Have you seen Leo Babauta’s new project, 6 Changes?
6 Changes is a brilliant no-nonsense antidote to the often failed new years resolution.
On the blog, Leo lays out in his signature uncomplicated prose his new simple philosophy towards habit change. Pick 6 habits you want to incorporate to your life in the next year, then dedicate 8 weeks to building each habit. This gives you roughly 2 months to develop each habit in a year, and by the end of the year you’ve made 6 changes in your life.
Well, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Leo’s work. His approach to life often aligns perfectly with my own.
For those who aren’t familiar with Leo’s other blog, Zen Habits, I suggest you check it out. It’s a brilliant blog on how to simplify your life and achieve your goals.
If you haven’t checked out Leo’s book on being minimalist, I highly recommend it.
I’m taking 6 Changes for a test drive after New Years.
I have some very important habits I need to adopt for next year to be successful, and I hope Leo’s philosophy for change can help achieve my goals.
Maybe you’re interested in joining me?
The six changes I’m going to make in 2010.
- Wake up at 6am in the morning daily
- Eat locally grown food
- Move to Seattle
- Pay off my student loans
- Train to be a yoga teacher
- Cultivate this blog until it’s primary source of income
Now I realize some of these might seem like big changes to expect to achieve in a year, but as Leo suggests in his blog, it’s important not to focus on the end point. I’ll focus on the small details, and just focus on one habit for two months at a time.
I did some pretty crazy things in 2009, so I expect with a little help from Leo’s 6 Changes philosophy, I can hope to achieve my 2010 goals as well.
Last year I adopted these habits:
- Reduced my possessions to 100 things
- Quit my day job
- Adopted a location independent lifestyle
- Began doing yoga most days of the week
- Started Far Beyond The Stars and began publishing articles three days a week
None of that was easy, but I realized that if I took simple steps towards achieving those goals, I could realistically expect to complete the goals in a year.
You can make these changes too, but first you have to make the decision to change your life.
My first change for 2010: becoming an early riser.
I’ve decide to build a habit of waking up early for my first big change. I’ve wanted to start waking up before the sun comes up for a long time. I’m one of those people who enjoys sitting in the comfort of bed for a long morning.
I have a lot of goals to achieve next year, not to mention the fact that I’m self-employed now.
The time has come to kick the extended bed habit and get up earlier.
I believe that I’d really enjoy the extra time in the morning to do yoga and then focus on creating incredibly useful content for Far Beyond The Stars. Having a healthy work
Build anticipation for the change.
According to Leo’s 6 Changes philosophy, I’m not allowed to start exactly on the 1st of January. Start on New Years is just too dramatic, plus I’ll probably have a hangover from celebrating with my family.
In order to set a realistic agenda for healthy habit development, I have to anticipate the change.
So I intend to start working on developing the habit of early rising on January 7th 2010.
This is the first day I’m back in New York, and the change in scenery always help me with changes in habit, so I anticipate a good start.
The trigger for the first of my 6 Changes.
Leo’s 6 Changes philosophy suggests using a trigger to help you form a healthy habit (or kick a bad one.)
For waking up early, the trigger is obviously the alarm. However, relying on an alarm could lead to failure, so I have to create a trigger.
For my trigger, I’ll be placing my iPhone (which is my alarm clock) on my yoga mat in our living room in Brooklyn. I’m going to simply get out of bed, turn off the alarm, and sit myself in child’s pose on the yoga mat.
I’ll begin to breathe, gradually wake up, and then begin practicing yoga.
I already do yoga almost every day, which I enjoy very much, so having this as my trigger just seems natural. Simple, achievable, enjoyable.
Set small achievable goals.
I eventually want to wake up at 6am every day, but right now wake up schedule is not a schedule at all. Some mornings I wake up at 6am, others I wake up at 11am. There is no system, there is no regularity.
I need to change this to a regular system, so I can start to develop a healthy creative habit in order to focus on my work and creating awesome content for this blog.
I have two months to develop this habit, so I want to start with realistic expectations for myself.
Leo suggests breaking your habit down into 8 ridiculously easy steps, and the easiest way for me to do that is to gradually work my way down to 6am by 15 minutes.
Here is my plan to gradually work up to waking up at my desired time.
- Week 1: 7:45am
- Week 2: 7:30am
- Week 3: 7:15am
- Week 4: 7:00am
- Week 5: 7:45am
- Week 6: 6:30am
- Week 7: 6:15am
- Week 8: 6:00am
Once I hit 6:00am I’ll have established a habit of waking up early, and it won’t be hard to get out of bed.
You must have accountability
One of the most important elements of Leo’s 6 Changes philosophy isaccountability. In order to develop a habit, there has to be peer pressure involved.
Often I rely on self-motivation, which is sometimes successful.
Waking up early is a habit I’ve tried to form at least 7 of times without succeeding, so I need you to help me.
I’m going to be posting my daily wake up time on a Daytum that I’ve set up. As you can see, right now my wake up time is basically schizophrenic. Once January 7th comes around, I’m going to start committing to the wake up times that I’ve described above.
If you’re interested, feel free to follow along as I progress. If I’m not doing well (which I doubt, you’ll all be watching me.) drop me a line onTwitter and tell me to get back on track.
Click here to visit my Daytum to track my wake up time.
And if you’re a dedicated reader, don’t forget to sign up to receive free updates for your chance to win a free copy of Leo Babauta’s A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life.
I definitely suggest checking out A Simple Guide to a Minimalist Life, even if you’re not interested in subscribing to this blog. You can read the first three chapters for free. Leo’s book is the definitive guide to being minimalist, and I highly recommend it. The ebook is only $9.95 and 50% of the price goes to support my work at Far Beyond The Stars.
Thank you for your time, and good luck with your changes for next year!
Are you going to make changes in your life in 2010? Let me know what they are in the comments!