How to Choose Which Habit to Tackle Next

How to Choose Which Habit to Tackle Next

Every month I use my Passion Planner to reflect. Actually, I do this every week, and then reflect on the reflections. The last question determines my main habit challenge for the upcoming month:

Name three things you can improve on this upcoming month. What are concrete actions you can take to work towards these improvements?

I stick to one habit, since I find it more effective to focus one one at a time. The funny thing is, when I’m succeeding with one habit, I build momentum and tend to do well on the others as well!

There are a handful of habits that I am constantly rotating:

  • Reading more
  • Eating less sugar
  • Exercising more
  • Journalling more
  • Getting into an Instagram routine
  • and Sticking to my personal budget

I put them all on a sticky note as a reminder.

At the end of the month I ask myself, which of these habits would make the greatest personal impact on my life?

How to Choose Which Habit to Tackle Next

Building the Fitness Habit

For April it was fitness. It was a tricky one to form into a measurable habit, because my goal was to find a routine I could stick to on a regular basis.

I started with the following framework, to be tweaked:

  • Sunday: Rock Climbing
  • Monday: Running
  • Tuesday: Blogilates
  • Wednesday: Running
  • Thursday: Rest/massage
  • Friday: Yoga
  • Saturday: Walking

How did it go?

I ended up sticking with the Sunday climbing promise, and committing to my Friday yoga class and Friday massage. I decided to drop Blogilates, because now that it’s getting warmer and sunnier, I want to be outside to do my exercise. I’m sure I’ll turn back to Cassey in the winter! 

For all the other days, I committed to getting in my 10,000 steps a day, measured on my Pedometer app. I don’t have to go running, but it does help me reach that goal a lot faster, and on certain sunny days I just feel like it!

Was I successful in finding a fitness routine?

In the end, I found my consistent, easy-to-track goal: 10,000 steps a day. I got used to seeing the green bars signaling success, and it got kind of addictive. I have also become more aware of how far I need to go each day to achieve that (Edinburgh residents: it’s two and bit laps around the Meadows!). 

Next month’s challenge: Sugar!

I’ve been battling sugar for a while now. I’ve tried various methods, including the I Quit Sugar book, to no avail. So I’m taking a tiny step rather than going cold turkey this time: No sugar after dinner. I can have as much as I want during the day, but no dessert after dinner. The idea is to tackle my post-meal sweet cravings while still not feeling deprived during the day.

Every time I contemplate quitting sugar, my brain tries to combat it in the funniest ways. WHAT IF THE QUEEN INVITES ME TO AFTERNOON TEA. Calm down, brain.

How I’m prepping for a month of less sugar

I went on a Pukka tea spree, stocking the cupboard with elderberry and other yummy flavours to settle my sweet tooth after dinner.

I’m telling people in advance that I’ll need help saying no to that dessert menu!

I told my friend Eveline about the project, and she asked to join! Of course she was very welcome, and so are you. Let me know if you want to join us for the challenge! I’m trying to think of a hashtag. #sugarfreeaftertea might just defy my frustration for the British calling ‘dinner’ ‘tea’, because it rhymes so nicely … what do you think?


P.S. for inspiration, I’m consulting my own post, How I Went Sugar Free for a Week!

Let’s Play Literary Bingo

Today I would like to talk about combining 3 of my favourite things: literature, games, and lists.

Let's Play Literary Bingo

Let’s start with lists.

I realised recently that I am addicted to colouring in the little squares next to tasks on a list. It started when I made a table for watching all the past seasons of Survivor. In my free time I felt an urgency to watch that show more than any other in my free time, in part due to my compulsion to make that blank little box bright orange. So. Satisfying.

The extent of my addiction was revealed when I found myself walking a mile out of my way to find a golf supply store just because it was listed in the Wallpaper* City Guide to Edinburgh. No, I do not play golf. But I will go to every venue on that list. Because…lists.

And so, I must admit. Lists are my kryptonite. Just as you can get Marty McFly to do anything by calling him chicken, you can get me to do anything by putting it on a list.

But wait a minute – thought I – this can be a good thing. I can get myself to do anything by putting it on a list! So I made myself a chart, for working through the steps required for my Leading Lady course, and bam. Productivity doubled.

Let's Play Literary Bingo

Why am I such a geek about lists?

For me, lists are like a game. I work my way through the Wallpaper* guide like it’s my treasure map. Filling in those boxes is like completing a puzzle. Oh wait, there is actually a game dedicated to filling in boxes. And those boxes can contain things like…books!

Time for literary Bingo!

When I went to the bookstore as a kid, I would look for a new series to start. Falling in love with a series is ideal, because once you find a first book that captures you, your path is set. Just fly through the rest of the books. No thought process, no indecision, no plaguing question: What on earth do I read next?

Orrrrr. You can play Literary Bingo. Check this out:

Let's Play Literary Bingo

So if you find reading lists too rigid, fashion them into a grid instead, and start to play! Let me know in the comments if you’ve scored Bingo this year [and maybe I’ll even send you a prize ;)]!

I’m also accepting recommendations for books with blue spines.


P.S. If traditional reading lists are more your jam, here are my favourite books of 2015 :)

Image from Penguin Canada

What I Learned This Week / Sit First, Work Second

Weekly lessons I learned, with pictures of my actual week in Passion Planning.

What I Learned This Week / Sit First, Work Second

Productivity-wise, it’s been a rough couple of weeks. After an amazing friend-cation in London and Oxford, I was ready to dive back into work when I returned – but I caught Monkey’s cold, and was bedridden instead. There’s always that tough balance: take care of yourself, but also don’t use “taking care of yourself” as an excuse for laziness.

What I learned this week:

I have a nice desk now. I should use it.

Monkey and I tried swapping desks at home, which means I have a permanent set-up with more space and better lighting. Sometimes getting started with work is as simple as sitting down at my desk. First tackle the sitting part. Then tackle the working part.

Always check if I’ve left something behind.

I had plenty of time to get to the train station in Liverpool. I was meandering, considering going on one more Wallpaper* adventure before catching it, when I realised that I left my umbrella at Leaf, the latest in my list of most inspiring cafés. There was still time to speedwalk to and from Bold Street, but if I had just glanced around before leaving I could have saved a lot of hassle.

Highlighting in my schedule is a treat for sticking to the plan.

I am always tweaking my highlighting system. This week I’ve treated myself to highlighting the scheduled activity if it happens on the day. This encourages me to stick to my personal goals, and to not cancel on commitments. It’s kind of sad and kind of amazing how motivated I am by highlighters.

What did you learn this week?
P.S. how Mario Kart inspires me to have better morning rituals…