Sunday , March 31 2024

Kickstart The New Year By Developing Good Habits Using Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker

How many times have you tried adopting a new habit but eventually quit in the end? Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker is the answer you’ve been looking for to make the habits you’re working on stick like a magnet.

Changing one’s behavior is the first step to improve one’s self. So we tend to be overly ambitious when it comes to new habits we want to adopt. Little did we know, we are setting ourselves for failure by going big. BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University and author of the ground-breaking book, Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything, believes that tiny actions tend to become habits better because they’re easy to do. The main of argument Fogg’s book is that when you’re trying to adopt new habits make them “as simple and tiny as possible”.

Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker makes it easier for you to develop good habits as it is based on scientific research on habit-building. Inspired by Fogg’s Tiny Habits model, the habit tracker of IN encourages its users to start “small” or start with the “Easy Version” of the habit first when trying to adopt a new behavior. The following is a step-by-step procedure on how to use the Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker:

Ikigai Notes Habit Tracker

Step 1: List new habits

Ikigai Notes provide a space where you can list the habits you want to adopt every month(the tracker is on Page 14~21 of IN). In the section “Habits to build up this month” you can list up to ten habits that you want to work on. Since it’s often better to start small we suggest users to work on one to three habits first–preferably one for each of your Life Tasks. For example: write on my journal daily (Self); smile and greet people I meet (Relations); check my to-do list first thing at the office (Work).

Since IN is undated so you’ll need to write the days of the week (M, T, W, T, F, S, S) below the dates. In the example above I wrote the days of the week in Kanji, but I know you figured that out already.

Step 2: Think of the habit’s “Easy Version”

As already discussed in the introduction, the main reason why some habits do not stick is that they are too difficult to do. So to address the problem we must first simplify the task so it will be easier to do everyday. Our brain tends to comply when it thinks the task at hand is easy.

Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker helps you set the habit in smaller form–we call it “Easy Version” in the planner. Below the habits list, there is a section where you can list the “Easy Version” of the habit you’re working on.

For example, the easy version of writing in your journal could be writing a single sentence each day. If you’re trying to cultivate a reading habit, you could start by just reading a single paragraph each day. When trying to come up with the “Easy Version” of a habit, you should think of the version of the behavior you can do with the least effort.

If confronted by resistance be still There is one pitfall with this strategy though and you should be aware of it in advance. Since the behavior you’re working on is easy, you might think the habit you’re working is too small to make an impact in your life. If you entertain this thought, you’ll lose motivation and you’ll start skipping your tasks.

Don’t do it. Be smart enough to know that this is a self-sabotaging behavior –it’s a resistance that your mind just made up–and you must get rid of it as soon as you find yourself thinking of it.

Instead, tell yourself that this is just the start phase. When you’re convinced that you’ve already locked in the behavior, you can then slowly scale it up. Moreover, even though you’re just required to do the “Easy Version” there is no one stopping you to continue if you feel like it. So if the requirement is to just open a book and read a paragraph each day, no one is stopping you to read the whole page or even the whole section in one sitting. Don’t overdo it though, you don’t want to strain yourself while you’re still in the building phase.

Step 3: Come up with a “prompt” for every habit

For a habit to stick, it must be repeated regularly. A habit “prompt” is a signal that tells you that “you should do the habit right now”–kind of like an alarm clock. But unlike an alarm clock, your prompt may start or end at various times each day. When thinking of “prompts,” users should think along the following pattern “after I do (routine or prompt), I will do (easy habit)”.

Prompts should be one of your daily routines. For example, after eating breakfast, you write in your journal for a few minutes everyday. The routine is eating breakfast. Using an existing routine as a form of reminder is more flexible than setting a “to-do alarm” at a specific time each day, which is more rigid. It’s advisable to be flexible when you’re still at the start phase. What’s important is you do the easy habit whatever it takes.

In the section below the Month Overview page, please write your prompts for each habit you’re working on. The example prompt provided is “While drinking my morning (favorite drink).” If it’s a routine you do everyday, then it’s a good candidate for a habit prompt.

Step 4: Reward yourself

To increase your motivation for doing the habit you’ll need some form of incentive after you complete the task. A reward can be a form of affirmation to oneself or it can be something material. For example, it could be as simple as telling yourself “great job man!” Or you can treat yourself to a piece of chocolate after you finished the habit.

A reward is like a pat on the back to yourself. It gives your brain a boost after the behavior, and if you keep doing it for a period of time your brain will be the one to tell you, “hey, do that behavior again. I want to have theme chocolate.”

Step 5: Track your habit

The main point of having a habit tracker is to manage our journey to behavior change and to provide us with feedback about our performance. We can do this by diligently marking our habit performance each day. Users can either mark the habit as executed, partially executed, or not executed in the Habit Tracker. Mark the executed habit as “X” and the partially executed habit as “/”. For an unexecuted habit, just leave the box blank (see example above).

Tracking your habit has another psychological effect especially when you’re on a streak and you can see a chain of X’s in your tracker. You’ll be proud of what you’re doing and you’ll do everything to not break that chain. When done correctly, the tracker can itself be a mental boost as explained in Step 4.

Step 6: Evaluate your month

The last step in developing a good habit is to evaluate yourself. Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker gives you a month’s overview or your performance. This makes it easier for users to view the days they have successfully executed the habit and days when they did not. It is important to reflect on your performance and think of ways on how you can improve next time around.

You’re not expected to do everything perfectly on your first try–please remember that. You just need to do your best. If you forget once, twice, or maybe more times, don’t punish yourself over it. Instead, think of why you forget the habits. Honestly reflect on your mistakes and make the required correction and try again. In time you’ll be be setting habits like a pro!

Dealing with Bad Habits

While the Ikigai Notes’ Habit Tracker is designed for the development of good habits, it can also be used to eliminate bad habits. Are you trying to quit bad habits like smoking or gossiping? Ikigai Notes can help you eradicate those bad habits, too. First, analyse the prompts and rewards you get from these bad habits. For example, if you tend to smoke when you’re in certain place or situation then try to avoid those situation.

To break a bad habit you just need to do the opposite thing when you’re creating good habits. First, you must make the bad habit difficult to do. Second, you must remove or avoid the prompts and triggers. And third, you should make the habit unpleasant and unrewarding experience. Therefore, if you want to quit smoking then avoid going to places or being in a situation where your craving-to-smoke trigger takes place. You should also remove the reward and replace it with a punishment like paying a fine or doing a chore whenever you lapse.

Ikigai Notes is a unique planner that helps you deal with your Life Tasks and discover your “Ikigai” or your purpose in life. In order to deal with your Life Tasks efficiently, you must start improving yourself by adopting good habits. After all, all improvements starts with the Self. And we is defined mostly by the things we do regularly, that is to say, by our habits.

As a parting word let me give you a quote by Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman In The World:

“In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is—I will form good habits and become their slave.”
― Og Mandino, 

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