I have been thinking about a couple resolutions that I really want to stick with in 2008 and have come up with a way to make it happen. Lifehacker had a great article recently about how Jerry Seinfeld used a wall calendar to prompt himself to write daily. I'll give you a link at the bottom of this post -- but stay with me for a moment. The main idea of the calendar is to put an X or a checkmark or color the box in and keep a chain of marked days for as long as you can. A more recent post revisited Jerry and featured a spreadsheet for 2008 that you can check off as you go
(again, the link will follow).
If you have the self dicsipline to carry it off alone, great; but my experience has been that if the habit I'm trying to establish becomes boring, inconveinient or too hard I can rationalize my way out of it. On the other hand, we've all probalbly read numerous times that the best way to change a habit is to get someone else involved so there will be some accountability. Here is your chance.
Even when I wasn't employed by Google I was a huge fan of their products. Now, with the disclaimer out of the way: Google Docs is the perfect place to put the Seinfeldian calendar to use because I can share the documents with whoever I want, be it a friend, my two brothers-in-law or the world.
Here's how I'm going to use it: I've created an example spreadsheet that you can see HERE. As I make it through a day where I've accomplished the goal for my resolution, I'll fill in the box for that day with a Fill Color. Feel free to copy the data and paste it into your own spreadsheet, download the one that Lifehacker recomends or you can make your own and share it in Google Docs.
So, want to make sure you read the Bible, exercise, spend 10 minutes on your finances, do something nice for someone else or accomplish some other positive activity every day? Create and share the spreadsheet. Want to mark off the days that you don't practice the habit that you're trying to quit (like watching TV more than an hour a day, etc.)? Create and share the spreadsheet. The nice thing about sharing the data is that you never know if the person you're including will be checking up on you or not. If you decide to quit and delete the sheet, they'll be able to bug you about it.
Give it a try. Do your best to keep the chain of marked days going and make sure you include someone to encourage you on the path.
Lifehacker article: Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret
Lifehacker link to spreadsheet: The 2008 Compact Calendar Now Available
My Google Docs example: Resolutions