how to develop better habits this year (3/6)

Commit to a Daily Challenge

I’ve participated in various daily challenges and last year, I even created one, The Karma Yogi Gratitude Challenge for 21 consecutive days. There’s something both sacred and freeing about daily challenges. It pays off to surrender to a system where all we have to do is show up every day, and let the person in charge guide you. The automation and giving up control can help us immensely in building momentum, which we couldn’t achieve by ourselves. And of course, the community (if available) plays a huge role in developing accountability, commitment and inspiration as well so that we stay on track. This is why the 30-Day yoga challenges at the Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel are so popular and effective. You know what you’re doing for the next month and simply follow the regimen. To kick off 2020, I’d encourage you to participate in The 21-Day Karma Yogi Gratitude challenge. It will help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude bringing you benefits in all aspects of your life. The bottom line is that if you want to cultivate better habits this year, look for a challenge that inspires you and enroll in it. Just surrender to the process, and don’t worry about what it’s about or who else you have along with you. 

Set up Physical Reminders

Something that can strengthen the resolve within you and help you cultivate a given habit or behavior, or a certain positive attitude towards life is having a physical object that reminds you of it. They make your commitment more real and visual. This is a simple and straightforward way to keep ourselves accountable and on track. Bestselling author and modern Stoic Ryan Holiday has a picture of Oliver Sacks with a sign that reads “NO!” that helped him and now helps Holiday to use that impactful word whenever necessary. I have an Easy button from Staples on my desk that reminds me every day of the importance of play and helps me relax and choose the natural and easy way of living and working on a day to day basis. A few weeks back, I also printed out a Marcus Aurelius quote that’s easily visible to me in my room at all times to help me choose calm over anger and let go of complaining. These physical totems breathe life into our commitments and resolutions and hence can be of great significance to us as we work towards becoming better versions of ourselves.

Gamify It 

One effective way to build a new habit is to make the entire process interesting by gamifying it. A great example of this is the 30-Day Minimalism Game introduced by the Minimalists. In this game, you find a friend, family member, or coworker who’s willing to declutter and minimize their stuff with you next month. On the first day of the month, each person gets rid of one thing. On the second day, two things. On the third, three things. So forth and so on. You can choose to minimize anything. Every material possession must be out of your home—and out of your life—by midnight each day whether you donate, sell, or trash your excess. It’s an easy game at first. But it becomes more challenging by the second week. Whoever keeps it going the longest wins. And if you both make it to the end of the month, you both win. You can also choose to go on some apps such as Spar! that can get you engaged into incorporating a certain behavior or action in your daily routine via friendly competition with others and cash rewards.