maybe yes. The habit you move tackle next may be easier for you to comply to for 21 days. Keep track of bedtimes for 21 days regardless whether you make all 21 days or not. Mark them and move on. Then you can try to top your personal best on the bedtime habit - like tracking for another 21 days and seeing if you can better your last string of 21 days.
Just an idea, but maybe one that won't frustrate you as much.

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Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:36 pm

mimi wrote: Just an idea, but maybe one that won't frustrate you as much.

Mimi :D
I was planning on doing that. So thanks for the support. Of course, I can't help but wonder if any habit will stick if I allow myself to be so lenient.

It would seem that Reinhard is much more strict with his system.

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Post by reinhard » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:37 pm

I'd suggest getting one habit firmly down before moving onto the next. 21 days of 100% compliance is a good minimum threshold for assessing this. A solid month is even better.

Knowing that "I have to get this habit down!" before getting to move on to the next one is additional incentive to really establish that habit. It also makes your next self-discipline effort seem like a kind of reward, which can be motivationally helpful there, too. Ration something, limit it, and it becomes valuable.

Whether or not you want to continue *tracking* the habit after you've established it is a matter of personal preference. I think a keeping running count isn't helpful beyond the first few weeks, a pain to remember and inordinately demoralizing if you break the chain. The habitcal gives you a better, more failure resistant way to track with minimal fuss. But any tracking is a pain, so if you don't think it's helpful, skip it. But I've been surprised at how motivationally useful the habitcal has been, even for very mature habits. I intended to use it mostly as a demo for others, but have found it very helpful personally.

Reinhard

mitchell
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Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:41 pm

reinhard wrote:I'd suggest getting one habit firmly down before moving onto the next. 21 days of 100% compliance is a good minimum threshold for assessing this. A solid month is even better.
:( I thought so. Er... looks like I'm starting over... AGAIN.
reinhard wrote:Whether or not you want to continue *tracking* the habit after you've established it is a matter of personal preference. I think a keeping running count isn't helpful beyond the first few weeks
Now I'm confused. What if you've been counting for a few weeks, and each week has one, or two, failures. Would you recommend to keep counting? Would you recommend dropping the habit and trying something else?

Thanks for responding folks.

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Post by reinhard » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:57 pm

Now I'm confused. What if you've been counting for a few weeks, and each week has one, or two, failures. Would you recommend to keep counting?
It sounds like you haven't hit 21 days of 100% compliance. If you still think the habit is worth forming, then continuing to count isn't a bad idea. Have you taken a look at the habitcal? You might find that a better way to track, to not feel like these failures are undoing all your successes.
Would you recommend dropping the habit and trying something else?
That's not something I can decide for you. If you look at my habitcal, you'll see I had "tasks" habit that started with over 20% failure rate the first month I was on it. Now these habits are close to perfect. The mere fact that you're having some initial trouble isn't enough to ditch the habit -- you should expect a bit of trouble.

My first month on "tasks" (Jan 2008):

22.6% failure rate

http://everydaysystems.com/habitcal/vie ... 08&t=tasks

Second month:

10.3%

http://everydaysystems.com/habitcal/vie ... 08&t=tasks

This year so far (jan-may 2009):

4.0%

http://everydaysystems.com/habitcal/vie ... 09&t=tasks

Of course, it certainly is possible that the behavior you're trying to habitualize isn't the best fit for you. But there isn't an easy formula I can give you to determine that. What's your gut feeling? If you're on the fence, commit to it for another solid calendar month and reassess then.

Reinhard

mitchell
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Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:05 pm

reinhard wrote:Now I'm confused. What if you've been counting for a few weeks, and each week has one, or two, failures. Would you recommend to keep counting?
It sounds like you haven't hit 21 days of 100% compliance. [/quote]

Bingo.
If you still think the habit is worth forming, then continuing to count isn't a bad idea.


Will do. However I agree with your last statement re: motivation. I'm finding the desire to move on, to try and develop other habits are so compelling. Alas, I have a feeling that if I don't build a success in one area, I won't have much luck in other areas.
Have you taken a look at the habitcal?


I prefer the aesthetic of Joe's Goals. However I listened to your podcast, and do not tweak the Joe Goal setup i.e. only one check mark for success.
with over 20% failure rate the first month I was on it. Now these habits are close to perfect.


Huh. Did attempt to track/establish new habits while your trying to maintain the one's you were struggling with?

Again, thanks for responding.

mitchell
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Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:07 pm

Rethinking Joe's Goals. I'm going to try the habit cal.

mitchell
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Post by mitchell » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:21 pm

Actually, another option would be this:

Work on one goal, before starting another, for either:

21 day chain

or

31 successes

The 31 successes, though not idea, would be enough of an incentive to keep the habit going, yet not get to down on myself for attempting a new habit.

Ok, that's that. I have a new rule/tweak in place.

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