If You Want to Implement a New Behavior - Ritualize!

I just finished "reading" a life-changing book,  "The Way We're Working Isn't Working,"by Tony Schwartz.    I listened to the audio book version but I will purchase an actual printed book and keep it close by for future reference.

One concept that struck me as both brilliant and as common sense, is the idea that in order to be successful in a desired behavior, we should set ourselves up so that behavior becomes "ritualized." Perhaps the easiest way to ritualize a behavior, is to be specific in our intentions.

An example from my own life of which I was able to identify as a ritualized behavior, is working-out after I get off work.  I go to a local park every day after work and walk the stairs and hike the trails.  I go every day, Monday through Thursday and every other Friday.  I don't even think about this. It's not debatable. It's just something I do without any second thought.  The only time I don't go, is if something occurs at work which prevents me from going.  It has become as much a part of my day as going to work.  I think this happened by accident, several months or even a few years ago when I would invite co-workers to join me. I'd basically tell them that I go to the park to do the stairs every day, except every-other-friday and they would "know where to find me."  I must have explained my schedule to at least one co-worker a day and Inadvertently, I was being so specific with this work-out schedule, that I eventually programmed myself to hit the stairs right after work…and it wasn't open for debate.  Success!

Working out after work, every Monday through Thursday, and every other Friday, is very specific versus just saying "I'd like to work out" and then having the expectation this will then just magically happen.  I would be the first to admit, it wouldn't.  I know that I would talk myself out of working out and into something else, were it not for the fact that my after-work work-outs are now habit and ritualized.

Now, here's the challenge...how do I apply specificity of implementation intentions to my new endeavor - the missellanea.com blog?  How do i ritualize the behavior of sitting down to write a blog post?

Right about the same time that I was struggling with this question and trying to figure out how to ritualize a blogging schedule, my friend Nubby Twiglet wrote about the importance of an editorial calendar.  Wow!  This was exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it!  An "editorial calendar" is precisely how to implement specificity and ritualize a behavior. In this case, it would be ritualizing the behavior of writing blog posts.

So, here I am…about to be specific with my implementation intentions.  This is not to say that things can't change, but for right now - I need to make this declaration in order to hold myself accountable and because I want to be successful with this thing.  I promise you, as I learn more about blogging (and for that matter, more about how to actually use WordPress, my camera and my computer), the more I can post.

Moving forward, I will post a minimum of three times per week and the posting schedule will be as follows.

Tuesday -

Things about which I'm excited; typically small businesses, people, products, events, etc.


Saturday -

The things I think about during my long training walks/runs/hikes. (talk about miscellanea; this will be everything from birds to bras, stories, training, life, death, and everything else that pops into my head when I'm on the trails. Some days, I'll share the thoughts in my head, some days, I'll share the feelings in my heart, and some days, I'll just share the silliness that I find myself in.)


Sunday -

Personal life experiences and a glimpse into my life. (again, forcing myself to learn my camera and expand my photography skills.)


As I write this, I realize that I could even be more specific. I know the book would tell me that I need to actually declare the time of day that I'll sit down to write/blog.  For now, this is a very good start.  The important thing is that I've now put it out there and I've given myself guidelines to follow. I have to admit, I already feel better about this.  The other upside is that you now know when to expect new posts from me!

What behavior do you intend to ritualize?