View Full Version : Changing Habits & GTD
01-19-2008, 12:53 AM
Has anyone here read or thought about whether and how to
habit changes with GTD?
You could treat the intention of changing a habit as a project. But more often than not, there are no Next Actions tied to habit changes, as most habits are practiced unconsciously.
I know there is literature about how to change and monitor habits out there and I intend to read one or two books. I'm just curious what you think about this topic.
01-19-2008, 04:20 AM
I keep an @ Focus list with these 5 or 6 issues.
I have it set in my Palm Pilot Calendar to view every day at a set time.
Each time is listed with a one sentence reminder about the action to take to actually change it.
01-19-2008, 05:53 AM
Right now, one of the habits I'm changing is to drink more water, 6 glasses per day to be exact. I have a checklist I go through every day on which I also record how many glasses I drank. I plan on keeping it on there until I'm at 6 glasses per day for at least a month. After that I'll put it on a weekly objective/goal list for a month or two and then I remind myself once per month, and so on and so on. This system worked with other habits. I don't put in 6 NAs in my system though.
Now this is a simple habit to change, but I have used it for more abstract habit changes.
01-19-2008, 09:42 AM
Can you give us an example of a habit that has no physical, real-world actions?
01-19-2008, 01:14 PM
1. Internet distraction
2. Listen, without interruption.
01-19-2008, 02:20 PM
1. Internet distraction
Real world actions: close browser, track and monitor Internet usage.
2. Listen, without interruption.
This *is* a real world action, it seems to me. Active listening can also include real world actions like taking notes.
01-19-2008, 08:41 PM
Below are some very nice ideas for developing habits. In addition, GTD Connect contains a lot of excellent content on establishing habits and making changes stick.
For an overview of Seinfeld's system, visit LifeHacker.com and search for Seinfeld’s productivity secret. Sorry I don’t have the link handy, but the comedian Jerry Seinfeld shares a great tip for establishing habits.
Next, as follow up, have a look at recommendations for using a palm device to implement Jerry’s “Don’t Break the Chain” system. http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmad...o-reboot-.html
And then the follow up on the follow up about using the system with a palm to track your progress towards your New Year’s Resolutions: http://palmaddict.typepad.com/palmad...ing-throu.html
01-21-2008, 06:16 AM
The only way I have been able to develop a new habit - or get rid of an old one - is to conciously be aware of the change I want to make. I think that if I put it in front of me daily, it should seep into my subsconscious. This is a sort-of subliminal messaging that is overt. A new habit, that I don't know how to set up with real NAs, is to "pick my battles wisely". Because I have a lot of things coming at me and plan on having many more things coming at me, I don't want to discuss/debate every point. I know that at my rate developing a habit in this way will take a long time. I could have this on a card that I flash in front of myself at select moments, but I worry what others may think. :???:
I have benefited a great deal from positive affirmations as recorded and marketed by healthjourneys.com. I was sceptical, and the guided imagery portion of the CDs offered on this website was too dreamy for me (even though I like to think of myself as imaginative). The positive affirmations are stated in the present tense, and after listening to the CD frequently, I find I am able to compose my own. Instead of telling myself, "I have to quit eating all those Doritoes every afternoon," I say, "More and more, my cravings are subsiding." This is a hasty summary, but I strongly recommend the site.
01-21-2008, 10:56 PM
A new habit, that I don't know how to set up with real NAs, is to "pick my battles wisely". Because I have a lot of things coming at me and plan on having many more things coming at me, I don't want to discuss/debate every point.
The key to this one is an integral part of The David's system: Defer! Make your flashcard/action step/whatever a prompt to tell you, whenever something comes at you, to simply defer deciding or acting on it until tomorrow. By putting off the decision/action/reaction, you get to think about it and decide at your leisure.
This technique is also great for anyone who over-commits: instead of saying "No" immediately, which can be hard, they can simply defer the decision until they've got time and brain-space to think about it and make a more considered decision.
01-22-2008, 08:21 AM
A new habit, that I don't know how to set up with real NAs, is to "pick my battles wisely".
How do you plan to get yourself to a place where you pick battles more wisely? Re-read affirmations? Reflect on the concept more frequently? Read more on the topic?
Those are all Actions.
01-23-2008, 01:45 PM
Interesting topic. Changing habits is so important and yet so hard.
I think reminders are key.
For instance, I still haven't mastered my GTD flow. I sometimes find an idea pop into my head, then I'll pursue that idea, only to find 1/2 an hour has gone by, when I should have just put a NA on my task list in the first place. So now I've setup an outlook appointment "Look at NA lists". I snooze it for 15 minutes when it pops up. So basically I have a reminder every 15 minutes that I should be working on my NA lists, rather than what pops into my head at the time.
I'm sure you could use another reminder/scheduling software to do something similar.
The Seinfeld calendar marking has also helped. It reminds me that I have to do something that day, or I don't get a pretty red X.
Just some thoughts,
01-23-2008, 02:43 PM
Quick thought: "Ideas that pop into your head" belong in Someday/Maybe, in my opinion.
01-23-2008, 05:52 PM
It is so true, one needs regular reminders, maybe more so NAs. I realized I also need to learn more on changing habits. Coincidentally I came across this article 18 Tricks to Make New Habits Stick (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html) . I came across this site from a post in here, so I think it's ok to link to it.
01-28-2008, 01:27 PM
I have found this one to be helpful:
Five things you need to know about effective habit change. (http://zenhabits.net/2007/11/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-effective-habit-change/)