This is powerful knowledge to have when trying to change a habit--simply keeping the cue and reward the same, but swapping out the behaviour (or routine) in the middle is a sure-fire way to change a habit. You have to be careful, though! In two days, I will celebrate my fifth anniversary as a born-again non-smoker. One of the "rewards" of smoking, for me, was the feeling of having something in my mouth. I substituted putting food into my mouth for drawing smoke into it. a-hem. Not a good substitution! Now, I try to use water.
The best rewards, of course, are attached to the habit itself: but it doesn't have to be, especially when you are trying to develop a new habit.
what will greet me in the morning
Yesterday, we talked about creating a cue for dealing with my paperwork. But what is my reward?
In time, perhaps, it will be a nicely cleaned out paper tray, but for now, while I am developing the habit, five or ten minutes on pinterest would be a lovely reward.
I am trying to develop another habit.
When I decided to implement Aby's advice to "finish the day" I realised I had to establish a new habit of tidying and picking up at the "end" of my day.
It is going to take me some time to turn the evening routine into a habit. It has taken me months to get into the groove of doing my dinner dishes--I still don't have a proper trigger for them. (Right after we finish supper is not a great time for me. I like to stay off my feet and relax!) I just wander into the kitchen at some point in the evening and, if no one is in the shower right then, I do them.
Here's what I want to do:
- wash dishes
- re-set the kitchen (wipe counters, wipe stove, clear off the kitchen table.)
- put away what I took out today and what came in today (including the groceries. All of them. ack.)
- set up the coffee pot for the morning
- re-set the desk
- tidy up any on-going projects (Be done back entry way project, be done and be gone!)
In truth, the reward comes the next morning when I greet a tidy house with fresh coffee.
I will let you know how it goes.
ETA: You can catch all the posts in the series here.