A favorite adage that project managers love to quote is, ‘You can’t manage what you don’t track’. Meaning, of course, if you don’t really know what you did yesterday, how can you improve upon it tomorrow?
First, what do you need to manage? Well, that’s different for everyone. But the focus of this post is our daily habits. We’ve all developed behaviors that don’t’ serve us well. Without conscious effort, we repeat a certain behavior often enough to become a habit. Or, as psychologist Donald Hebb put it , “neurons that fire together wire together”. And before you know it, you’re going through a sequence of actions without even thinking about what you’re doing. Until you realize that you’ve done it once again.
This blog often contains thoughts about ways to improve some aspect of living. Often, the posts focus on changing behavior. Stanford behavioral scientist B J Fogg wrote that there are 15 ways to change behavior. And of those 15, two are the most effective; change your environment and change your habits. He further notes that changing your behavior will have the most effective, long term, impact. Fogg formulated the B=MAP behavior model, in which Behavior is a function of Motivation, Ability, and Prompt (or trigger). This post provides a simple tool to increase the readers ability to modify their behavior.
Using a daily journal, like the one provided at https://www.stepsfortoday.com/product/daily-journal/, will bring full focus to any behavior. A journal reminds us to review our actions and take new ones. All we have to do, is remember to make our timely entries. That’s now easier than ever when using calendar reminders on your computer and/or cell phone. If you’re interested in changing your early morning habits, add a calendar reminder to journal when you first rise. If you’re seeking to change you meal-time habits, make a reminder to journal at each meal. If you’re struggling with maintaining a household budget, journal ever morning to stay focused on your goals. Within a few days, you’ll probably find that your remembering to journal without the prompts.
Journaling also provides an additional benefit. While it helps to establish a new habit, it also makes you reflect on how well it’s working and consider what changes could serve you better. In psychologists Daniel Goleman’s book, Focus, he downplays the common statement that ‘10,000 hours of practice makes anyone a master of their craft’. He notes that repetitiously practicing a bad golf swing won’t improve it. Improvement comes by making small changes as you practice. Journaling makes us stop and think about our, sometimes subconscious, actions.
As always, thanks for reading.
And remember to take the next step…