I vowed to drink 8 glasses of water per day; it was going to be my new habit. I filled 8 paper cups with water and lined them up on the kitchen counter. I made a continuous effort to drink from the cups throughout the day until I’d emptied them all. I tried this for a couple days and on one particularly busy day I realized it was barely noon and I only had three cups left to drink.
Whew, what a busy morning. I’d been so preoccupied with life that I didn’t even remember downing all that water. I smiled, imagining that this new habit was really kicking in.
“So, Mom…how’s the water-drinking thing going?” My teenage son strolled into the kitchen and smiled.
I was touched by his interest in my progress–until I looked into his twinkling eyes and saw his smile turn to a smirk. Suddenly, I KNEW.
“You’ve been pouring out my water cups?!” He thought it was hilarious. No wonder I didn’t remember drinking them…
The experience showed me that I need visual triggers to help with developing new habits. However, I also learned to be vigilant of saboteurs. Blogger James Clear highlighted a more subtle way to track habit-forming progress. He described the method used by new stock broker, Trent Dyrsmid who implemented paper clips as a visual cue.
“Every morning I would start with 120 paper clips in one jar and I would keep dialing the phone until I had moved them all to the second jar.” —Trent Dyrsmid
Within 18 months, Dyrsmid’s book of business grew to $5 million in assets. By age 24, he was making $75,000. Within a few years, outside firms began recruiting him because of his success and he landed a $200,000 job with another company. Read the whole post: How to Stick With Good Habits Every Day by Using the “Paper Clip Strategy” | James Clear.
I love this idea. I decided to be more “visual” with my vitamins and supplements. I purchased a daily pill container normally used for prescription medicines; it has a section for each day of the week. I made sure it was semi-opaque so that I can notice if the day’s section was empty or still full of pills. TA-da! I’m finally consistent with Calcium and etc.