Focusing on one change at a time for two months each

Zen Habits, one of my favorite e-mail newsletters, offered guidance this week on making New Year’s resolutions using the Six Changes Method.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Pick 6 habits for 2010.
  2. Pick 1 of the 6 habits to start with.
  3. Commit as publicly as possible to creating this new habit in 2 months.
  4. Break the habit into 8 baby steps, starting with a ridiculously easy step. Example: if you want to floss, the first step is just to get out a piece of floss at the same time each night.
  5. Choose a trigger for your habit – something already in your routine that will immediately precede the habit. Examples: eating breakfast, brushing your teeth, showering, waking up, arriving at the office, leaving the office, getting home in the evening.
  6. Do the 1st, really easy baby step for one week, right after the trigger. Post your progress publicly. (Read more.)
  7. Each week, move on to a slightly harder step. You’ll want to progress faster, but don’t. You’re building a new habit. Repeat this until you’ve done 8 weeks.

You now have a new habit! Commit to Habit No. 2 and repeat the process.

You can read more, including why big, vague resolutions don’t work and why author Leo Babauta thinks six changes can by clicking here.

And check out Leo’s http://6changes.com/ for more moral support.

If you were going to make six changes to your life, what would they be? If you practiced each for two months with daily focus, do you think you could make them stick?

This week I’m blogging about making — and keeping — resolutions.

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Categories: lifestyle

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18 replies

  1. I’m still deciding my six things. I’m narrowing my list down from sixteen!

  2. Thanks, Margaret.

    Since it’s not my idea, I can say how fabulous I think it is without a tinge of arrogance. I love the notion of just being mindful of one thing and giving yourself permission to take it slow and not arrive at the change overnight.

    What six things do you think you’d want to change in 2010?

  3. This is a completely new thing for me–going two months at a time and starting small. Why did I used to think it had to be quick start and all or nothing? Thanks for sharing this. I learned a lot.

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