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44 days ago I made the decision to start getting serious about my sleep hygiene because it pretty much sucked.
I was dependent on a distraction — the TV or my iPad — to get to sleep.
This dependency began many years ago when I had severe insomnia. I began watching TV until I would finally fall asleep, and then I just never stopped.
I don’t have a TV in my bedroom now, but for a long time I slept on the couch in the family room and fell asleep watching the television.
Then I switched to bringing the iPad in to bed with me and watching something there.
So on December 9th I said no more.
I made myself a habit tracker to keep myself motivated.
December 9th was a Wednesday. I can’t recall if there was a specific reason why I chose this day to finally rid myself of this habit or not.
But it is evidence that you can make a change in the middle of the week.
You don’t have to wait for the 1st of the month (or year) or a Monday.
A while ago I heard a story about Jerry Seinfeld and breaking the chain.
In the story, Jerry said one of the reasons he was so good at what he did was because he wrote a new joke every day. He never wanted to break the chain, and he kept the writing streak going as long as he could.
This was how became so good at what he does.
He didn’t break the chain.
If he did break the chain broke, he’d start a new one.
I also recall reading somewhere that Seinfeld said he never actually said that, but it doesn’t matter.
It’s a good strategy.
Because the more reps you get in of a new habit, the more it becomes automatic.
So I made the tracker with 100 blank boxes on it just wanting to fill them all in as quickly as possible.
But I really wanted to make a chain of 100 boxes.
So I decided to write numbers in the tracker like it was a calendar.
I filled the first box in on the 9th. 100 days from then is February 16th.
I haven’t broken the chain yet!
I’ve got 44 days under my belt.
And believe me, there have been days that I’ve said to myself, Well, just for tonight it’s okay.
But so often, that one day turns into two days and then a week and then before you know it you are way off course.
So I think about this tracker and how I do not want to have a box on it that’s not colored in.
THERE WILL BE NO WHITE BOXES IN MY TRACKER, DAMMIT.
If you are trying to establish new habits and you don’t get any visible or tangible results immediately (or relatively quickly) — like if you don’t see money accumulating in a savings account or a bill being paid down or the numbers on the scale decreasing, a habit tracker is a great way to keep yourself motivated.
Because it feels good to fill in those boxes.
It’s visually satisfying to see all those boxes colored in. And the more you color in, the more you want to color in.
I’m almost halfway there.
If you have a change you want to make, using a tracker is a great way to help you stay on… track.