Are you sure you are ready and have enough time right now for this step? If not, just click the button below to go back to the safety and comfort of the last step. If you are sure that you want to move on because you feel 100% confident that you have learned and mastered the last step, then welcome and read on!
It’s time to be your own investigative scientist! This step helps you become more aware of your own habits, what triggers them and why you keep doing them. Becoming acutely aware of your habits, patterns and routines is a vital step because once they become visible, they are within your control. Once you analyze and understand them, you can recode those pathways.
When I was earning my degree in exercise science at Seattle Pacific University. I had to take certain courses before others. For instance, Anatomy and Physiology had to be completed before Biomechanic and Kinesiology because I had to learn the names, origins and function of muscles, bones, and connective tissues before I could learn how they moved and operated. If I had tried to jump ahead to an advanced class and skip the prerequisite, I would have been lost and confused and wouldn’t have learned much of anything. The same applies here and this course is designed with the necessary steps in the right order to reduce confusion and speed learning.
Use the grid below (or make your own with Excel) to track your current habits. Just drag the image from this page onto your desktop and print it direct, or paste it into a new Word document to format or resize it.
Use this grid to record the following in the columns provided:
- The date the habit happened.
- The time of day the habit happened.
- What happened right before the habit started (preceding action). This could be what you were doing, an event, sound, smell, or what someone else was doing/saying to name just a few examples.
- Your mood right before the habit started, using at least two descriptive words.
- Your location (at your desk, on the couch, in the kitchen, walking a particular route, etc.).
- Any people with you (or just write “alone” if no one was with you).
- The routine (the habit itself, described as an action).
- What reward do you get from doing that routine/habit (the benefit or feeling you get from it)?
- Your mood after the routine/habit is performed (which may or may not be part of, or connected to the reward).
Pick at least two healthy habits and two unhealthy habits to track here for at least 4 days, preferably including at least one weekend day because those patterns and routines can be quite different from weekdays.
Up to four of each routine is fine too, but too many can create “paralysis by analysis.” You don’t need to analyze all your habits either because you will be able to hack into the other ones later, so stick with 2-4 for now.