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zen habits: Zen Habits March Challenge, Step 2: Report Your Progress

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Zen Habits March Challenge, Step 2: Report Your Progress

Five days ago, I challenged my readers to join me in setting and achieving a single goal in the Zen Habits March Challenge, and Step 1 of this Challenge was to create a plan.

Step 2 is to report your progress, if not daily then at least weekly. It's best if you record your progress in a log, journal or online goals tracker, as this serves both to keep a record of what you've done and to motivate you.

So, in the comments, feel free to report what you've done with your goal or habit so far, and feel free to post daily or at least weekly. Share your successes and failures with the world!

I'll get the ball rolling: my goal is to exercise five days a week (swim, bike and run training). I live on Guam, so Saturday has just passed for me, and I still have a bike ride to do tomorrow (Sunday), but here's what I've done so far:

  • Tuesday: ran 3 miles
  • Wednesday: swam 1,150 yards
  • Thursday: ran 3 miles
  • Saturday: ran 3 miles
When I complete my bike ride tomorrow morning, I'll get a weekend treat!

Now post your progress in the comments!


j. said...

Doug's & my goal is to each complete a short story by the end of the month. Every weekday morning this week, we woke up earlier than usual to get 20-30 minutes of writing time in. So far we're each about a third to halfway finished with our stories. We'll carve out a little time this weekend to work on them, then aim to follow the same writing schedule next week. We've both felt a bit sleepy with the earlier wake-up, but since we're both doing it, it's easier. As for rewarding ourselves, we decided to wait until the end and reward ourselves with one big treat (we're still trying to decide upon nature of said treat). That's where we're at! -Jen

Jenn said...

My goal was to get a half hour to an hour of exercise, four times a week. I got started a little late for this week, but thus far:

Wed: walked 45 minutes to campus and did a half hour of abs and yoga in the evening
Thurs: walked 45 minutes to campus and did a half hour of abs and stretching in the evening
Fri: walked a half hour to get groceries, hauling a bundle buggy through the snow (good workout, actually)

Today, I plan to jump rope for 15 minutes, and then do some free weights in my apartment, since everything is iced over and running seems to be somewhat hazardous this morning. But I won't count that in the total yet.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Leo, I was afraid you were going to ask this :-)

I haven't met my goal of a particular wake-up time each day.

Part of me is wondering if, maybe the goal isn't important enough for me, hence lack of motivation to achieve it.

Leo said...

@Jen: Wow, it sounds like you and Doug are doing awesome. Celebrate your success so far and keep your focus on your goal. Keep reporting your progress here throughout the month!

@Jenn: Excellent start. You've made it through the first three days, which are some of the hardest when creating a habit. Now keep that focus, and keep motivating yourself.

@Kamal: Don't be embarrassed or feel bad -- we all have bumps in the road. My philosophy is to learn from my mistakes (what obstacles prevented me from succeeding, and how will I overcome it next time?) and focus on my successes. Just remember to stay positive. Reporting problems here is a good thing -- and I love how you've tried to think about what went wrong.

As for your question about motivation, you are exactly right. If you want to keep your old habit more than you want to start your new habit, you won't be successful. You need to have strong reasons to change -- think about your reasons, and if you don't have a good reason, give yourself one (or consider changing your goal).

Think about this, Kamal -- changing habits is a skill, one that must be practiced like any other skill. If you're not used to changing your habits, start with a small one. I suggest you start with a wake-up time of just 15 minutes earlier than your normal time. Do this for a couple weeks, and then make it 15 minutes earlier. But focus on doing it every day, so the habit will be more ingrained. If you can do it for the first three days, it begins to get easier. After a month, it starts to become automatic.

Go over the Top 20 Motivation Hacks again and see if there are any others you can use. Then, re-focus yourself, make a new plan, and set a goal of 30 straight days, starting tomorrow (from March 11-April 10). You can do this!

Anonymous said...

I really need to start keeping a journal to write down and remind myself of my accomplishments during the week but from memory (my goal is to decorate and move into my new apartment by the end of March);

Tuesday: can't remember =(

Wednesday: received quote and ordered for window screen and blinds

Thursday: can't remember =(

Friday: had telephone line connected and bought home phone and surge protectors

Saturday: received fridge and microwave delivery and put together Ikea bookshelves and desk


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the words Leo. I joined the On-line forum you suggested. Since my smoking was limited (I worked down to one ciggie a day over the course of a year) & I smoked at night, I will take more advantage of the forum then when my cravings arise. In addition to going to gym after I put my little one to bed. Good thing about being a closet night time smoker, is I already worked through my daytime cravings ages ago.

Anonymous said...

My goal was 4 days a week of either hitting the gym (which I usually enjoy once I get myself there) or some pilates and free weights in my apartment.

Tue: cardio, pilates, arms
Wed: cardio, pilates--upgraded to some of the beginner exercises, legs
Thu: not the best exercise day, but i still did it. woke up late so i did pilates at home and then some arm stuff.
Fri: good cardio, pilates, and legs at the gym.

*pretty good! :)

Leo said...

@stayfly: Looks like you're doing great! Use joesgoals.com, or a paper journal ... or just post your progress here! Whatever tool you use will help. Keep up the great work -- little steps are getting you to your goal.

@Mollie: Well, it looks like you're ahead of the program. Great job!

@Ann M.: Awesome job! I love how you worked out at home even when you woke up late. You're well on your way to developing a great daily habit.

holli jo said...

Okay, I'm reporting back for the week. I am supposed to exercise five times a week for at least 15 minutes.

Tuesday -- 20 minutes of walking
Friday -- 15 minutes of dancing
Saturday 30 minutes of walking

I didn't hit five days this week, but I usually only exercise once in the week, so it's a great improvement. I'm going to make this next week even better.

I haven't set up a plan like Leo said, so maybe that's what is holding me back...

Leo said...

Good job, Holli Jo! Good to hear you're making progress. You might consider revising your goal. If you were at 1x a week, it's probably best to increase it to 3x a week for the first couple of weeks, then 4x, etc. Start small and increase gradually -- that's my motto. That way you don't kill yourself at first, and it's much easier to achieve. But if you think you can do 5, don't let me discourage you! Keep up the excellent progress.

Leo said...

Btw, I did my morning bike ride, bringing me up to 5x of triathlon training this week, and meeting my goal. It felt great! I almost didn't go, because I had to change my flat tire first and it was getting late, but I decided just to go for at least a short ride, and I took it easy, and it felt very good.