Resetting my Blog Habit Implementation Intention

Atomic Habits book cover

On 23 April I set an intention to create a new blog writing habit, which I wrote following following the ‘implementation intention’ format from James Clear. I wrote this goal up as:

I will spend 20 minutes writing a personal blog post when I first sit at a table with a coffee every morning.

I did well for one week, then it got patchy, after which it went downhill to sporadic. How did this habit fall apart so quickly?

I don’t think that I lack motivation. Blogging has been an important part of my personal working out loud practice over the past nine years. It has been vital to my development and career pathway, helping me to learn, connect and contribute. I feel it will help me to reclaim my own space in a new phase of my life with my daughter now an adult and space opening up between my personal identity and that of my business. In short, I really want to do this.

Reading Clear’s post about implementation intentions made me wonder if by trying to creating flexibility in time and space I didn’t make the habit obvious enough. He advises:

‘Give your habits a time and a space to live in the world. The goal is to make the time and location so obvious that, with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time, even if you can’t say why.’

All of the examples he gives using the formula ‘I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]’ are very specific:

  • I will meditate for one minute at 7 a.m. in my kitchen.
  • I will study Spanish for twenty minutes at 6 p.m. in my bedroom.
  • I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. in my local gym.
  • I will make my partner a cup of tea at 8 a.m. in the kitchen.

I’m rewriting my habit to be more specific. I’m also going to pick a location other than my home office where I do most of my work. Sitting down in my office in front of my desktop computer is a compelling trigger to start work.

My new habit is:

I will spend 20 minutes writing a personal blog post at 7.30am at my dining table.

Clear recommends planning for failure; having an ‘if-then’ strategy to overcome unexpected events.

If I don’t spend 20 minutes writing a personal blog post before the end of the work day then I will do it immediately after I finish eating dinner.

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