A HABITS JOURNAL: JOURNALING YOUR WAY TO HABIT CHANGE
I’m going to update how my habits changing progress is going for a rebel like me. If you remember I was shocked but not shocked to discover that according to Gretchen Rubin’s survey questions I was a rebel when it came to my habits. I truly believe that if we understand ourselves better, our motivations, our obstacles then we can more successful at implementing changes in our lives. At the end of February beginning of March I decided to try out Better Than Before: A Day-by-Day Journal to track my progress with my habits.
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I had decided to do this as I’m an avid journal writer and have been for more than half my life. I find journaling helps me clear my head and also when re-reading entries I can begin to see patterns and find solutions. So of course why not devote a whole journal to my habit changing progress. I chose Gretchen Rubin’s accompanying journal as it also provides prompts and other information associated with the book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.
I think I procrastinated as deep down I knew this probably would work for me and I wasn’t yet ready to face some of the habits I truly want to change. But, being the rebel I am, I could chose which habits to start with and focus on so I chose 2 that I thought would be easier for me and 2 that would be more difficult.
First I will show you how the journal is set-up.
Within the first few pages of the book you will find:
- A summary of her 21 Strategies of Habit Formation (kinda works like a summary of her book)
- The Habits Manifesto
- A list of ‘The Essential Seven’ habits that seem to be on everyone’s list.
Then begins with Week 1. The great thing is that you can begin anytime during the year as you set the dates.
Each Week has a beginning journal prompt to get you thinking about changing habits and those you have chosen to focus on.
Next is the Habits Tracker Page: Only Room for 4 habits which so far I think is good. Keeps you focused and it doesn’t seem too overwhelming. As the week goes you simply check off the habit you implemented or not.
And then at the end of the week there are journaling pages to record anything that stood out for you about how things went that week. And then on to the next week with the same set up.
I began at the end of February week beginning of March. Sometimes I find spring more motivating to begin changes then January 1st. How about you?
Here are the 4 habits I had chosen to focus on and in my mind I had set that I will keep them until I decide I’m good with my progress.
- Make Bed Every Day – nope, I go through phases with this one. I have come to realize that the unkept bed is what Gretchen Rubin calls a ‘broken window’. If you leave certain things as they are do you then go on to leave other things. This idea would grow and grow so in my case an unkept bed turns into clothes left lying around to clutter build up. My master bedroom seems to have fallen in that category. I thought if I see a my nice duvet cover and beautiful pillows it will inspire me to do more in my own room.
- Eat Breakfast – I have found that as a stay at home mom have gotten into the bad habit of skipping breakfast even though I make my kids it theirs. When I was working I always ate breakfast. I need more routine again with my eating especially in the morning. Usually, I’m running around trying to get kids out the door for school. I have 3 all in school now. I going to make it a priority to eat as soon as my house is quiet. Breakfast and my Coffee.
- Drink More Water Everyday – I know Gretchen Rubin had said somewhere not to waste your habit changing energy on something like this one in the beginning but it is one I really want to figure out and I guess I just realized that it might just be a part of my ‘rebel’ nature in regards to habits. I just commented to my husband the other day how I strongly dislike people telling me what I should do, or how to do it when it comes to my personal lifestyle. This is one area of my life I have control and no one is going to take that from me.
- Create Everyday – I have realized that I derive happiness, calm and energy from the act of learning something new or creating something so I would like to create a little something everyday to fill that personal well of mine.
I know convenience in changing my habits is one of my stumbling blocks so I have been repeating this mantra from Gretchen Rubin’s book to try to implement strategies where it applies to make the changes easier.
A HABIT JOURNAL; JOURNALING TO HABIT CHANGE
THE FIRST 6 WEEKS
First, I’m a bit shocked that I have used it consistently for the pass 6 weeks, well, maybe I shouldn’t be shocked as it is a journal I love those. I have recorded the habits but sometimes I have missed the journal entry part. I found the first 3 weeks to be the toughest, week 3 being the week where I was the most inconsistent of all.
Habit 1 – Make Bed Every Day
The first 3 weeks were hit and miss with week 3 being the worst but since then I have made the bed *****(or my husband has)**** everyday for the last 3 weeks. This even included a weekend trip where I made the bed in the hotel room. Are you kidding me – I even made the bed in the hotel! For me that is definite progress. And now I do feel a pull to clean up and organize the rest of the room.
Habit 2 – Eat Breakfast Every Morning
Again, at about the 3 week mark there was a shift and for the most part with a miss on 1 day a week I eat breakfast every morning. Make part of the routine again and I also noticed that I feel better later in the day so this also encourages me to continue.
Habit 3 – Drink More Water Everyday
Here I just keep thinking how Gretchen says ‘Make it easy to do right, and hard to do wrong.’ I’m definitely more conscious about water drinking but no where near what I would like in a day so on we go with this one. I learned that I prefer to drink slightly flavoured water. I now have my water bottle where I can add a slice of lemon. This seems to work much better for me.
Habit 4 – Create Everyday
Creating doesn’t have to be perfect, or take a lot of time. Even me just working on my practicing my hand lettering while waiting for my kids at Taekwondo class counts. ‘Make it easy to do right, and hard to do wrong.’ I carry my pens and a little journal books around with me so I can write, or draw whenever I have a few moments. In my house, I’m working on setting up my own sort of office like/craft area where I could also sit and easily create when the time allows. Sometimes with a busy family of 5 I can’t also fit big pockets of creating time but I have learned to fit little ones in.
Well, there it is, my first 6 weeks with my habits journal update. It took a bit. This has also given an opportunity to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t just by writing this post out.
Here is the free printable I created Gretchen Rubin Quote Free Printable
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