Do you have a bad habit you wish you could get rid of? Do you have a practice you wish you could incorporate into your life? Making or breaking habits is a very common desire. Maybe you want to stop drinking soda or start meditating everyday. This takes willpower and I often hear people say “I don’t have the willpower to do _______”, this is a lie. Willpower is like a muscle, it gets stronger the more you exercise it.
I want to share with you a tool that will exercise your willpower.
What I’m about to share is adapted from a reddit.com comment I came across over a year ago. Which has spawned quite a big following of people who have taken control of their lives and step into their power.
Follow these steps:
- Grab the following: index cards, a pencil, a red marker (color optional)
- With a pencil, draw 6 vertical lines intersecting 6 horizontal lines. This will create a 7×7 grid of 49 squares.
- Now, sit down and think about a daily habit you would like to imprint on yourself (meditate each day for 9min, exercise 7min, no sugar, etc.) Do not make it too hard! It’s better to succeed at a small thing than fail at a big thing.
- On the back of a card write why you are creating/breaking this habit. I’ll quote OP (original post) here: Obviously, if you succeed, the resulting change in your life is going to be sweet. I mean, the reward if you do this, is seriously a big reward. It’s not a game. This a non-so-small step on the road to improving your life. You know it. This is important. You will need it. There are times you will need to turn that card over and read it, and remember. You really have to find the truth why you are doing this, and boil it down into something short and true.
- Now start! These 49 squares represent 7 weeks, each day that you do/don’t do the habit you take that red marker and you put a big fat X through that square.
- You can make several cards, label each one for the habit it’s making/breaking. Don’t over do it! Just like working out a muscle your willpower muscle will want to start small and build up.
- After a week you’ll have 7 nice big X‘s across your card. Take a picture and show it off, put it in the comments here, post it on a social network, or post it to the reddit community I link to at the bottom.
- After 7 weeks you’ll have 49 days done! The last day, day 50, this is when you have won. You’ll have done it! Not only will you have a new habit but you will have physical proof that you did it. Develop a ritual around the completed card. Burn it, frame it, or mail it to your grandma!
- Now you will keep going, make a new card, either continue the habit or if you feel like you’ve got that one covered find a new thing you want to do!
Each card is a physical representation of your success, which is the real gift.
What if I miss a day?
Then you’ll have an ugly white hole in the card, BUT the very next day you will have an X. If you miss a day turn the card over and write your excuse, often it wont be very good and you’ll be able to reflect on it and not make the same mistake.
What’s important is that you take this seriously. If you don’t hold the card with reverence then there is no point. You have to want to fill the card out. Remember, you don’t have to do that hardest thing first you can build up to this. You are making small successes into bigger ones.
You can find loads of inspiration, information, phone apps, and more at the subreddit: reddit.com/r/theXeffect
I highly recommend reading the original post about this too, it’s a bit more fun than what I made.