Home » 90 Days to a New Habit (that Sticks!)


Formerly known as Cracking the Habit Code, this is Dr. Carter’s companion class to The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work.

Need help sticking to a new routine or setting goals that work? Enroll in my FREE 12-week coaching program.

A completely revised version of my most popular online class, 90 Days to a New Habit is now a FREE 12-week coaching program. You’ll also get a free workbook and access to a live Q&A to give you even more guidance and structure.

Why have I designed a ninety-day program for you? Because breaking habit creation into small, digestible chunks makes it less daunting—and that increases our odds of success. I feel pretty confident that if you pick the right habit (and I’ll guide you in picking the right habit) you’ll have it well established by the end of this program.

  • Move an activity from your “REALLY should be doing” list to a behavior you do so automatically you don’t have to think about it!
  • Learn to avoid common booby-traps hardwired into the human brain that make it difficult to keep your new habit.
  • This is a 12-week email and text based coaching program. It’s practical, do-able, and science-based.

Want to make REAL change? Do you make the same resolutions year in, year out — but they never seem to stick?

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Class Testimonials

“Nothing is more important than fitting healthy habits into our busy schedules. Often, our life depends on it! We know the reasons why we should exercise — or meditate, or eat more veggies, or get more sleep, or quit smoking, or reduce our debt — but most people really don’t know HOW to do those things. Dr. Christine Carter has devised an ingenious plan to help us keep our resolutions. I recommend it to all my clients — it really does work!”  –Aaron Holby, Coach, Personal Trainer & Founder, Aaron Holby Health & Wellness.

“What a fantastic class this is! WOW! I am finding this class SO helpful. I knew that some things worked better than other things…I just didn’t have all this neuroscience to explain it.”  — Lani Gerity, blogger and artist, Nova Scotia

“Thank you for the gracious gift of your time, enormous effort, background research, social commitment and caring. Everything about the course – the format, organization, references, personal touches, discussions and feedback worked for me and I am grateful.”— Viji, R&D Scientist and Engineer, wife and mother of one, Texas

“You have helped me teach my family the importance of a routine through tiny steps and one thing at a time. In December, I had designated chores that I knew would be challenging and possibly stressful to us. When I began this class, I lessened the chores and asked us all to focus on one specific thing. My specific thing is calm. With this focus, it has made our lives healthier and loving.

Thank you for all you do. I am grateful for you, Christine. You ROCK!” – Madia, mother of two, California

“Thank you for the course Christine. I love your enthusiasm, your belief in your ‘students’ and your compassion. I love the blend of science and life experience. I love the references to other books etc. I have ordered some. I loved reading the comments and contributions from the community of participants, the honesty and insightfulness.” – Eithne, mother of one, Ireland

“Thank you Christine! I truly enjoyed this class and it really helped me. I have struggled with my desired resolution for a very long time. Thanks to your breaking things down into tiny habits, I was able to achieve my goal within the 21 days. I was able to wrap my mind around the concepts you provided easily and it helped to change my habitual patterns a tiny step at a time.” – Mary, married for over 30 years, California

More Testimonials

 

  • I’m so excited for this class! Resolutions are one of my favorite things…

  • Audrey

    Great video, Christine! I’m glad I have a few days to think about the right resolution — I have a long list that I will now pare down. 🙂

  • Jean

    Thanks for offering this class! I usually try to avoid the pressure of new year’s resolutions, but I really loved the way you framed them and am thrilled to have extra support and knowledge behind me.
    I’ve watched the intro and day one videos, done the worksheet, and resolve to: eat mindfully while incorporating more whole foods into my diet.

  • munichic

    I am so excited, also, for this class. I love the recommendation to find out more about the behaviors you want. I want to lose weight but really I want to eat well and mindfully because I feel so much better when I do. I feel better physically and mentally. So I want to check out the book you mentioned about mindful eating. Any other comments or suggestions about this subject are welcome by me! Thank you, Christine, this is such a life altering subject.

  • CaliforniaLiz

    Thank you for this introduction! After watching the first lesson, I’ve decided that my original resolution wasn’t ambitious enough (reading the newspaper daily), so I’m instead resolving to spend an hour a day working on a book that I’ve been wanting to write. I’m also secretly hoping to get a few mini-resolutions squeezed in (including reading the newspaper, swapping fruit for sweets in the afternoon, and flossing daily) – though the book will be my focus. Looking forward to the work!

    • California Liz: I’d encourage you to be LESS ambitious! I love the resolution of reading the newspaper daily — as you’ll see in following classes, there is a real advantage to starting small and building. Learn how to start a new habit on something easy and enjoyable, like reading the paper for 10-15 min per day. Then tackle work on a book. (That is my advice, anyway.)

      • CaliforniaLiz

        Hi Christine, thanks for the feedback! I think there are a couple of reasons why working on the book is a better goal for me. First, I’ve written a number of books in the past, so it’s not such a leap, and second, I’ve pretty much committed to getting the book done in the next 6 months anyway. The shift is really more about working on it regularly, instead of waiting until the last minute as I usually do.

  • Emerald

    Thank you for offering this class. I just watched both videos and did the worksheet. My resolution was fairly easy to choose: being a caring partner by offering a joke or a smile and a compliment or thanks each time we talk. This will give a stronger foundation to our parenting, especially when we disagree, and provide our whole family with greater stability and closeness . . . and happiness. I could feel my jaw muscles loosening up after I chose this resolution.

  • Crispin

    Thanks for this class! I’m resolving to exercise every day for the next 21 days. I want to do this because exercise makes me a happier more generous person and a more patient parent.

  • Can’t say I am excited but I am hopeful that I will pick up some useful tips. Covey’s book was a big influence on me when I was starting my career in the 1980s and I have already read Layard, Oswald, and some of the history of happiness (particularly with an economic focus). The New Psychology of Success with its focus on the growth mindset was an amazing book I read a few years ago. I know a lot of the theory but consistently applying it to my own life and feeling happier is a different story. Of course, I am at the bottom of the U-curve in the general life trend in happiness

  • Greg T

    Looking forward to a life changing experience.

  • Raya Wasser

    Thanks, Christine. Really appreciate your friendly tone, which makes this less scary! I’ve chosen a resolution that’s been on the top of my list …. for decades! I like the idea of making it into a habit – so planning to start with 21 days of doing Tai Chi warm-up exercises in the morning, before launching my work day. Best wishes for success to all!

  • Jude

    I am eating delicious, satisfying food without sugar. This is actually day 3 for me. The longest I’ve been able to do this before was 1 1/2 months. When my willpower finally gave out, all was lost. I am very much looking forward to making this resolution a habit!
    As I feel more satisfied with my calm, yet energetic state, I’m sure improvements will be made in my relationships with my teenage boys & husband of 26 years.

    • Okay, to make this a habit (and not rely on willpower) you’ll need to work with an existing habit (nothing strange; maybe it’s just your habit of having cereal for breakfast or something). Start with one occasion that you habitually eat sugar, and after you feel like you don’t need much willpower to eat something satisfying without sugar, move on to the next occasion, and so on. Does that make sense?

  • Clare

    I am excited about this class, but also a little nervous about being able to sustain the commitment – I have a history of allowing the “perfect to be the enemy of good” so that I try to do too much at once, and then become overwhelmed by guilt when I am not successful. I had lots of potential resolutions on my list, but decided that they all stem from wanting to be more mindful, and listen to my inner voice more. That means that I am committing to 30 minutes a day to be quiet and listen, rather than doing. That may be in the form of formal meditation, or yoga, or a quiet walk. Good luck everyone!

    • This sounds great. Be sure to work up to 30 minutes — that is a lot to start with.

      • Clare

        Thanks, Dr. Carter… now that I am learning about tiny habits, and building up to a baseline habit, that makes a lot of sense. It also explains why, in the past, I have been one of those people that overachieves on my resolutions for the first few days or weeks, then can’t sustain it, which leads me into a negative spiral of self-loathing. When I did a mini-meditation this morning (day 2 of the tiny habit of just taking the time to sit and breathe!), I tried to channel self-love and acceptance, instead of listening to my inner critic which was beating me up for not doing more.

  • Leonard

    Hi
    Christine, Hi Everybody! Thank you
    Christine for creating this class, and offering it for free to entice newbees
    like me. After just one day I’m very
    excited and optimistic about making positive changes in my life – starting
    right now. I haven’t settled yet on that
    one resolution, but my top candidate at this moment is to be in touch with my
    many friends, people I’ve been close to in years past and am close to now, but
    rarely ever communicate with, let alone spend time enjoying being
    together. In practical terms, this could
    mean sending one email, or making one phone call, each day, to someone I care
    about but don’t have any urgent business with.
    I can imagine it, and even do it on rare occasions, but one each day
    will be different. I’m so glad to have
    your help with this project!

    I too am a recovering
    perfectionist, and struggle continuously with old feelings of disappointment
    when I compare what I’m able to accomplish with what I can envision when I’m
    making expansive plans. One insight I’ve
    come up with that has been helpful is to separate the two worlds, the everyday
    reality from the ideal that I imagine when my creative juices are really
    flowing. It’s great to have so many
    ideas and be able to fill out the perfect imaginary future with so many hopeful
    details. Now I try to just appreciate
    those ideas as an end in themselves, and be at peace with the fact that I can’t
    actually implement them all. Then I turn
    my attention to re-deciding to prioritize the important things I can do today,
    like my latest resolution! Thanks again,
    can’t wait for tomorrow!

  • Sonia

    Thank you Christine so much for this class. I am really looking forward to it. I have a history of starting classes like this, where it is very important not to miss a day and I never make it past a week or two. Some major event, commitment or scheduling issue comes up, or I just “forget” one day – and it all crumbles. Sticking to an effort for 21 days would be a great place to start with resolutions in general. On January 16 my Mom is coming to visit from Russia after not being here for 2 years. I really hope I will be able to continue with the class then but that can be a challenge, as I would want to give all my free time to my mom (on top of all the other things I need to do as a mom of 2 little kids). Also every Saturday I could only work on this class in the evening time. Hope that will be ok. Anyway will try very small bites – and hopefully it will work!

    • I think just doing this class everyday is a great resolution. Not all of the classes are so long: some are only 5 minutes. YOU CAN DO IT!!

      • Sonia

        Thank you so much 🙂 That sounds great! I am just now listening to the class one and trying to fill out the worksheet. How would I phrase this resolution to stick with the class every day in a broader more global way? I am coming up with something like: “Stick to a commitment (even when no immediate consequence is there, like getting a bad grade), finish tasks, don’t jump from task to task, focus, don’t try to do too much, plan ahead, don’t procrastinate and dawdle, act with alacrity, prioritize…” Am I in the right direction? What should I make as the resolution to focus on these 21 days ( in terms of phrasing)? Thank you so much again!!!

  • thank you so much for the class and creating the community.
    my resolution is to meditate daily for 20 minutes. the benefits are numeruous but mainly daily sitting allows me to be in touch with my own serenity and solidness and just writing this down brings the half smile to my face

  • Kerry

    Thrilled to be joining you in this class! So looking forward to making lasting change! Happy New Year!!

  • yb

    The “list of all things i’d like to resolve to do differently” was really funny — so many which actually silently begin with “should, havta, oughta, really need ta, better do or else, really wish i would one day manage to,” etc, etc….

    I’d just posted a professional headshot from last spring to my facebook page and got all kinds of great positive feedback (including my brother’s “oo-lala!”) that let me know that even at 53, I can be beautiful. But for the last 6-7 months, I’ve been slogging around in jeans, floppy sweaters and a pony tail, working in the startup way too many hours at the computer, getting cranky and creased, surviving on chai and cookies from starbucks … and I’m ready for a change.

    So as the video went on and I was doing the worksheet, what became clear is that my resolution is in the area of beauty. And it came down to taking time for my daily facial … as a way of nurturing my own self and putting my best face forward. This practice may have a morning and evening element and will likely be related to other tiny habits I’d like to add (flossing), 10pm bedtime, morning quiet time for just me, spa baths. It has links to other areas that need attention: clearing the closets, updating the wardrobe, adding exercise and improving my eating to drop some chubbiness, etc. etc.

    I think I like it. And I bet it will make a difference for my honey as well as my interactions with my team and clients.

    This could get interesting.

    • This is a great example for a resolution — for all of you who are trying to settle on yours. It is small, doable — and has the potential to be a “keystone” habit, or a small positive change that cascades into other positive changes.

  • grace gilliam

    i decided to begin day one on New Year’s Eve… i don’t feel exactly excited, but i do feel empowered. i am certainly a person who can overload with “shoulds” and i get so frozen into a sense of incompetency with all the “good ideas” i have encountered, ones that just become more opportunities for failure, and i become defeated before i even begin,

    my hugest longing lately is to feel at home in my body — accepting of the facts of getting older, being present to my history of trauma and depression, witnessing my grief about not being fully “in my body” when it was younger/thinner/energetic/etc., finding my way into being joyously alive exactly as i am now. so, i stepped away from all those big goals of losing many pounds and exercising extensively… and selected “Stretch a Little Every Hour.” i know it is harder to hold onto all of my negative self-thoughts when i expand my muscles… i can both visualize and viscerally imagine how much more i enjoy being in my body when it has energy flowing through it… and it is so nice to imagine this as a series of pre-defined little routines i could just stand up and follow throughout the day,.. so, not feeling quite enthusiastic but feeling very empowered by defining benefits that really matter to me rather than a pile of “oughts.”

    • Buffy

      this sounds very inspiring and encouraging to me

    • Grace, this is so like the background of my breezy post tonight, that I am brimming with fellow-feeling. Your words are so encouraging because they re:activate the factors that brought me success before, beginning back when I turned 64 — am now nearly 68 . Hugs to you for this post of yours.

    • Wendy

      I echo the comments of Kit and Buffy. Your writing is beautiful and so honest. Good luck with your habits.

    • LauraG

      Your writing is beautiful, and so much of it describes my own experience. I love that this method forces me to choose just one “good idea” to work on, thus relieving me of the nagging guilt about all the others. I also feel that sense of empowerment, and because I’m confident I’ll master this one habit, I can relax about the others. I know I have (or will have) the tools to master them too, each in its own time.

      • LauraG

        Yes, replying to myself. I meant to add, if you haven’t already, you might consider tying your new habit to something concrete, like ‘after I use the bathroom’, ‘after I pass by the front door’, instead of every hour, which will require the additional habit of checking the clock constantly, or setting a timer.

  • Elizabeth S

    I am very excited about this class. Thank you for offering it for free!

  • Cyd

    I resolved to start a walk/run habit. I’ve been a walker in the past, but not a runner/jogger. I want to step up the pace. I am 60 and I want to develop habits that will help me stay healthy and active as I age. When I exercise consistently, I feel so much better.

  • Meditation or abdominal exercises 5 days a week- I’m having a hard time deciding which small step I need to begin with for my New Year’s resolution..I’m participating in a 21 day online class to help me fulfull my New Year’s resolutions. I resist doing abdominal exercises with all of my heart even though I engage in lots of other exercise. Guess I’ll choose the abdominal exercises!

    • I’d DEFINITELY START with something that you don’t already resist, like meditation. Once you have internalized the process of getting into a new habit, add something harder for you, like the ab exercises. If you do stick with abs, really pay attention to Day 3…

  • Carrie

    I have resolved to eat mindfully and exercise 3-4 times per week. To lose 8 lbs., I know I need the combination. So many side benefits to this goal…. The main one: a happier me! My back issues disappear, my wardrobe increases (since I’m not strategically dressing to hide parts of my body), I’m more patient with my family, and healthy to boot so I can keep up with my growing children. Thank you for offering this class!

  • i changed my mind. My 21-day habit will be self- love meditation and developing self-love phrases.. There are a few challenging people in my life, and I can’t let their negative behavior towards me upset me or cause me to feel bad about myself. I want to connect with my intrinsic self-worth. This will also help me to be a more loving wife and parent.

  • Alison

    I have moved to a new town and I want to learn to drive- to give myself freedom and to support my children. So my resolution is to find free and interesting ways to get myself out of the house. At the moment I use going to a coffee shop or a thrift store to do that, but I now want to divert the money I spend on that towards my driving lessons.

  • Nancy

    You are giving us tools that will enable us to better manage our lives — thank you! My resolution is to maintain a daily record of my food intake (via weight Watchers program).

  • Debi

    I am looking forward to increasing my mental and physical health by letting go of cigarettes. I really like the worksheet and the ideas you offer about setting the goal. I especially liked visioning myself as successful in my goal, and “feeling” so great in that role of nonsmoker. I think I am going to do the vision board as you suggest. I am excited!

  • remiv

    I am still having a hard time narrowing down my resolution to just one thing! I want to eat less, exercise more and be a more patient parent! Should I really just pick one?

    • I REALLY do recommend that you pick just one! If you want to do all those things, the best way to be successful is to tackle one at a time. I promise: that is an error I frequently make myself.

  • Joyful

    I am so grateful for this class. I have enjoyed getting my tiny habits in my life (from BJ Fogg), and resolve to exercise every day for at least 15 minutes (hopefully longer, but I want to start small!). Happy New Year!

  • Denise Flora

    Thank you! I have resolved to increase movement 15 minutes every day
    (will be walking or frisbee if the weather is nice, or taichi or ping
    pong if not). I also have a tiny habit goal of developing gratitude. So if I do a walk I want to make it a gratitude walk. As I go to bed, if I haven’t had a gratitude walk I want to do a review of the things I am grateful for from that day. Your suggestion of finding a
    buddy got me to invite my 16-year old son to join me. This is an added
    treat of getting to share this important skill-development with him. His
    idea was to resolve to clean up after finishing a project. Awesome!

  • Jan

    I’m resolving to exercise regularly. I know that I will feel so much more energetic & positive.

  • Laura

    Great way to begin 2013 for my partner and I. We both resolve to be more mindful of our spending. Thank you!

  • Jaya Mork

    My main resolution started out as getting outdoors for a 30 minute walk each day. I may have to refine that to just “getting 30 minutes of movement each day.” Although I was eager to incorporate outdoor time into this resolution, it may not be practical as I have a toddler. I suppose, I could turn the walk into a stroller experience… Hm… Ok, the “tiny changes” I would like to make include tuning into my breath on a regular basis each day and maybe sending more awareness to my posture. I think both of these smaller changes will help me reach my ultimate goal of improving my relationship to my body and helping me release anger. Thanks for this thoughtful guide through an interesting process. I need it!

  • Mary

    Thank you Dr. Carter. My goal is to live more mindfully and own my behaviors w/ food, exercise and taking time for myself in a positive way. I love to give to others but often forget about myself. I really like your positive approach and the visualization which I will work with today. I also like the vision board idea so I will work on that. Looking forward to this 21 day journey with you and everyone else. Treating myself with kindness and compassion feels good. Happy New Year.

  • I, too, love resolutions! This year I am continuing my quest to be a “Skinny B*”. Last year I gave up my horrendous caffeine addiction. The last month and a half of my 2012 has been a gross overindulgence of sugar and cheese, and I’ve been telling myself that is what will go in the New Year. I am so excited to see the changes that will take place in my life by eating only the foods that will give me long lasting health. I will feel better and my family and students will benefit from my success as well. Thank you Christine for this wonderful tool!

  • Jen

    Thank you for offering this class. I needed the structure and motivation to focus on a single goal from my extensive list. I have choosen to develop a formal daily meditation practice because I feel more peaceful, centered and connected when I meditate and leading a more mindful life will improve my mental and physical wellbeing as well as strengthen my relationships with my family, friends and community. I am eagerly anticipating the forthcoming lessons.

  • Monifa

    This is a wonderful class Dr. Carter, thanks so much for offering it. I resolve to eat mindfully. That is, I resolve to give thanks before each meal (or before I eat anything at all), set an intention of nourishment, and maintain an awareness of what I’m tasting and feeling as I eat. I can see doing this successfully and I’m confident that I’ll benefit by making healthier food choices, losing weight, and importantly teaching myself and my 3 yo daughter the value of saying grace and slowing down at meal time. I had lots of grand plans before I watched the Day 1 class and did the worksheet, but I scaled down from my standard set of lofty and complex schemes (which never seem to work out) to something I think I can actually do. Yay! Thanks!!

  • Michelle N.

    I’ve been reading the comments and I have to say, unlike everyone else I am feeling a little nervous. I am resolving to eat more mindfully. This seems daunting to me because like a lot of people who struggle with their relationship with food I have tried and failed to make changes a lot of times. But I am going to try to be positive and follow the program every day and focus on progress, not perfection!

  • Nicole – ThePixelBoutique.com

    Im really excited about this class. I’ve already begun to look at changes/resolutions differently than in the past. I love that there is going to be hard science and research to back up very practical steps to change. Thank you for offering such a valuable resource, Dr. Carter!

  • Elizabeth

    I have been trying to start a small business in home while my kids are a school for two years and really have gotten nowhere. I have decided to get a small office out of the home and I move in tomorrow. When I made my first list of all the things I need to do differently it was very long and full of my inner critics most negative views. Your step of reframing our resolutions to something positive made me realize just how negatively I viewed myself on this topic! So my new resolution is to increase my commitment, focus and dedication to my business by blocking off three days a week while the kids are at school. I have to say no to fun adventures with friends, Zumba, laundry, reading etc. For those three days from 9-2 I’m in business! Thanks for this class Christine.

  • Melbert

    I started out with “exercise regularly” but refined it to moving my body at least 5 times a week. I would like to work out at the gym 3x/week, but for now I would be happy with a daily 15 minute walk. So though it may start out as a walk, I hope to transition to more active exercise.

  • Darlene

    I’m sorry if this is a repeat as I’m having trouble registering on Disqus. My resolution is to eat more mindfully. One of the hardest things to do is to post on this discussion so . . . I guess I’m off to a good start 🙂

    • Great first step! Keep posting.

    • jen

      Darlene, this is my resolution as well. Good luck! We can do this!

  • I had a vague goal but listening to the class enabled me to clarify it. I want to improve my relationship with money, to have a positive relationship with it. 🙂

  • Aussie Mum

    Thanks so much for running this class. I’m resolving to get more sleep (go to bed earlier) so I have more energy and patients with my family (and hopefully more energy to work on some more resolutions later in the year). Fingers crossed and looking forward to the next class.

  • Ginger C

    I resolve to wake up at 6am every day. This is really the keystone habit for me to make other big changes, like refreshing my professional skills, finding employment, and exercising. I tend to linger in bed, hiding under the covers, not wanting to face the day. The longer I linger, the harder it is to get up, and the greater likelihood that I’ll start the day in a blue mood.

    • Nikki P

      Ginger, I have the same Habit Goal! I hope it’s going well for you so far. Truth be told, I will be starting this tomorrow. My issue is that I am a Stay at Home parent and I usually let my 2 year old wake me up but by then, he wants or needs x or y and I’m still groggy. It allows for a bad start to my day. If you want, we could check in with each other periodically through the 21 day period to see how it’s going.

      • Ginger C

        Nikki, I would love to check in with you periodically. I just finished the day 2 stuff and am feeling motivated!

        • Nikki P.

          Great work so far! I think it’s very good that you’re already tinkering with the routine to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success, not failure, by preparing your coffee maker and computer before you go to bed. I’m having a very, very slow start in that I haven’t successfully gotten up at 6 yet. Argh. My instinct is to beat myself up over it, and I’ve done that several times today already, but I’m trying not to do that. Instead, I’m trying to focus on what I DID do. Like this morning, I was going to wake up at 5:30 to run because I have a different routine on the few mornings during the workweek when I want to exercise (I know that’s a no-no!). But I didn’t. And 6 am came and went. I did, however, get up at 6:45 which allowed me to get dressed and ready before my son awoke at 7:15. So, small step. Better than nothing. Good thing for me, the theme for today was Tiny Steps, right?

          Speaking of Tiny Steps, did you come up with any? It’s kind of hard to think of since my habit is just to wake up at a certain time. But I decided that I would just sit up in bed as soon as the alarm goes off. I’m going to focus on that for a little while. Other ones I thought of were: The night before, think about what I would wear for the next day or Wake up, sit up and dangle my feet off of the side of the bed.

          • Ginger C

            Hooray for getting up before your son! I haven’t woken up at 6 am yet either. My excuse is that my 2 kids (aged 2.5 and 1 year) have the stomach flu and have been tremendously demanding. But I am in love with the idea of making this an unthinking habit such that I do it even when the kids are sick!

            I’ve taken Dr. Carter’s parenting classes (they are fantastic!), and have tried turtle steps where I wake up 15 minutes earlier every week. Doesn’t work for me. It’s mentally painful for me to get out of bed, but I know from past experience that after 2 weeks or so of waking up early, the pain goes away. However, continually moving up my wake-up time prolongs that pain.

            Also, for me, it must be the same time every day, else I feel that mental pain on the earlier days. So, I suggest that you might try to make 5:30 am your wake-up time every day. Including weekends.

            For tiny steps, I think you’ve got it right! Sit up and dangle feet off the bed. My ideal morning would match yours: jump out of bed at 5:30 am and go for a run. But that’s going to require a tremendous amount of willpower for me.

            For my tiny steps, I’m thinking about making my morning routine as easy as possible. Maybe this: Wake up, get out of bed, press the coffee maker button, lie on the couch with a good book and read 1 page, do I quick “I did it!” jig. Whatever else I do, I don’t want to go back to sleep, because I need to get over that mental pain hurdle as fast as I can.

          • Carol

            Hi Niki & Ginger, I have the same goal as you have 🙂 I’d love to buddy up and share ideas. My goal of an earlier wake up time is for many reasons: more time for exercise, walking/playing with my dog and doing light therapy before 9am ( in the northeast many of us have seasonal affective disorder from the short days and lack of sunshine in the winter).

            So far my anchor is my alarm clock that works as a dawn simulator (it lights up slowly like the sunrise). I was just ignoring it at first, but now my goal is to let the light wake me gently and try my best to embrace the day. My chocolate labrador Lily, tries to help because the sooner I’m out of bed, the sooner she gets breakfast! I set up the coffee machine the night before so it has already brewed.

            My reward is coffee on the couch reading emails and our lectures while I do my light therapy. I’m trying to wrap my brain around tiny steps of adding in walks with Lily (my dog) as a reward/goal to increase my exercise and time outdoors in the sun. I’m not sure if this is too many goals or something to add to my baseline once my out of bed goal is solid.
            The support is amazing but I must say this is challenging for me. I love the lectures and the science behind it all. Today I’m thinking about my commitment to my goal versus the progress- that’s helping me be easier on myself for returning to bed due to a sinus infection (yuck) this morning.

            I wish you both daily success on your goals and turtle steps.
            many thanks,
            Carol

          • Ginger C

            Hi Carol, Thanks for sharing. I’m really feeling inspired by your story and the other stories everyone is sharing for this class.

            I’m fired up about the idea of turning my goals into unconscious habits. Before I started this class, I assumed that as a night person, mornings were always going to be hard for me. Now I’m thinking I can actually turn myself into a bonafide morning person. So, I’m trying hard not to add many more morning goals until I wake up automatically, every day, without an alarm.

            The thing I’m focusing on at the moment is to give myself an emotional high when I wake up early, even if I go back to bed. I’m hoping to eventually program my brain to feel that high as soon as I hop out of bed at 6 am. So, I’ve changed my reward to dancing like Dora the Explorer for 5 seconds while singing, “I did it. Hooray!”

            For the walks with Lily, a possible tiny step would be to just get ready for the walk, but don’t go on it. (I’m thinking poor Lily would be so disappointed, so definitely do it where she can’t see you.)

            Keep us updated!

          • Nikki P.

            Hi Early Riser Wannabe Buddies!

            It’s so great for us to support each other and talk through our challenges and ideas.

            Ginger – you are so right about keeping the time the same every morning, but I feel not ready to come to terms with that! I am glad you point it out for me though and I welcome you to continue to do so as we go along. I’m similar to you in that I’m naturally a night person, but I love the idea of being a morning person and I’ve had a handful of really positive experiences being up and about early in the day and so that’s why I chose it as my resolution.

            Carol – sounds like you’ve thought of effective rewards (coffee during light therapy sounds fabulous). Another thought about encouraging you to get outside is maybe there’s a coffee place you can walk to after/during your walk with Lily. Extra motivation to get out in the air and sun and move your legs. During today’s class when we were to think about a positive time related to our resolution, I thought of the days when I used to live in NYC and I would be out in Manhattan so early that the city was just waking up and it was peaceful. Or running on the beach early in the morning on vacation. I can’t really replicate that exactly in my real life, but I thought of maybe going for a run (or walk with Lily in your case) in a more special location like a greenway. This is something to work towards since that can require more effort than just going out your own door, but it’s an idea.

            Waking up earlier sounds SO SIMPLE but it’s really not. It’s even a challenge under this program because it’s hard to think of tiny steps (either you get up or you don’t and the getting up is the hard part!) and it can be a challenge to think of motivating rewards. But as long as we continue to think small steps, small steps, we’re in it for the long haul, I think that is the key to our success. As Ginger said, trying to frontload the emotional or most positive aspects of being up early is a good idea. When it’s hard to get up, just think of that hot cup of coffee that you can enjoy before your kids start wreaking havoc all over your day. Think of the light therapy or the feeling you’ll have after the run or walk with Lily. I think I’m going to try some of this visualization as I wake up, sit up and dangle my legs in the coming week. Then do the stuff that you like the most first thing (if you can). More motivation to get up when you don’t feel like it. Hopefully there’ll be a day when we just do this naturally.

            Onward!!!

          • LisaLou

            I love that you have formed a tiny support group here! I’m eavesdropping. Getting up earlier isn’t my current resolution, but definitely a future one, and I feel inspired and informed by your thoughts.

            When Nikki said she likes the idea of being a morning person, that immediately triggered for me what Dr. Carter said today about the reward of cultivating your identity…you WANT to be a morning person! Wow, that could be powerful. I immediately think about my beloved (and very successful) grandfather telling me, as a teenager, about his early-rising habit, and how it was the way to go. I’ve never quite gotten there, but since then have always wished that was part of my identity. I can definitely see the power in this.

            Good luck, ladies! 🙂

          • Frances

            +1. My goal is kind of the opposite, but has the same challenges. I am trying to get to bed earlier. you’d be surprised how difficult it is, and I’m struggling with those tiny steps and more specifically, the rewards. I have thought about setting an alarm to start my bedtime routine. I kind of like the idea of the sunrise clock (I have one for the morning), but working the opposite way — so I have an indicator to start my routine for bed.

            So far, my rewards are entirely internal: a “yay” and 5 deep breaths once in bed; a moment thinking about what it will be like to be well rested in the morning. Any suggestions are definitely welcome! Coffee and light therapy aren’t probably good for sleep, and I can’t see how to add any appreciable time to my routine that would allow for a longer reward (like time to unwind).

          • Sonia

            Hi guys! Thank you for this great discussion. I have been following your group and my goal is also to get up earlier and always at the same time. I am noticing that for this to be successful I also need to have a consistent bedtime routine that starts at the same time every day, like what Frances is focusing on. And I agree it is actually more challenging in some way to get ready for bed in time than to even get up. I like your suggestion about setting an alarm when to start the bedtime routine. Yesterday I measured how long it takes me to get ready for bed and so now I know when to set the evening alarm. Frances, in terms of more tangible reward I was thinking – could you include something you really enjoy as a first (or last) item of your routine? Like reading 10 minutes from a book you really like? I made my morning reward 10 minutes on the computer making photo books while eating breakfast and having coffee, right before the real day begins. I am thinking of adding that reward as a first item on my bedtime routine and setting and alarm when to start it.

          • Carol

            Hi Everybody, What a great group! I love the feedback, encouragement and ideas. I never thought of myself as a morning person. I truly just assumed that difficulty in the morning was just the way it is for me- thank you Ginger for planting the seed of considering changing this mindset or habit. Thoughts do become things or our reality. It may sound silly, but Lily is helping me in my reward/motivation process. She LOVES the morning- or better yet breakfast! (I’ve heard Labradors referred to as stomachs with legs 🙂 To wake up and see her face looking at me…… once I stir- the tail starts wagging and then I just can’t refuse- time to get up. I use to hide from her under the covers (hard to admit that one to you all, lol) but now, I’m trying to embrace her happiness for breakfast and let my body feel some happiness to starting a new day. Each day is a brand new start- how cool is that? Its easy to say now that its evening, I’m cozy in bed, Lily at my feet, feeling good about my day. The morning challenge feeling is a tough hurdle- its my obstacle like today’s lecture was about. I’m not sure but I think its logistics of my warm bed and knowledge of finding that something to really motivate or captivate my brain that early. Work in progress.

            Niki- I know what you mean regarding how to you make tiny steps out of a task that is truly once a day…. I don’t have an answer to that one… my wish list time is 6am, but right now I am waking at 7am. I like your idea of walking Lily to a coffee shop, but we’re quite rural. We found some new hiking trails today and that was motivating in itself to discover new places and get out and really exercise and play with her.

            Frances, just some thoughts on the sleep routine thing- I used to have insomnia and some sleep hygiene suggestions really helped me. They suggest no TV/computer in the bedroom (and none for a while before bed, can’t remember if its 1/2 hour or an hour). You may not be dealing with sleep trouble as much as the getting to bed routine. The sunrise clock I have does have the option of the evening light fading to ease you towards drifting off to sleep. I haven’t tried it but it might help. We try hard to keep the bedroom for just sleeping & intimacy, but I have to admit, I have nights when I have the laptop in bed with me and I go to bed later. A reward suggestion could be a piece of music you really love to relax to or meditate with… good luck.

          • Ginger C

            Hi all. I just wanted to say good-bye and to wish you well on achieving your habits. I haven’t been posting here, because I never woke up at 6 am this month. Not once.

            I believe in the power of habits, so I’m starting anew with tiny habits. I’ve learned that, for me, at this point in my life, the habits really do need to be tiny. I just bought the premium version, and plan to watch all of the classes again, starting Feb 1. I’ve already started my tiny habits and am also doing BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits session.

            It’s been real fun taking this class and reading all of the discussion posts here. I hope that the discussion continues throughout the year. I would love to hear how you all are doing!

          • Frances

            Ginger, Thanks for the note. I am also doubling down today. I upgraded to the premium version today too. I was a bit more effective, getting to bed by 11 two times so far. But I am bought into the tiny habits and I like the idea of starting again on Feb. 1… while I keep going on my turtle steps. Good luck with your progress!

          • Ginger C

            Thanks Frances. Your words of encouragement really made me smile! Best of luck to you too. May we look back a year from now and marvel at how far we’ve come, one tiny step at a time.

          • Donna

            I too have this goal to go to bed earlier;10minutes earlier every week until…..? I have a hard time settling down in the evening after coming home from work and taking care of home responsibilities. It’s usually around 10p when I have some “me” time. I have not been very successful as of yet, though I had the lights off at 11:35p last night. My goal the first week was to be in bed by 11pm and read until 1130p and then shut lights off and breathe! and do some Reiki which really helps me fall asleep or at least relax. Another goal, is to do some yoga or stretching before bed. I am having a hard time with the anchor and tiny steps. My night time routine has so many parts that I am not sure what anchors it. My tiny step though is to turn off the lights and take a deep breath. Perhaps, that is also my anchor,the turning off the lights part. Tonight I will start tracking when I actually turn off the light in order to better assess my progress. I realize this is a process and I am okay with that. I too look forward to being better rested so I can feel more energetic and positive and resilient and healthy!

          • MLR

            @disqus_PG5nPezM4x:disqus @841de55ebbd5af1c8cad51b3abb0c3b2:disqus – My goal, too, is to go to bed earlier. My “tiny step” is to notice when it’s 9pm, and mentally plan the next hour. My bigger goal is to have my computer (& phone!) off at 10pm each night. My reward is that I get some time for pleasure reading & journaling if I’m in bed on time :).

            In terms of today’s session — my “depleters” are that on super-busy days, my post-kids-in-bed-time is the only “me” time that I have. So I am desperate to sit on the computer & connect with people (plus I have work to catch up on!). My challenge is to redefine going to bed as something that is luxurious,pampering, etc…. so it doesn’t feel like a punishment.

          • donna

            It’s good to hear I am no the only one who needs/wants to go to bed earlier. I need to be up at 630am so it really is a need! Yoga is one of the anchors for me. Even if it’s only 15 min in the evening and morning then I feel as if I have done something for myself and don’t feel as deprived. Then, if I can get to a class once a week, I feel motivated to do more yoga on my own. So that is a tiny step. Sometimes in the morning, I may just have 5 minutes.
            I get on the mat for just a pose or 2, but it’s the consistency of getting on the mat that counts. I think I am getting how these turtle steps can lead to bigger steps. Consistency is the key.
            As for depleters, it’s usually when I get home late and then still need to get dinner, lunches, clean up and then………..try to do all the stuff I want to do.
            I have been getting into bed at 11pm these past few nights and shutting the lights off a little earlier. Yay for acknowledging some success!

        • Ginger C

          Hi all. I just wanted to say good-bye and to wish you well on achieving your habits. I haven’t been posting here, because I never woke up at 6 am this month. Not once.

          I believe in the power of habits, so I’m starting anew with tiny habits. I’ve learned that, for me, at this point in my life, the habits really do need to be tiny. I just bought the premium version, and plan to watch all of the classes again, starting Feb 1. I’ve already started my tiny habits and am also doing BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits session.

          It’s been real fun taking this class and reading all of the discussion posts here. I hope that the discussion continues throughout the year. I would love to hear how you all are doing!

      • This is GREAT – I’d love to see you two become resolution “buddies”

        • Nikki P.

          Thanks, Dr. Carter! I am really enjoying the class so far and have been a big fan of the Raising Happiness Podcast.

    • Ginger C

      Anchor: alarm goes off
      Previous routine: i turn it off and hunker down in the covers.

      New routine:
      1) I get out of bed and put on fuzzy socks and a sweatshirt for warmth.
      2) I go to the kitchen and push the start button on the coffee maker.
      3) I settle on the couch with the laptop and complete the online classwork task I had set up the night before.
      4) Reward: I make a yummy breakfast and reward myself with the smell of bacon.

      After watching class 2, I see that I need to make sure I’m not making any decisions in the morning. So, I’m going to have to do some prep work the night before.

      Nightly setup for the new routine:
      1) Lay out the warm clothes.
      2) Clean and set up the coffee maker.
      3) Determine what online coursework I want to complete and set up the computer for it.
      4) Decide what I’m going to make for breakfast and make sure the items are easily at hand.

  • Nell

    I want to speak a foreign language on a daily basis.

  • Chris

    So my resolutions always revolve around weight loss…I have been very successful in the recent past but have put some weight back on. I want to get back to those healthy habits and so much for me revolves around portion control. So, in my endeavors to reach and maintain a healthy weight, my goal is to count calories and measure portions to master that most basic skill of weight management. Sounds complicated but I don’t think it should be….I have a great app for calorie counting just need to fill it in when I have eat something or have a meal…oops, maybe that is the goal…filling in the calorie counter …hmm,

  • Beverly

    Thanks for this class. I am resolving to sell myself – my statistical tutoring and consulting services. I have been underemployed for a long time and desire to help others learn statistics and do better research in their dissertations and masters projects. I have had much joy and success doing this in the past – but have had a big hangup about “selling myself”. I need to get into the habit of letting people know I am available and competent.

  • Camille

    I’d like to create the habit of spending at least 15 minutes per day consciously enjoying the outdoors. I have a toddler and a newborn, which makes getting outside logistically challenging on some days. I feel inspired, calm and clear-headed when I spend time in nature; it reminds me of what is important to me and keeps me from getting caught up in materialistic or petty thoughts. I’m hoping to start taking a short walk with the kiddos first thing after breakfast, rain or shine. Thank you for offering this course – I’m enjoying it!

  • Sarah

    I’ve got two resolutions that I really want to work on this year. I laughed when I was watching the slide show, because my first one was “purge clutter from house” and there is was reframed on the slide in front of me. I know from the experience of the occasional big purges, that this feels liberating and empowering and just makes the space I live in a happier one for the whole family. I also want to devote 30 minutes a day to working on sewing and other crafts. I think establishing this as a habit will help me feel more creative and productive, but it will also have the effect of using some of that nebulous couch time that has slowly sucked away all my evenings and hopefully motivate me to spend even less time in front of the tv. I am really excited to have this support as I try to make these resolutions into habits and I love the results that I am visualizing… thank you!

  • Buffy

    Recoving perfectionist… I think I want to be one of those! And my family probably wants that too, LOL. My big resolution was to exercise more but I have refined it to being mindful of opportunities to move more throughout the day rather than the more formal goal of going to the gym – then if schedule problems come up I have not failed. I think this will help in my tiny habits of being more patient, improving my posture, and feeling less stress.

  • Wendy

    I’m trying to put two ideas into one: meditating for ten minutes/day and spending time outside each day. What I’m picturing is taking ten minutes when I come home from work in the afternoon to go out to my back deck and sit. The first five minutes would be focusing on my senses–the sounds around me, sensations of the breeze or sun, feeling of my feet on the ground, etc. The second five minutes would be a focused metta (lovingkindness) meditation. I can visualize doing this and really enjoying it. The only problem I foresee is if it’s raining. Then what??? Somehow, meditating in my livingroom just doesn’t sound as appealing and I have a harder time feeling motivated to do it. I need to figure this one out…

    • Elizabeth S

      Meditating for 10 minutes each day is mine. My hope is to do it in the AM, before the day gets going, so I can center myself. I, too, had considered being outdoors. I have two young boys, so the “where” and “when” are key for me. What if it’s cold? Can one meditate while shivering? 🙂 I guess the answer is something like It doesn’t have to be the same every day. I plan to look for a book, or seek input from a friend, on the mechanics of the practice.

      • There are going to be lots of opportunities to think about the when and the where — it’s really important. And yes, it is better if you can craft something that will be the same every day.

  • Fernanda

    Resolution: practicing yoga daily in the morning! Thank you!

  • My resolution is intentionally interact with a loved one every day. Having a young child has made it very easy for me to let my introversion take over and just withdraw into my own household. But, I miss my friends and my family members, and even though social interactions can be draining, they’re also rewarding.

    So, my plan is to chat with, email, or write a card to at least one person every day, and to schedule an activity with a loved one twice a month (dinner with my dad, coffee date with my cousin, game night or play date with a friend, etc.).

    I’m hoping that two activities a month won’t make me feel over-scheduled, and I’m hoping that increasing my small contacts with people will make it easier to initiate the visits.

    • LauraG

      I love this! I’m in about the same boat only it’s illness+introversion. You may have given my next resolution to work on!

    • This is a great example of a resolution that I think really has the potential to make you happier.

      • Oh, I just now found the reply notifications on the comments! Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Christine

    Hello Everyone- Happy New Year! Christine-thank for offering this class! I would like to exercise every day! I often try to incorporate exercise as a permanent part of my life and usually manage to squeeze it in- but not everyday- sometimes a week or two will go by- Often I would put it on the back-burner if “something else more important” is pressing in my life- I would like to make the exercise “something more important” since I am a better parent, spouse, friend…..person…..after including exercise in my day 🙂

  • Tressa

    I am grateful for this opportunity to focus and commit myself to an important step in my life that has been eluding me: to consistently, daily eliminate material objects (many of them are small and many are pieces of paper) in my possession that I no longer need. I retired from decades of meaningful, challenging, stressful work a few months ago, so this is the right time for me to develop this healthy new habit.
    I am visiting a son and daughter- in- law and family in a tiny apartment, and watch my daughter-in-law who has this skill, so I have inspiration. I’ll be back home a week before our class ends, to put my newly visualized and felt experience into daily, consistent practice. Reading the comments of others is also inspiring. Thank you all.

    • Jenny

      Thanks for posting this–it really helped me refine my own resolution. I started with “be more organized” and refined to “spend 10 minutes a day putting things where they belong” but somehow I couldn’t visualize how this would get me where I want to be. Incorporating “eliminate material objects I no longer need” into my 10 minutes a day of putting things where they belong makes a stronger picture for me.

  • Judy C

    I had a lot of the usual “big” ones on my list of resolutions – exercise regularly, eat mindfully, eat less sugar, meditate regularly…and a couple that relate to getting more creative activity in my life. I picked two to start with: playing with art (too vague) and meditating for 5-10 minutes each morning. As I went through the video, the meditation resolution seemed smaller and easier to visualize. My reasons for wanting to do it relate to just about everything else on my list. I want to be more in touch with my inner self, with my intuition, with my knowing self. And the calm that comes with it will is a bonus. As I got to the part about visualizing – it was easy to be specific about where it would fit in my day. After getting up, feeding the cat, and doing stretching exercises which are already mostly habit, I will light a candle, get out my prayer shawl for comfort and warmth, and sit on my bed with cushions to support me. My breathing is already deeper just thinking about doing it. I will have to resist the desire to add more “big” goals – for the moment…but I’m excited to see what will unfold as a by-product of this one resolution! Thanks!!

    • This is another great example of a good refining process. The art will come, Judy, but I think you are smart to make the meditation a habit, first.

  • Aline

    I have to re- think about the motivators of my resolution again.

    • Good. Better to rethink your motivations now, than after you’ve failed to keep a resolution.

  • Emily Gibson

    Thank you for doing this! I am resolving to be consistent with my habits of self-care, morning and night, because I often put taking care of my self (teeth, hair, skin) last, but I know how much better I feel when I have that routine in place.

  • henri

    I envision myself 1)using Ann voskamp’s 3 Blessings/day outline to write these in a journal; 2) walking 15 min/ day increasing to 30min/day

  • MLR

    Christine, thanks for offering this class. As someone who tries to create change in others, it’s so helpful to have a coach help me “walk the walk” myself. My resolution for the next 21 days is to be upstairs with my computer off by 10pm each night. (Of course, it’s 10:27pm right now… but I just made the resolution today ;).) Doing this will set me up for a good night’s sleep; will help me avoid being angry at my kids & husband for “not allowing” me to get a good night’s sleep; will give me more energy to play with my children & to exercise; will allow me to be more productive and less stressed at work; and will doubtless improve my overall mood & ability to deal with life’s challenges. Looking forward to it!!!

  • Heather

    I am very excited about this class as well! I listen to your podcast regularly and have read your book, Dr. Carter, so I’m very thrilled to have a chance to take one of your classes. I have filled out the worksheet and have about 9 resolutions, but the one I picked as my top resolution is to make a daily exercise habit – specifically doing the Couch to 5K program and also adding 1 or 2 more yoga classes per week. I know this is ambitious, but I’m starting with baby steps. I feel that if I can master this resolution, that the rest of my resolutions will be easier to do. I struggle with grouchiness, lack of energy, horrible PMS (sorry TMI, I know) and am ADD, and I know that research shows exercise makes a huge difference improving all these things.

  • christine

    I started with all these ideas of how to improve myself (diet, exercise, etc.) but have decided to plunge forward to create a resolution to strengthen a marriage that has become a little rocky again. My husband and I finally started some counseling and I know that we both need to work on some actions that will build our relationship up again. I think that it will have a ripple effect to our children also that we will be better parents if we are happier in our relationship with eachother. I want to be a better parnter and have a marriage that is strong and fun. My habit I will be working on will to give my partner some sort of attention that makes him feel loved by me daily. I appreciated this worksheet in that after question 5, I realized I will need to learn what this habit will look like daily before I can take action.

    • christine

      My routine will be to fully stop what I am doing and give all of my attention to my partner starting with a hug. When this happens will either be in the morning or evening depending on his work schedule (when we see eachother!) My usual problem is that, in the past, I would not be fully present and just do the parenting high-five and continue what I was doing. My reward is to feel him returning the love (I grew up thinking I did not need this show of affection, so it has been a barrier even though I enjoy and benefit from it).

      • Lisa

        Hi Christine! I so admire you altering your resolution to focus on your marriage, and that sounds like a wonderful plan. Even if you can’t muster up a hug, your husband is sure to bask in your 100% attention, and you will feel so good about managing to do that, AND you will bask in his returned attention!

        My husband and I are going through similar rockiness right now, and are starting next week. I decided to focus on a more physical, easily-attainable habit for this first pass, but I will be watching your posts with interest and hope. My best wishes to you! 🙂

      • christine

        I checked in with my partner mot see how he thought I was doing with my resolution. He said that he noticed and how much it meant to him. Today is our 13th wedding anniversary, so very fitting….

  • Holly

    Thank you, this was a great class, helped me narrow down to one thing I want to accomplish (meditating for 5-10 min each morning) that I know will be the lynchpin for me in developing other positive habits for myself, and make me a happier person/parent/partner as well.

  • Joy

    I am going to meditate for 5-10 minutes a day – I really
    Loved thinking about motivations during this first class!

  • patti

    I am glad to be taking this class, because I have taken your Raising Happiness class (the “Big Kahuna” version) and found the portion on beginning new habits to be very informative and helpful — though I have slid backwards on consistently maintaining some of my positive habits (!). So I have chosen to begin anew with something that I feel confident I can successfully implement (this time!) because this class will provide more support by helping me to foster an intensive, 21-day focus on establishing a consistent habit that I have wanted to develop for some time now… I will establish a daily meditation practice of at least 5 minutes at bedtime (turtle steps!) and work up to 20 minutes. I know that this habit will benefit me (and indirectly, my family) in so many ways, but I am most looking forward to this daily habit helping me to cultivate a pervasive sense of inner peace, acceptance, and gratitude that will become stronger and more stable with practice, and from which I will also be able to reliably draw strength, courage, and patience during moments of emotional turmoil.

  • Elle

    My resolution is to stop being a stereotypical military wife: overweight, stressed out (mom, employee, wife), bitter, etc. I’m working on “refining” my goals/resolutions as I type this. Can’t wait to see where this journey takes me!

  • Danielle

    Thanks for offering this class! This first lesson already has me thinking about resolutions in different terms. I’ve run into difficulty, though, framing my resolution concretely. I’d like to work on using more discipline in my daily routine. I tend to generate a lot of ideas of things I’d like to do or find out about, and the Internet has gotten me off-track more often than not. I justify time spent web-surfing in terms of personal enrichment, while letting things go in my household that really need doing. I also have challenges starting projects and leaving them unfinished. So far I have a resolution to work 15 minutes on household projects before turning on the computer. I will prepare a list of prioritized list of household projects to accomplish. This is the part that seems sketchy but I’ll think about it some more.

    • This actually seems pretty good to me. Keep an update list of projects to finish, work on one until it is finished before moving on to the next.

      • Danielle

        Thank you for the feedback! I made a project list which, although long, gives me a quick way to jump into something that needs to get done. This seems do-able and I’m excited to work on it; in fact I worked on it both yesterday and today! Small chunks of time are less intimidating. I appreciate the advice about finishing one project before starting another one!

  • Frances

    I’m looking forward to focusing my attention on some of these topics where I’ve been wanting to make changes. thank you for this class (and for my friend Sarah who pointed it out)!
    My challenges with the worksheet today were really in figuring out what to work on for the next 21 days. I have a lot I think I could do if I just made time to do them and they are interrelated (get more sleep, be more organized with daily routines, pick up around the house, do dishes right after each meal, etc.). I’m hoping that taking one step will help the rest fall in line.

  • Karen

    My resolution is to exercise daily (either by taking a walk, or by stopping at my gym). I feel so much better, both physically and mentally, when I get exercise, it affects the rest of my life and my family in very positive ways. I sleep better, I am in a better mood, I have more energy… and yet somehow, whenever I stop, it’s so hard to get myself started back up. I need to make this a real habit.

    • Karen Draney

      Hmmm… Maybe this is going to be hard to do as a habit, as schedule and weather will dictate that I need to do different things on different days (e.g. I’m not taking walks in the pouring rain; some days of the week I have to be home early and can’t get to the gym). That was why I picked two different exercise methods — I can stop by the gym most of the rainy days; I can go for a walk at lunchtime most days when I have to be home early.
      Perhaps I will have to work on a different resolution.

  • Okay!! Luckily it was still Jan 1/13 when I signed on and signed in, with the intention of breaking a 3-month slump from my victorious fitness revo*lution that ruled from June ’09 through Sept ’12. Love the worksheet. It’s done, highlighted, saved and ready to roll. I have been victorious before and am beyond ready to be so again. Have missed the lovely sense of wellness, and of self-regard that upheld me throughout my 3-years + experience of commitment to keeping my heart healthy. Why did I stop? Dunno, and it does not matter. What’s great is rebuilding the habit and installing it for LIFE!!

  • ed

    thanks for offering this class, looking forward! I am creating “first thing in the morning” and “evening” routines so I make better use of that time and set up the day (and the following day) for highest productivity.

  • Doreen

    Thanks for a great first class. I sat down thinking that my resolution would be to stop eating carbs, but I have refined it to choosing to work in the garden or work on a craft project rather than eating when I am not hungry. I really liked the visualization part because it was fun to see myself working on these things that I love rather than snacking when I am not hungry. It seems like a win/win. I get to do something I enjoy while at the same time I will stop doing something that is so bad for me.

  • Lisa

    Thank you Christine! I’m very happy to be part of this and feel grateful. I am just starting on the road to eating more mindfully – I started Weight Watchers last week so I have a little jump on the “New Year’s resolution” – I am ready to make mindful eating a permanent adjustment to my lifestyle. Time to get healthy for me, and my family! I will start with mindful eating, but I feel like getting healthy includes some other things on my list (so maybe my resolution is really “getting healthy”!?) i.e. – exercise, breathing, meditation, stretching. In any case, I’m starting with Weight Watchers, my 2nd meeting tomorrow with plans to stick with the program this time. Happy New Year all!

  • Arathi

    My resolution is to speak up more often. I get anxious speaking up in group settings. I plan to do this either by deep breathing and visualizing to reduce anxiety, making phone calls and/or raising my hand to ask questions or to comment in group settings for the next 21 days. I felt empowered after choosing this resolution. Speaking up will also help me become a good role model for my little girl who has great ideas but is often too shy to share them. Thanks so much Christine for this class! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s session!

  • Catherine

    My habit is to stay calm and positive when the kids get “rowdy” in the evenings. I think my aim will be to use some relaxation techniques- and to also teach the kids how to relax when they get too wound up. I look forward to more positive interactions with my kids in the evenings- and to them learning more positive techniques for dealing with stress than the shouting they get from me now. I can see us all deeply breathing now and smiling as we get our evening routine underway!

  • Liz

    My habit I want to change is a very personal one. I have a hair pulling disorder. Though the disorder began as a young child, and it seems to be partly genetic, I believe that the behavior becomes strengthened by the power of habit (repetition).

    I was planning to make my goal to stop hair-pulling. But re-phrased as a positive, I am planning to keep my hands relaxed. I am very excited about this. It will be very empowering to work on. I have lived with this for many years.

    My motivation: a feeling of self control and pride. I smile thinking about it.

  • Jenny Robertson

    I did BJ Fogg’s 3 tiny habits last year, and am now an avid flosser! My dentist is impressed, and I *should* know how to make habits grow. Sigh. It all takes time. The “big” habit I’d like to develop is a yoga practice. I started doing yoga in 1980, and know deep down it makes me all-around more alive. The small habit I’d like to start with is 2 sun salutations (to be even, so I don’t just do one side) when I walk into the living room in the morning.

  • SDK

    Hi Christine – I love the idea of this class as a daily commitment to building positive daily habits. In my initial effort, I was guided by your blog post on “3 things that will make you happier in the new year.” From that, I developed one resolution for 2013 that’s focused on increasing my time with friends and community –> attending synagogue services with my family at least one Friday each month. However, this is a monthly commitment so I also wanted to choose a resolution that allows me to work on a daily habit. After weighing benefits of increased sleep and exercise, I’m going to focus first on committing to a goal of 20 mins of daily walking time. I have done a good job of increasing exercise time in the past 3 months, but I want to make a daily habit of exercise so that it becomes an “auto pilot” activity. I visualize myself walking at night, with my dog, re-energizing with some solo time after a busy day of work, home and children. Looking forward to tomorrow’s class!

  • Thank you for your class and the first video. I have been struggling with coming up with one big resolutions. So many are arising up.I resolve to practice more mindful financial planning. Even though I am financially well off I feel like my relationship with money isnt so mindful. I am resolving to read Vicki Robin’s your money or your life and practice financial awareness through planning and budgeting on mint.com

  • Claudia

    I’ve already benefitted from the advice in Lesson 1 to make resolutions less absolute/more realistic for the long term. So, I have reframed my annual futile resolution to “lose 5-10 pounds by eliminating sugar and refined carbs.” In its new iteration, it is: “only eat sugar or refined carbs when there is one of the followinggood reasons: (1) someone has expended unusual effort to make something for you; (2) it is a special occasion; or (3) there is an opportunity to try a food you have never tried before. Ironically, New Year’s Day — launch date of this resolution — has found me availing myself of two exceptions, having a slice of chocolate torte because it was the first time my 12-year-old proudly made one for the family (exception 1), and having a ski-lodge hot chocolate to celebrate the first day playing in snow this season. Any other year I would have declared my resolution aborted on day one, but this year I’m trying to see if I can really chart this moderate course . . . the number of exceptions that occur in the next 21 days will tell.

  • Darby

    My resolution is to create more opportunities to connect one-on-one with each of my two sons. This means taking 5 min per day with each individually and I’d like to establish a monthly outing/adventure with each.

  • Melinda Atsin

    I resolve to bump up my work outs to 4 mornings a week!

  • I was surprised to see that all the things I wrote down were in fact regarding my health; wake up earlier, get to bed earlier, eat fresh, nourishing food, walk daily with a friend…remember my vitamins! When I actually wrote them down they didn’t seem so overwhelming, because they are all for the same good feeling at the end: in my visualization I had more energy, less stress and much more FUN! So starting tomorrow I resolve to be IN bed by10:30.

  • I am resolving to practice more mindful parenting (reduce yelling) and per your suggestion I will start with focusing on the mornings before school. My challenge is to get new practices in place to support this. I’m thinking a chart for each child : get dressed, brush teeth etc. ; for me the hardest part will be not telling them over and over… And over until I’m yelling. Need to get a better way to communicate and have clear consequences that can be given with out losing my cool. I am open to any suggestions 🙂

    • Look into my Raising Happiness parenting classes to give you some strategies for nagging/yelling less. And my podcasts with Rona Renner, which are free. 🙂

  • Ann

    My resolution is to eat healthy, moderate meals mindfully.

  • Ellie

    For some unknown reason I cannot open worksheetfor Day2. Day1 was no problem. Thankyou Ellie

  • lfp

    I resolve to move every day – walk, dance, stretch, etc. I will feel more present, alive and joyful.

  • Dawn WE

    The day two worksheet is not there–it comes up page not found. 🙁

    • Dawn WE

      Found. You have to right click on “right click” not on the pencil icon.

  • Guest

    I realized that my type A personality is really getting in my way. I had a laudry list of resolutions and realized I’m way over the top. It was so helpful to see my resolutions written in black and white. I picked exercising as the thing that I want and need to do more of and my husband and I just joined a local gym so we could do this together (having a “buddy” – check!). I’m wondering about creating the anchor, routine and reward part though since I haven’t determined the anchor yet (it could be when he gets home from work, we go exercise, although I like the idea of going in the morning), nor the routine (haven’t be in a gym in ages, and I don’t really know what to do —- yet! I would think it’s best to “do” a routine and then reevaluate but I don’t know if that will help the old noodle! As far as rewards go, can they change? Go for the yeh, me to buying a new (smaller sized) clothing item? Fighting my brain is tough work, but I’m so glad I’m here!

  • Jan T

    I realized that my type A personality is really getting in my way. I had a laundry list of resolutions and realized I’m way over the top. It was so helpful to see my resolutions written in black and white. I picked exercising as the thing that I want and need to do more of and my husband and I just joined a local gym so we could do this together (having a “buddy” – check!). I’m wondering about creating the anchor, routine and reward part though since I haven’t determined the anchor yet (it could be when he gets home from work, we go exercise, although I like the idea of going in the morning), nor the routine (haven’t be in a gym in ages, and I don’t really know what to do —- yet! I would think it’s best to “do” a routine and then reevaluate but I don’t know if that will help the old noodle! As far as rewards go, can they change? Go for the yeh, me to buying a new (smaller sized) clothing item? Fighting my brain is tough work, but I’m so glad I’m here!

  • Jenny

    Good morning, folks! Hope some more will join me here, having watched Day 2. It’s just after 7:30 and I’ve already stretched, breathed, watched the video and filled out my worksheet. Funny, but it actually feels good to stay on top of *trying* to create my new habit (by watching the videos and completing the worksheets), even though the habit itself isn’t in place yet (and for me, is scheduled to become part of my end of the work day routine, so I haven’t done it yet today). Good luck, everyone.

  • Q

    Did anyone download the PDF worksheet for Day 1? I had trouble opening it yesterday. I’d love if someone could just send me that one worksheet. Thanks

    • I’ve got it. What’s your email?

      • May I please have a copy. Just missed it!
        thanks!

      • JenR

        My hubby was kindly straightening up and put mine out with the trash by accident. I want to keep them all in a binder together. Would you mind sharing it with me if you still have it? I don’t know how to privately send you my e-mail, do you? Thanks.

        • You can click on my name and send me a private message on Twitter (@Braingirl).

  • Wendy

    Hello everybody.
    Thank you Christine for this valuable opportunity.
    Already I have found the contributions of others to be helpful, in addition of course to the class materials themselves! I am struck by the many similarities amongst classmates in their goals. Mine too is eating well and mindfully with the intention of freeing up valuable reserves of energy to use more wisely rather than wasting energy on perpetual negative self talk around body image, lifestyle and eating habits.
    I look forward to journeying together.

  • Day 2- (1) drink a cup of coffee while reading something inspirational
    (2) deep breathing 5-10 minutes
    (3) (a) read self-affirmations about my self-worth out loud
    (b) read self-affirmations about tennis if I’m playing tennis in the a.m.

    Reward (1) praise myself for following through with routine
    (2) Savor a piece of dark chocolate!

  • I have a resolution unlike anyone else’s I’ve seen here: finishing my PhD. I resolved the same thing last year, as I was in my 7th year and thought it was within reach, but this final stretch has proved far more challenging than I imagined. My primary obstacle seems to be perfectionism, and all of the anxiety and self-doubt that come with it, slowing my progress to a snail’s pace. I’ve learned some new strategies that help me work more productively, but this class is really helping me frame the necessary behavioral changes more concretely in terms of anchors (a timer that breaks my workday down into 25 minute segments) and routines (write down what I was working on, take a break to walk away from the computer and stretch, then mindfully evaluate whether I am spending my time productively or obsessing over minute details, before moving on to the next task).

    Most importantly, I think I had completely overlooked the importance of IMMEDIATE GRATIFICATION type rewards, since the long-term rewards of both career and personal advancement were so obvious and important to me that I couldn’t understand why they weren’t more motivating on a day-to-day basis. So I’m adding the following to my routine: after writing down what I was working on when the break time alarm goes off (so I don’t lose my train of thought), I’ll take a moment to imagine how satisfying it will feel to cross this task off my to-do list and move on to make measurable progress on the next task. That sense of accomplishment and pride in my work, rather than anxiety and shame about imperfection and lack of progress, is my strongest reward.

    So thank you, Dr. Carter! I am feeling very encouraged and hopeful.
    ~Teresa

    P.S. – The PhD I am trying to complete is in Neuroscience – emotional learning, in fact – so while it seems rather ironic that I need my own field explained to me in these practical terms, I greatly appreciate the scientific basis for all your advice!

    • Have you read that book “write your dissertation in 15 minutes a day” – or something like that? I finished my PhD by working on my dissertation religiously every morning before my children woke up (and before work). You can do it!!

      • I haven’t, and I’m kind of afraid to try to read anything new or do any more research on the “right” or “best” way to do things, since I tend to lose more time than I gain through things like that. I bought a new computer desk and a new purse yesterday, after having researched both for days before, and I was reminded of one of your podcasts where you described the perils of “maximizing” as opposed to…I think it was “satisficing”? I am firmly entrenched in the maximizer camp – must research absolutely every possibility from every single angle before making a decision! That’s my major problem with my dissertation too – I’m hardly even scratching the surface of the writing part (my first manuscript-in-progress has intro and methods, but minimal results or discussion) because I haven’t finished analyzing the overwhelming amount of multi-dimensional data in every possible way, even though I know that’s impossible. Seriously, do you have another class on combating perfectionism? How did you get to be a “recovering” perfectionist?

    • Danielle

      Fantastic! I’ll be cheering for you! I remember similar anxieties and personal barriers to completion when I was finishing my Ph.D. (geosciences). Remember it will be done soon. 🙂

    • Emeritus in the Heartland

      I made this my mantra: The only good dissertation is a DONE dissertation! I also worked with two others who were working to complete their diss’s. We encouraged one another!

    • Buffy

      I will be cheering for you!

  • Alice

    Thank you Christine. I appreciate the guidance. I am focusing on one small goal and will take specific steps to build a routine …to become a habit….and reward myself after accomplishing that goal. I think I can do this.

  • Madia T

    Thank you so much, Dr. Carter. You ROCK! I have decided to stay calm always. I can get what I want completed with peacefulness. This will help my brain stay healthy. I will use the extra time not stressing to play – draw, photography, organize, have a healthy relationship with myself and my loved ones.

  • stephanie

    I resolve to be more patient with my family and to curb my rush-rush-rush attitude.

  • Darlene

    Oops, I almost left the house without posting . . . I wanted something to eat and I had a low cal snack AND I’m posting – 2 YAYS for me!

  • LauraG

    I learned a lot from the first class and I’m enjoying reading about people’s resolutions. Mine is to have family dinner every night. This is not straightforward, as I have a chronic illness that limits my energy, but the questions asked in the first worksheet were helpful in formulating a plan. And the chana masala was good! 🙂

  • Aline

    Thanks for offering this class.
    Also got me thinking about what routines I am establishing at home with my kids!!!

  • Bliss

    My biggest issue is sugar, fat, chocolate. I see it. I eat it. I also hae a HUGE (read outof control) craving after every meal that I satisfy, usually with chocolate. It is a powerful addiction. My body craves the experience of eating a dove bar for example. I want to get past this addiction without feeling total deprivation. I can try fruit but it always leaves me still somewhat agitated. The craving does die down if I don’t give into it. How can I turn this into a new habit? I have 25 years sober and still attend AA. Any exercise I do to lose weight is futile because of my sweet addiction. I don’t want to give up desserts for the rest of my life. Thoughts?

    • Claudia

      Bliss ~

      I too have an addictive relationship with sugar, especially in chocolate or cookie form. (I can literally hear the hum of a Chips-a-Hoy package in an adjacent zip code.) There are recovered carb-a-holics who say they have indeed “give[n] up desserts for the rest of [their] life,” but this course’s 1st session made me realize that for 99% of us, this is totally unrealistic, because we are offered sweet things so many times in so many forms, places, contexts that categorical refusal seems doomed to failure. So, I have used the worksheets to try to itemize all the different setting/times in which I overeat sweets, and then figure out which give me the most real satisfaction (e.g., trying a dessert I’ve never tried before), or would involve the most social awkwardness/ambivalence to refuse (e.g., a cake someone has just made for my birthday). I have made my resolution to eat sweets ONLY when tied to these pre-identified special settings. I figure that this may have me eating sweets about once a week, with a lot of anticipation/mindfulness/enjoyment, rather than snarfing Mint Milanos in the laundry closet. Interestingly, after justifying eating a slice of chocolate torte AND a hot chocolate yesterday because the fit into my “exception” categories, today I was able to suppress any sweets cravings by just remembering how much I enjoyed yesterday’s indulgences. Not sure if this approach would work for you, but I’d by interested in comparing notes if you decide to try it. Good luck in any event!

    • Try putting frozen berries in the blender with some nuts, or nut butters to wean yourself from something unhealthy to something healthy. Or try delaying giving into the craving for increasing amounts of time (start with 5 minutes, and then increase 1 minute every day). Or try doing something else after dinner that will satisfy the underlying psychological need that started the craving — maybe a cuddle with a kid or a spouse or a pet, or calling a friend, or something along those lines.

    • Buffy

      just throwing this out there, but when I tried a gluten-free diet as an “experiment” all those sugar and carb cravings went away. I’m talking the uncontrollable I-don’t-really-want-this-but-I-have-to-eat-it-anyway type of cravings. I still have some chocolate but a piece satisfies me and I don’t have to eat the whole bar.

    • Joyful

      I find I can usually satisfy my sweet cravings with a cup of tea. After dinner some kind of milky herbal tea or toasted green tea (I don’t usually do black tea that late in the day) can be comforting yet not sugary. I also have peppermint tea every evening (and do my tiny habit of cleaning the table while it is brewing) and after drinking it the clean taste helps keep me from late night snacking. Hope that may help.

  • Frances

    After one day, I’ve already changed my plan. there are many things that I’d love to do, but I’m going to focus on: getting to bed by 11pm every night. I really struggle to go to sleep on time, I can always find one more thing to do. I find that lack of sleep really impacts my mood, my health, and my ability to deal with the things I *didn’t* get to the day before. SO, onward! tonight is my first stab at my new routine.

    • Danielle

      Best wishes with your plan! I struggle with getting to bed on time as well and will likely work on this soon. I find that getting to bed by a certain time is important, even more than the number of hours, because I usually wake up with the sun.

    • Hi Frances – since starting on new years eve i too have realised that for me key to everything is getting to bed on time and switching off the light – not another soduku as my brain exercise etc etc. I have noticed that if i am tired i may well get up at 6 but i then sabotage all my efforts to actually go and sit on my cushion or whatever else i have set myself to do. Last night was a huge challenge as i got home late – so I realise that I need to address what I do on the evenings that I may be late home as I know from past experience that I can easily fall back into the routine of midnight or later.

    • Thats my goal too! but I am having a hard time… I just figured out that I need to eat before 7pm in order to get into bed by 10:30, lights out by 11.Left to nature, I’m up until 2 and sleep until 8:30, as evidenced by my two week vacation at home over the holidays. But even then I HAD to get up by 6:30-7 on several occasions, and now I have a cold :(.

  • Buffy

    I want to get into the habit of exercising, a little bit at first and then more as time goes on. I think putting the kids on the school bus will be my anchor. Usually after that I come in and check email & eat something before showering and going to work. Since I am already outside when the bus comes I am going to walk around the block after the bus pulls away. Then walk around again when I get home from work before the bus drops the kids off in the afternoon. My rewards, other than feeling better and appreciating what my body can do, will be listening to podcasts that I continually upload to my MP3 player but never listen to 😀 and perhaps a massage once a month.

  • Clare

    Today’s session about what a habit is has really got me thinking about all the habits that I have already. I decided that my trigger for my resolution to spend some time breathing and listening to my inner voice should be waking up, and then I realized that I already have a series of routines after waking up (let the dogs out, bathroom, feed dogs, put a load of laundry on, turn the kettle on, pack lunches, wake kids up for school…). So it is much easier to think about how and when to fit my new “me” time in to that routine, rather than have unrealistic expectations about replacing all of that with a long meditation. So I am just planning on lighting a candle, and sitting and breathing for 5-10 minutes before I wake the kids up. It has also made me realize that I will need to go to bed a little earlier to be sure that I wake up in time to get everything done.

  • I have resolved to make my spending more mindful this year. I’d really like to realize some of my long-term financial goals, like traveling extensively, offering my niece and nephew extraordinary opportunities, helping my father in his retirement, and buying land somewhere on the planet. In New York City, there are plenty of enticing opportunities for spending money. I can succumb to the mindless habit of just buying this or that because it’s there and is appealing or stopping to get food and drinks on the go.

  • grace

    I am resolving to not buy clothes for myself for 6 months! I am am overspender/shopper. Thanks Christine for offering this class!

    • Buffy

      maybe you can combine things you already own in different ways so they feel like “new” but you haven’t spent anything!

  • Mamapat

    I am working on practicing the piano after a 45 year break! I don’t know how to create the anchor or routine as my life is not consistent. In the a.m. sometimes I meet a friend for a walk and can’t always practice at the same time. After work sometimes I have errands or yoga that would preclude practicing at the same time. My work schedule is also not consistent! Thanks for any ideas.

    • Misha

      Hi Mamapat, I struggle with finding regular practice time as well. My piano teacher gave me some great advice to aim to practice daily for ten minutes only. It’s a short time I can usually squeeze in at some point during the day. I guess the trick is finding the anchor. Maybe, if eg you watch TV in the evening, it’s using the end of the program or during each ad break. Or maybe grabbing ten minutes immediately before or after dinner or yoga. Using an “after” time has the added benefit of allowing those te minutes to expand, as they do sometimes. Best wishes!

    • I bet you always brush your teeth in the morning. How about practicing for 5 minutes a day after that?

  • Misha

    I’m still in two minds about what resolution to choose. The one I’d like to achieve, with benefits for my and my family’s health and making after work time less stressful, is menu planning for the week instead of the chaos of wondering what’s for dinner at 6pm and having to go out to the shops or opt for the easy answer of take away food. But, this requires the support and input of family members whose food tastes and time schedule vary making it difficult to establish an easy routine. So, I thought I should instead go for the goal of regular morning exercise which requires me only and can readily be done as a daily routine. I would like to have this exercise routine but wonder how this methodology works for the more complex, interdependent goals which I would also (eventually, soon) like to achieve.

    • Laurel

      Hi Misha,

      Have you decided which resolution to focus on? I’ve had success with very 1st thing in the morning exercise, alternating days between running and strengthening exercises. I spend ~20-25 minutes, and feel so much better for the rest of the day, definitely reduces my stress level and fitness is important to me.

      I wanted to share something that has worked for my family around menu planning.
      We started this a few years ago, and it works most of the time (from this class I now understand why it doesn’t tend to work during vacation weeks or anytime our schedule is significantly altered).

      At some point during the weekend (usually after church on Sunday if we’ve gone) we have a family meeting, where we go over calendars for the week, AND we come up with the dinner menu. Our two children each pick one meal that they want to fix that week (with my help as sous-chef) and we decide the night they will fix it based on schedules. I add needed ingredients to the shopping list as we’re talking. Sometimes they are creative; one child often picks something that will be VERY quick and easy, sometimes the same thing for weeks on end! Then I ask for ideas for the other nights. Then I post the piece of paper on the fridge so we now who is cooking what meal which night. My husband often goes grocery shopping Sunday late afternoon, so this works well for us.

      Immediately (usually!) after our family meeting, we set the timer, and each do 15 minutes of clean-up in the house. Our city trash pick up is Monday, so emptying the trash and getting recycling together is part of it, but otherwise people can do whatever, although not in their own bedroom. And when the timer goes off, we are DONE. What I’m going to work on, with insight from this class!, is to make this more fun (there is usually grumbling about the meeting and the clean-up, but really not too much). I’ll try to figure out some rewards…although I’m a firm believer in intrinsic motivation personally, I don’t know that everyone is my family is, and the randomness of the fishbowl technique sounds fun…

      • Misha

        Thanks Laurel, I love your routine for menu planning and will look at that goal as an ongoing project to maybe focus on more directly after first getting exercise into auto pilot. I think exercise routines lend themselves particularly well to creating daily habits and I do really want to improve my health and fitness. So that will be the first thing I “cut my teeth on” in following Dr Carter’s class. I’ve also signed up for an online menu planning class which I’ll do now as well, just to move forward on that a bit and try to pick up a few incidental tips for immediate and easy use. Note to self: don’t try to do too much at once and try to allow for turtle steps.

  • This year, as usual, I resolved to loose weight. But after listening to this class, I broke that down into two separate resolutions: First, I’m going to exercise 30 minutes per day, building up to 60 eventually. Second, I’m going to eat mindfully and only what I have pre-planned. There are two obstacles I need to overcome. First, how to find the time/space to exercise. I work full time and I have two young children at home. Every minute I’m not at work I want to be with my babies, and since a gym is about 45 minutes away from me, I would loose a good two hours each day of my precious time with them if I went to a gym. However, I live on a busy street with no sidewalks so walking around the block is not possible, especially since it is pitch dark when I leave in the morning and return at night. As a teacher, my break times are usually interrupted by students needing something so exercising on the school grounds might be difficult, but it’s the first thing I’m going to try. I’m just worried I won’t be able to make it routine or a habit because there will be so many days it just won’t happen.

    Second, I’m going to face the thing that always gets to me when I’m trying to be “good” about eating. My husband. He always makes it a point to bring home the worst foods possible and eat them in front of me and refuses to eat more healthily himself and tries to tempt me every time I tell him I’m going to try to lose weight. It’s like he is trying to make me fail. I have asked him to stop eating that junk around me, but he refuses saying it’s want he wants and it has nothing to do with me and if I don’t want any, I can just say no. Again and again and again and again, and each time I refuse, he seems to (maybe it’s in my head, but I swear this is true) up the anty with treats he knows I have a very hard time refusing, bringing home pizza and tubs of ice cream (my worst triggers) “for the kids”.

    So even though my kids are very thin, we are all “going on a diet” in that ice cream and pizza will be banned “for the kids” too, at least for now. And if I see trigger foods lying around the house, I will throw them away and if it makes him mad, then he needs to learn to indulge outside the home and not bring it home. I figure I will only need to toss his goodies out once or twice to bring the message home.

    • Misha

      Hi Jessica. I know what you mean about trying to find the time. A couple. Things that have worked for me in the past, when my kids were younger and I felt more ” housebound” (ie difficult to get to a gym or go for a jog/walk) are exercise videos you can do at home (yoga, strength, cardio) and getting up before the kids are awake to do them. You can also try and negotiate time with your husband for turning down the care taking antenna so you can focus on exercise whole he minds the kids for 30 mins or so. Another idea is to look into classes or activities you can enjoy with your kids (going to the park to kick a ball around or to the pool for a swim). Best wishes!

  • jen

    My resolution is to make healthier eating choices. I just finished the Day 2 worksheet and need some help coming up with my reward beyond “Yay for me!” (which I love) and general well being.

    • Remember, it doesn’t have to be more than an enthusiastic “Yay me!” every time you make a healthy choice, and also after you’ve eaten the healthier thing. Be liberal in your self-enthusiasm-as-reward. Here are some more ideas from BJ Fogg: http://www.twylah.com/bjfogg/tweets/241669905118818304

      • jen

        These are really fun tips. I love singing a song and doing a dance!

  • melbert

    I am trying to figure out the right anchor. I am working on getting regular exercise (managed to get to the gym today for a tour!). I think I will try doing a class there 2x/week and then walk 3x/week. Can the anchor just be a time of day (1:30pm – get up from desk and go for a walk)?

    • Yes, an anchor can just be a time of the day, but remember, it needs to be the anchor for an EXISTING habit, where all you are doing is changing the routine.

      • melbert

        this work is making me realize how unstructured my life is – it is hard to identify many existing daily habits! I think this might explain a few things about how life always feels a bit chaotic.

  • Colleen

    I would love to know some of your favorite meditation CDs.

    • I love Deepak Chopra’s “Creating Abundance” meditations, which you can download from the Chopra Center (but they aren’t free). I also like Diana Winston’s meditations – download free from the MARC center at UCLA.

  • grace gilliam

    i tried to use an app on my iPad to help me with my resolution: Stretch a Little Every Hour (writing it this way feels like one of those embroidered homely samplers to me, much gentler & kind.) but… while apps are a nice idea, i got too tied up in how to set the timers, the not-quite-clear stretch instructions, and a self-reboot of a different exercise each time. sigh…

    now for the fun part: pick an anchor — i complain all the time about needing to pee a lot now that i am older, so much rhat it feels as if i am running to the bathroom every hour. NOW, needing to pee is this wonderful chance to pause, pee, stretch and say “yay, body!” i giggled each time i followed this routine today. and, i got some interesting insights about how i habitually talk myself out of those sweet little rewards by inserting an immediate “not enough.”

    starting to get excited about this!

    • This cracks me up. I love it.

    • I completely identify with your last statement! That’s exactly my problem: I subconsciously talk myself out of my self-praise (“Yay! I’m making progress! I’m doing my best! Go me!”) with dread about all the negative consequences of failing to make MORE progress FASTER and wondering if this is really the best I can do. 🙁 Ugh. Is there another class on perfectionism? I think I need that….

    • Grace, this is absolutely brilliant — me too, me too! So adopting this for myself, starting now. I mean mainly the loo-visit as the anchor, but also the alertness to perfectionism, one of the most destructive habits instilled in me long, long ago. Have made much headway vs its pernicious effects over the past decade, and your giggle-reward is a great way to defuse my ‘not (good) enough’ reflex. You rock, Woman!

  • Jaya Mork

    I felt that I needed to go back to day 1 and choose a different habit to change. The “getting a 30 minute block of outdoor activity time” is not going to happen right now for a number of insurmountable reasons, so I’m just feeling badly a bout it instead of working on something.

    I am changing my resolution to “being less angry” which I think translates to a behavior change of “reacting more calmly under stress.” Or staying calm. or being more positive. All of the above.

    Today’s worksheet showed me that my triggers (I don’t connect with the word anchor for some reason) — my triggers or cues are stress, conflict, other people’s needs (like my toddler’s urgent interruptions and my husband’s “where is the XX?” questions when I am in teh middle of anyting, everything else). This is simplifiied, of course, but you get it.

    The Routine I think I could start begins with recognizing I’m about to blow a gasket. Taking a breath (or two) if at all possible. Relaxing my body physically — I find I get very tight and hard when I am angry. This carries over so that I am nearly constantly rigid in my body all day. then maybe i could try to make a small smile — this will be hard, because I rarely feel like smiling in these situations.

    the Reward part is tough. I guess the reward is I will stop being so angry ALL the time. it’s killing me, I mean, it really might be, over time. Feeling mastery of my emotions could be a motivation. But I also would like a “real” reward. Thinking about splurging on a bottle of special essential oil — a scent that I really like, maybe vetiver or sandalwood — and then keeping it handy to take a whiff whenever I’ve stayed cool? that might really work, because scent is so connected to the “lizard brain.” Not sure how I will keep the oil around however…. we shall see.

    I do have such terrible anger all teh time. Something has to help me in 2013!

    • Darlene

      Hi Jaya, I feel compelled to respond to your post. You have brought me back to a time in my life when I, too, was always angry. In my case I think it came from not feeling comfortable in my own skin as they say, not thinking very highly of myself along with being painfully shy and socially inept and depressed. Depression runs in my family.

      Anyway, I self medicated with alcohol. I ended up in an out patient rehab program and long story short I am 12 yrs. sober 🙂 Fortunately, after the rehab there was some sort of schism or shift and my outlook was no longer filled with anger.

      I commend you on your courage to post so openly. I had to chuckle at your comment “I could try to make a small smile” which I wanted to respond to but didn’t want to come off too flippant with the seriousness of your post – I guess that’s why I gave some of my own background.

      So, regarding the smile . . . the feeling can follow the action rather than the other way around. In other words, ‘fake it til you make it’. It really does work. I think it has something to do with brain signals? Well, I think we’re all in the right place in this class and forum supporting each other.

      • Jaya Mork

        thanks for your own honesty and support. i too have a history of depression, meds have helped some but they also lead to weight gain and loss of libido 🙁 I do agree that “fake it till you make it” can work. I will try.

        • Darlene

          Hi Jaya – a gentle reminder to smile today 🙂 Push the corners of your mouth up even if you don’t feel happy (I hope this is not annoying). As to meds, idk – I would encourage you to keep working with your doctor until you have it right. We have more choices now than ever before.

          • Jaya Mork

            thanks Darlene!

        • Jaya and Darlene, I am another one with a history of explosive resentments and of hating my own irritability. The diagnosis and treatment for depressive illness has helped much, and so too the “FAKE it to MAKE your SMILE REAL” practice … the brain has little clue that the smile is phony, so it sends out happy-hormones as if the smile were real. There is lots of science now to support the power of a facial expression to impact both mood and effectiveness of behaviour, too, as with this one lively article:
          http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/15-fascinating-facts-about-smiling/

  • KB

    Day two down and I’m ready for day three! I love this so far. It’s great to have a daily class. No time (well, very little, anyways!) to forget the last class! Keep up the great work!

  • My ANCHOR is the completion of the first set routine of wake-up chores. This set ends with my meditation, which is sometimes followed by a necessary nap. Here is where the new routine will be built. The REWARD will be looking forward to my computer communication time as a happy follow-up to the new routine (NR).

    (Yup, the NR is really my trusty friend, a former habit of 3.5 years that has been AWOL since October ’12. It is going to get better ESTABLISHED this time, moving in for keeps.)

    Kit’s NEW HABIT/ROUTINE, One Day At a Time:
    My new routine will now commence as soon as meditation is done. Step by step, I will do the following:
    1. Visit computer (keeping it closed) to tell it I will be checking in later this day and from now on. (Sounds silly, but will work well for me.)
    2. Put on workout clothes. Have protein snack if doing strength stuff today. (These steps used to fire up positive anticipation and may do so again. I like just thinking of doing ’em!)
    3. Go to loo, wash face, brush hair and teeth.
    4. Prep water to drink, turn on music or attach mp3 player
    5. Quickly pick today’s activity routine. Eg. A.) walk for 15 min, B.) cycle for 15, C.) do strength (one of 3 diff routines) OR do stretch for 15-30.
    6. Do each activity in turn, sweet-talking myself throughout, encouraging cats to observe/admire, and keeping my computer reward in mind!
    7 Tough it through to the end. Feel the happy muscles and organs enjoying the activity. Computer isn’t walking off in a huff, remember.
    8. Praise myself as I wash up, put on fresh clothes maybe, stretch and cool-down more if need be. Half-plan tomorrow’s session.
    8. Fix smoothie or tea, settle in at laptop, and party on!!

  • Lisa

    Some great info in Day 2 – thanks! Anchor > EAT (or thinking of eating), ROUTINE > TRACK. After mindfully choosing what to eat, I will immediately track what I eat (eventually I will do more menu planning for the day/week – but starting here). REWARD > Just the act of tracking makes me feel rewarded in that I am staying mindful each time I eat, or plan the next meal or snack. I’ve already noticed I am going to the kitchen less habitually (un-mindfully) reward myself (often) throughout the day, and only go a couple times with a healthy snack in mind, or low point treat! It is helping me stay more focused on the other tasks at hand (i.e. work! I work from home so the kitchen is close by…), and I feel less distracted. It feels good. And “Yay me!” I weighed in today and lost 3 lbs. in my first week – I’ll take that! (I am looking forward to getting over bronchitis so I can get back to exercising too! Trying to do deep breathing and stretching in the meantime.)

    Anyone else doing Weight Watchers to learn to eat more mindfully that wants to support each other during the remainder of these 21 days?

    • Darlene

      Hi Lisa – I am doing WW’s online. I fell away for almost 2 mos. but got back on board today with tracking. This couples so nicely with Dr. Carter’s program as the two seem to validate each other. Yay for You for losing 3 lbs. already!

      I’m having difficulty with the concept of an Anchor (that word doesn’t click with me). Now if it’s the trigger as the worksheet suggests, does that make the anchor boredom? anxiety? hunger? Can anyone clarify this for me?

      I’m new to these discussion boards or forums but will try to ‘track’ you Lisa 🙂

      • For those of you having a hard time with the word anchor (or trigger, or cue): think of your existing habits. It may take some experimentation and self-exploration to figure out what the existing craving that your habit satisfies is, and that might help you identify the cue/trigger/anchor. Boredom is often a good guess (you crave stimulation, so you eat/bite your nails/go on Facebook)…Remember that you need to satisfy the same craving with your new routine.

      • Lisa

        Hi Darlene –
        Just checking in. Unfortunately, I missed yesterday, but listened today.
        How is it going for you?

        I am sticking with my commitment of tracking even though the initial rush is wearing a bit thinner as I’m missing certain foods (and my usual bad habit of mindlessly snacking), but I’m trying to stay focused on my goals, and just continue the “tiny steps” – I eat, I track. (Eventually I want to plan my meals more, and plan my exercise routine, but am just starting with “I eat, I track”).

        I definitely know that I have the tendency to “reward” myself too much if I do well. So I”m glad Christine is talking about “the licensing effect” – it will help me stay focused on my commitment, and why I’m doing this in the first place.

        I am new to these discussion boards too…still trying to understand how this all works.
        How’s it going for you?
        All best,
        Lisa

        • Darlene

          Hi Lisa, good to hear from you! I think you’re doing well just to ‘eat-track’. I seem to find success when I track! I like WW’s newer program. One of their tools I like is ROUTINES (seems to tie in to what we’re doing here). I now eat a vege or fruit with every meal or snack. It’s filling and it becomes a HABIT and I think eventually will become the snack!

          • Lisa

            “Eat a veggie or fruit with every meal or snack” – I like that – sounds simple, and yet I don’t do it often enough (i wish i liked fruit more, but I’m trying – I go for the salt, and do like veggies). I will try it. Thanks! I’m glad you’re finding success with the tracking too. Doing my best to keep the commitment in mind. I hope it’s at least mostly going well for you, too.

  • Audrey

    Love reading everyone’s new habits! I’d like to try a lot of them! 🙂

    Here’s what I’ve come up with, as this is something that I’ve done periodically but always wanted to make a regular part of each day.

    “Be a Blessing” Habit
    Anchor – First cup of coffee in the morning while house is still quiet and kids aren’t up (so needs to be right at 6am!)

    Routine-
    0. Get my coffee (pre-programmed to be ready the night before!)

    1. Read one verse from Bible
    2. Decide who to bless today (can use list I’ve brainstormed if brain is foggy) & say a prayer for them

    3. Write a note of thanks or encouragement or send them something through the real mail (a note, an inspirational quote, a photo)

    4. Log it on my blessing chart

    Reward- Logging it is a reward for me because I love checking things off lists & it will make me feel good to see who I’ve blessed. I get another cup of coffee. 🙂

  • grace

    I’m having trouble formulating what a daily reward would be for not shopping?

    • Claudia

      Maybe you could start a “shopping for those who need it” jar, and put some small amount in it each day (like $1-$5) and periodically donate it to a relevant charity. For example, if you habitually clothes shop, you could donate to My New Red Shoes, a charity that enables homeless kids to purchase a brand new outfit for their first day of school, so they’re not the only ones in shabby stuff. The “reward” would be tracking how many needy kids you’ve outfitted . . . . or whatever cause is meaningful to you.

    • jen

      This is a question for Dr. Carter but would shopping be a good reward for not shopping? I mean, one item that you really want and allow yourself to get at the end of the first 21 days? Or does that kind of reward nullify the hard work of creating a “no shopping” habit?

      • Nope, shopping is not a good reward for not shopping! I’d really encourage you, Grace, to go back and listen to day one and two again, and come up with a resolution that is a positive habit—(what can you do INSTEAD of shopping that uses the same cue or trigger (e.g., boredom, anxiety)? Then find a simple and immediate reward for that behavior.

  • Lisa

    Wow. I have never really participated in an online community like this, and I have to say it is incredibly inspirational. I feel honored to be in the company of such honest, thoughtful, self-aware people. Reading through everyone’s ideas (and now their plans to put them into action), I am so tempted to go into copycat mode. Instead I’ve decided to take notes, because if all goes well for this first 21 days, I hope to incorporate more and more habits (and certainly not wait until next January 1st!). And this comment board is a gold mine for good ideas!

    So, my resolution is to create a new habit for myself and my husband and two kids, whereby we do this every night, probably right after dinner:
    1. Each family member picks one song to put into a special playlist (I am thinking we actually just do this once a month, or once a season, or something, and we get to anticipate which songs are coming, how long they each last, etc)
    2. Turn up the volume, and for the duration of those 4 songs, we act like little magic anti-tornadoes, decluttering as we move from room to room. Maybe we try to do 1 room per song.
    3. The reward will be a sense of fun (which has sadly been lacking in our house of late) for everyone. For my husband and I, there is an added reward of a less chaotic-looking house, and the peace and lack of stress that comes with this. Recently he identified this as one thing that he realizes really stresses him out. Me too, although I manage the ostrich/head-in-sand thing pretty well, if I do say so myself. Yet another reward, once we get this going, is the idea that we actually made a change that will change our lives!

    I tried this tonight with the kids, and it was great. My 6 year old son tends to be a slow mover (I sent him upstairs to get the board games to bring downstairs; he was gone for an entire song, it seemed like; turns out he was studying a picture on the box…) but even he got a fire lit under him. I don’t want to be a task master (even though I can definitely have that tendency when I get a task in my head), but I figure for 10 fun minutes it can be a win-win.

    Thanks SO much, everyone, for sharing your thoughts, and to Dr. Carter for this wonderful class!

    • So fun! When my kids were little I would “race” them with a timer on to see who could clean the most in 10 minutes. Sometimes Id have them clean up to a song and the quicker they did it the more time they would have to dance to the rest of the song. Thanks for bringing back the fun memories, your idea sounds even better. Now that I live alone, I declutter and clean with old 30’s 40’s & 50’s swing music. Dont know why, but it feels somehow “elegant” and is so motivating! With Dean Martin’s sexy singing, you’ve gotta have a clean house!

  • Lisa

    To those of you who have chosen “eating mindfully” as your resolution, I thought it was so timely that our local grocery co-op posted an article about this in the copy I received today. The article echoes much of what Dr. Carter is teaching us, and also has a few other tips. I hope it’s OK if I share a few here?
    1. choose 1 meal/day to eat at the table, without distraction of music or television. Be mindful of all 5 senses while you’re eating and pay attention to how you feel 30-60 min after that meal, in comparison to other meals.
    2. plan at least 1 meal/week made entirely of local ingredients (co-ops make this easier)
    3. read food labels and be savvy about the ones that just know how to market their product
    4. learn a new kitchen skill
    5. foster a sense of gratitude by volunteering at a local food pantry, etc.
    6. consider buying a CSA share or starting your own garden. Some CSAs offer discounts if you volunteer on the farm, which is such a great way to become more engaged with your food
    7. Share your knowledge by cooking with your children or friends. Not only is it enjoyable, you are sharing your newfound knowledge and enthusiasm, and making it more likely your new habit will become engrained.

    Good luck,all! 🙂

    • Good info, LisaLou — thanks for outlining it, as I had the habit almost nailed before allowing myself to get derailed this past September. The familiarity with the recommendations that did work well for me helps me to ease back into them … maybe alongside my new habit-building or afterwards … One Day at a Time, of course!

  • Warren

    My resolution is to meditate every day for at least 20 minutes.
    My anchor will be when I arrive home from morning class and walk through the door.
    Routine:
    Shoes off
    Change to comfortable loose clothes
    Think about my reward which will be a cup of tea
    Brief check-in with my wife if she’s around
    Arrange my meditation cushion so it’s in the same place everyday
    Set up my timer
    Do my meditation
    Finish with 10 deep breaths
    Big stretch
    Reward myself

  • MaryH

    Today’s lecture was really excellent! This is so empowering to have a plan for changing all kinds of habits. My resolution is that when I am faced with an unfamiliar task or one that triggers anxiety for some reason, I will respond by thinking “Why not now? This is my chance to learn something new.” and then identify what the first step would be to accomplishing that task, take that first step, (which might be as simple as making a phone call or looking up some information.) and proudly say “Yea me!” I will also tell at least one other person about my accomplishment that day. Today’s worksheet made this a very concrete and doable resolution for me instead of something foggy and tentative.

  • Ellie

    Have just listened to Day 3 and then clicked to BJFogg to get ’10 Great Ways toCelebrate Success’ and not found this?!! How far in to his web site do I need to go? I followed about 3 separate clicks and did not come accross the above. Have I missed something?

  • JK

    I love the idea of breaking the resolutions down into turtle steps. This exercise was probably the easiest one I’ve done in the past three days! So here are my tiny steps:

    For my goal to eat smaller more healthy meals, I decided eating mindfully was a good first step and that tracking what I currently eat was a good first first step. Then, my 30 second tiny habit is simply: just before I sit down at the table, I will place a pen and tracking sheet near my plate. I KNOW just knowing i will have to “confess” what I ate and how much will instantly make me less likely to feel obligated to finish the plate or clean up my picky kids leftovers. putting a pen on the table won’t be much effort and will take a few seconds and that act alone will probably save me 100 calories per meal!

    For my goal to exercise: I chose to start by walking home from work. Instead of getting off the bus near my home, I will get off about a mile or two down, where my son’s school is. When I see my son’s school I will push the button to stop the bus. Pushing a button is effortless and takes no time at all, but I reckon if an entire bus full of people stop just for me, I will have to get off the bus and once it drives away i will have no other choice but to walk home. It’s hard t be lazy when you’re stranded on the street! If it works out, i will try to make it a habit to push the button sooner to increase the distance from home, and so i will have to walk faster to get home in the 30 minutes I set for myself as the time I will spend on exercising, eventually working up to jogging.

  • Wendy

    Hi Christine,
    I don’t see a link to BJ Fogg’s website on my worksheet. I found it by googling, but I’d love it if you could re-post the link to the page with 10 great ways to celebrate your success as I wasn’t able to easily find it on his site.
    Thanks!

  • Jaya Mork

    I could not find the link to BJ Fogg’s tips on how to reward ourselves…. anyone else find it?

  • Susan

    Christine, thanks so much for this. I am hoping, eventually, to use this to be a more mindful parent but I”m going to start with a much emotionally simpler issue: making a to-do-list for the next day at the end of each work day, and then looking at the to-do list first thing when I get into the office. I think that will be a good step toward taking control of some work time issues i’ve been struggling with.

    I love Anne Lamott (I’m an English teacher). Here’s her version of the story–I love the compassion that comes through in her father’s words and actions (and perhaps this is a good story for the dissertation writer in our midst, too):

    “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write [it] was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'”

  • The development of my habit and resolution making are peculiar. My resolution is about saving money and spending it more mindfully, but after today, I realise that my tiny habits and anchors are all emotional. Checking in with my emotions at the end of the day. Writing down one thing I feel gratitude for today. Expressing (usually in writing) any events from the day that have caused me to cling to certain emotions, positive or negative. And today, one of my rewards was a peaceful night of sleep!

  • I did well today with two small sessions, one of walking and one of cycling. Love the Turtle steps approach — reminds me nicely of Jill Badonsky and others’ recommendations of a ‘Kaizen’ approach to transforming one’s own behaviours. Excellent guidance TRULY and for real to apply this strategy … and mental rehearsal is such a huge help to me. THANKS for Day Three.

  • Warren

    I’m really like the small slow learning steps for creating my new habit

  • Leonard

    The class is really going well for me. I love the celebrate small victories part, I just laugh and grin spontaneously, takes no effort. I’ve sent my daily email to someone I care about each day, but haven’t got the whole anchor thing happening yet. Actually, I have a spreadsheet with a bunch of good habits I’ve been trying to instill (without much of a clue about how it all really works), and my sort-of anchor is simply opening that file on my computer. I’ve had this file for six years now and it’s interesting to see all the blank days and weeks when I failed to open the file. I’ve been relying on motivation and will power a lot, but I see now how the routine is the key. It’s worked for me with the habit of writing every day. My trigger is the first bit of free time I have in the day (after getting son up, fed, dressed, dropped off at school), when I write in my writing journal. Then I get to check that off in my spreadsheet. Now I know to celebrate! It’s so much more fun. I’m probably getting overly ambitious, with many healthy habits thriving at once (the email-a-friend one is new). I understand the risk of it all collapsing when things get stressed and tight. I’m going to try the teeny tiny habit thing: after I first open up my computer (which I do every day without fail), I will open my good habits spreadsheet before doing anything else. Thank you Christine!

  • Sonia

    I am a bit confused about tiny habits: right now are we only focusing on them ONLY or noting them AND going through the whole routine as well? For example if my resolution is to wake up at the same time every morning, and the tiny habit is to sit up in bed when the alarm goes off – do I then get out of bed or no? Or if I want to give my kids vitamins once a day, and my tiny habit is to say “Vitamins time!” after my anchor, do I then proceed to give them the vitamins?

  • Tip for the faint of heart: DON’T google “body hacking”…the majority of the results you’ll find are NOT what Dr. Carter is referring to, and DEFINITELY don’t try Google Images! Yikes!

  • Jane

    Hi- thanks for the posts — I now understand what anchor means and that the anchoring event can be what I call a trigger too (I guess that is what people meant, please correct me if I’m wrong.) Like many others, I had to pare down my initial “habit” choice. I also wanted to do about 20 things and finally understood focusing on one is better. But – I am confused about BJFogg and the relation of his approach to this. Doesn’t he have people pick 3 tiny habits?
    I want to stop eating unplanned foods, i.e. stop responding to perceived cravings, needs, food calling to me, etc. I had decided after the BJFogg etc. day to think of what I wanted to eat the next day after I got in bed in pm and then next am, in addition to thinking of next day, go over what I actually ate, saying “Yeah me” to staying on track. Now I am wondering if I shouldn’t refine it further and tie some action to the cravings, etc. that I feel. In other words, if I feel I am hungry right after I eat, and I know I ate enough, perhaps saying something to myself, or getting up and stepping outside (hard to do if it rains) or what? Am I understanding this correctly?

  • Jane

    After watching day 4 I’m not understanding the tracking and its relation to BJ Fogg who I thought said no tracking. Personally, I love tracking, love to see how COMMITTED I am to whatever I’m tracking but I don’t understand the psychological point or basis for not tracking vs. tracking.

    • This is a different program than BJ Fogg’s – his focus is on teaching you how to create a “tiny habit,” mine is on how to make a more major life change, or to keep a larger resolution. I think breaking down larger goals into tiny habits can be very effective, which is why I present it here. However, the research is really clear: tracking or measuring progress against larger goals leads to greater success. Does that make sense?

  • I’m not really identifying with the “licensing” concept. I mean, I understand it in terms of “I’ve eaten so well or exercised so much this week, I deserve a sugary fatty treat now,” but I don’t think it fits with my productivity-related resolution. I think a good streak of productivity will be really inspiring to me to keep going, so I’m really more afraid of the exact opposite (because it’s kind of already happening…): if I *don’t* see any immediate progress, I slide back into my self-defeating habits, feeling like I’m never going to get anywhere, being embarrassed to talk to my advisor, etc. That’s also why I’m having a hard time with the tiny habit – I’m trying to start with just reciting some kind of anti-perfectionist mantra (“There’s no such thing as perfect – good enough is good enough” or the like) without berating myself when I don’t accept the work I’ve done and move on to the next task on my list, but that’s not getting anything done! As I mentioned in a reply on someone else’s comment, I’m having issues genuinely savoring my self-praise reward/celebration because I’m subconsciously arguing that it’s NOT good enough and I’m NOT doing the best I can do. Any advice? Or are these issues I should bring up with my therapist instead of here? ;-P

  • RR

    My resolution is to exercise when I can – days it is realistic with my work schedule. However, since January started, I haven’t been able to make it happen, though the daily exercises are helping me break the process down into steps. My question – should I change resolutions?

    • Maybe. I would start with something that you can do everyday. Can you exercise for even 5 minutes at the same time each day? If so, commit to one 5 minute circuit every day, and do more when it works with your schedule, but plan it ahead of time. If you need help with that circuit, I’ll post a link.

      • RR

        Wow – thanks for the speedy reply! It helps if I redefine exercise to include all purposeful physical activity. I have taken a daily walk since January 1 but haven’t gotten to the gym. I feel like I can move forward if I continue with at least a daily walk, and make the gym exercise part of the larger plan.

  • Dhamo

    Hello Dr. Christine Carter, I really enjoy your online session. My resolution is go to bed around 10.00 pm even on weekend.
    My reward is to wake early and have plenty of time for professional development.
    My question is what would be my anchor & tiny habits?
    So far I have been going to bed around 10.00pm everyday
    Can you explain me what is difference between anchor vs cue/trigger?

    Thanks in advance

    • Anchors, cues, and triggers are all the same thing: they are the feeling or behavior that launch, or come before, a habit.

  • Darlene

    Okay, day 4 and 4th post (I feel this is an important component of the whole process). My goal is to eat mindfully. My tiny habit, every time I think of food or eating, is to either physically go into my closet and look at the dress I want to look smashing in or, if I’m away from home, visualize the dress. It is actually becoming automatic 🙂

    I do have a question, though, as to my baseline goal and my larger goal. Or does it matter? I listed my baseline goal as to lose 10 lbs. and my greater goal as to eat mindfully . . . . . but wait, that’s my original resolution. Do I have it backwards?

  • Madia T

    Okay, Dr. Carter, this is so cool! I have revamped my tiny habits to help with the resolution. What lesson four and the previous ones have done is this: allowed me to break it down and think about the small things that make a big difference in my life and my resolution. My tiny habits, the first few, are: 1) After my alarm goes off at 5:00AM, I would drink some water; 2) After I get some water, I would make up my bed; and 3) After I make up my bed, I would meditate. The meditation is the key to keeping me relaxed, focused, and calm throughout my day. Tracking this will work on another goal of mine – Journaling! Thank you so much.

  • Dee Dee

    I’m not sure how to pick the habit on which to work during the course. Is
    it important to start with a small habit…or a small piece of a larger habit?
    Is it important to start with something where the trigger is available now
    (versus starting next Monday)?

    I can pick a small thing like
    taking vitamins. I can easily set the trigger and establish a reward.

    A bigger problem for me is how
    to beat back the chaos of paper and things in my house. I tried working on it
    yesterday for 12 minutes. (I picked the time to do it as the time when my
    daughter was briefly occupied doing something else.) It went great. I gave
    myself a big “at a girl” for doing that time (instead of beating myself up
    mentally for not doing it before). The problem with selecting that habit as the
    one to use for the course is that I plan to set the trigger as my arrival home
    after I drop my daughter off every day at school–and she’s on break until
    Monday.

    Is it best to pick something
    like the vitamins (or any other habit that I can launch into before my daughter
    is back at school)?

    thanks!

    Dee Dee

    • LisaLou

      Hi Dee Dee! I have a very similar goal…I actually decided to get my kids (and hopefully husband) involved in it though…10 minutes (as measured by 4 loudly-played songs we specifically choose) of rapid de-cluttering every day, after the dinner dishes are cleaned up. I woudln’t let your daughter’s being out of school stop you, if that is really your highest priority…maybe find a temporary trigger (an alarm clock going off at the time she comes home? Maybe even get her in on the act…when the alarm clock goes off, have her pretend to walk in the door…etc) 🙂

  • Karen

    I found the licensing effect interesting. It sounds rather like the intelligence/effort dichotomy (i.e. good is something you are; commitment is something you do).

    • YES. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I bet you are right, that that is exactly what is at work.

  • Nona

    Today’s lesson made me wonder if I picked a bad resolution. My goal is just to track all of my calories. My tiny habit was just to pick up my cell phone when I feel hungry, so that I am ready to track my calories. So now I have to track how well I am doing at tracking my calories and it is starting to feel silly!

    • LisaLou

      i had a similar reaction to my resolution. i purposely picked something small (10 min of decluttering each night), but as it turns out, I think our resolution can be a bit bigger, and then we pick a small piece of it to work on first. So maybe your resolution is to “eat more mindfully” or something more general, and then tracking your calories becomes a “tiny habit” you work on (although honestly, that doesn’t sound that tiny to me; I have so much trouble with that). but a very good one to pursue! I had to smile at your tracking of your tracking. 🙂

      • Nona

        I just figured out how to order these posts in a way that I can find mine again, so just saw your comment!

        I did end up redoing my resolution, because tracking calories just wasn’t working for me. I was eating everything in sight because it was OK as long as I tracked it! LOL So I did change it to eating more healthily, which is going much better.

        As far as your resolution goes, I think it is a good one. It is exactly what my mom is doing for hers. She added putting things away as she finishes with them as her tiny habit and it has been going well for her.

        Maybe keep it, but add some tiny habits that help you move towards a larger goal of being more organized?

  • Q

    The habit I’m trying to create is to stop “multitasking” which really means stop trying to do 20 things at once – for example, when I’m watching these Cracking the Habit Code class videos, I’m so tempted to check my email, be on Facebook, play solitaire on my phone, make a list of what I need to do today, eat my breakfast, and so on. I do this ALL the time!!!! Nothing gets done well. I feel like I’m losing the art of focus and concentration. Now my attention span is like 30 secs long. I’m having a hard time applying the tips in these videos to creating my new habit of focus. I used to feel like I have to do all of these things at once so I could get everything done. Now I know it’s detrimental and I’m not as productive and I don’t like it. I feel addicted to doing it all. My tiny habit has been to try to bring my mind back every time I start to open another window, pick up my phone, or make a list in my head. I try to say, “come on back. focus. you’re so much more productive when you’re focused.” And then when I do come back, I reward myself with, “Great job! You love being focused and productive!” I have to do this about every 30 seconds sometimes. I’m trying to expand it to 1 min. but it feels like such slow going. Anyway, like I said, I don’t know how to apply some of Dr. Carter’s tips as they pertain to my habit. It doesn’t seem like the examples she uses quite fit my situation and I’m having a hard time translating that for me. Any ideas?

    • I actually think you are doing great; next week we are going to talk about building willpower, which is really going to help you. For now, 30 seconds at a time. Try picking a particular trigger, e.g., when I sit down to read my email, I’m going to ONLY read email and not open other windows (etc.) for X amount of time.

      • Q

        Thank you Dr. Carter. I’m definitely making progress (and by the way, while I was only focusing on one thing – the multi-tasking – I have seen great progress in other areas as well. I’ve been exercising more regularly, and I’ve even lost weight!) I think I’m up to a minute now sometimes. And you’re right, closing other windows, silencing alerts on my phone, and so much more. It’s all working. I have a feeling this is going to take me several months to make a solid dent but I’m seeing small changes quite clearly and I’m proud and encouraged. Thank you again!

      • Q

        Hi again Dr. Carter. I just wanted to say that I spent 17 minutes today working on something before i “HAD” to check my phone and my email and FB. I know that totally sounds pitiful. BUT, it’s about 15 minutes longer than I’ve gone before. I did *think about* checking all of those other things but only about 3 times during that 17 minutes and I was quickly able to get back to the task at hand. Also, I read a book last for 20 minutes (set my timer). It was difficult to concentrate on it at first but after maybe 5-10min, my mind started wandering less and less.

        By the way, even though the 21 days are over, I’m still dedicating 20min every day to work on my new habit (plan, practice, re-evaluating, revise, etc.) the same way I did for the first 21 days watching your videos and working on the worksheets.

        Thanks again! So helpful!

    • Joy

      I often have this same problem. Some things that have helped me to focus are setting my timer on my phone to do a particular task (say 5 minutes to put away xyz; or 5 minutes to take a break; or 15 minutes to tend to email), and to take a little post-it note and write down the next 2-3 things I need to do, and have it right in front of me. Sometimes I am tempted to just stand or run around and do things; sitting for a period to focus on what I am doing also helps. Good luck!

      • Q

        I’ve been trying the timer on my phone trick. it’s helpful. Still a struggle, but that’s a great tool. Thank you!

    • Me too, both Joy and Q. Do we have a touch of ADD, maybe? Dr Ruth Buczynski in a recent interview about neuroplasticity stuff revealed that multi-tasking has a rotten way of further eroding our ability to focus. She praises mindfulness techniques as terrific ways to retrain our brain to stick productively to doing ONE task at a time. Won’t be easy, but I am ‘gonna give it a go.!!

      • Q

        I totally believe that my ability to focus has been eroded… but I’m determined to build it back up!!!! Thanks Kit.

  • Wendy

    Hello Christine and everyone
    I am so pleased to have made time each day for the video, worksheet and resolution. My resolution initially was mindful eating but after day one I switched to doing my Pilates immediately after I put my son to bed, followed by a walk.
    I was interested in your comment in yesterday’s video about daily weigh ins versus weekly. I have been weaning myself off daily weigh ins as I have slowly come to understand that for me this fed into expecting unrealistic weight loss, and disappointment when there was some increases as well as decreases. I am finding weekly weigh ins more helpful as they support more realistic weight loss goals.
    Can you give some examples of random rewards? I find the examples that you give really help me to translate the theory to practice.
    Thank you so much for sharing this course, and your expertise.
    Wendy
    PS is there a way I can set up the discussion thread so it shows posts chronologically?

    • Darlene

      Hi Wendy, click on the word ‘Discussion’ that is right below the comment area. You are given the choice of ‘Best’, ‘Newest’, ‘Oldest’.

      • LisaLou

        oh, thank you! I was wondering the same thing!

      • Wendy

        Thanks Darlene

      • Ellie

        Thanks Darlene – you have answered a question I was about to ask as I was getting irritated with the way comments were being shown! Ellie

  • Judy C

    I just listened to Day 5. Can anyone give me an idea how the fishbowl technique can be used by a person doing this alone? How do I give myself random rewards? – actually put slips of paper into something, some with various material rewards listed (which I would then give myself I guess) and some with positive words…So I’d know what the rewards are, I just wouldn’t know which one I would be picking on any given day?

    PS – I find myself wanting to have an exercise goal as it seems easier to apply some of the suggestions to rather than my goal of meditation. But I’m sticking to it (the meditation goal) as I see benefits already. I’m trying to be patient and wait to take on other goals till our 21 days are all or mostly gone.

    • LisaLou

      I hear you! I’m making a list of other things I want to tackle (I’m envisioning every 21 days I start a new one, but that’s probably ridiculous given my history) and included in my list are so many of everyone else’s ideas. I find I really need examples…

  • Darlene

    I’m having a little bit of trouble with today’s class . . . My resolution is Mindful Eating. My habit is to visualize or physically go to my closet to look at the dress I want to look great in. So question 1 on worksheet – what do I look forward to doing that relates to mindful eating or how do I recreate the dopamine that I get from eating in a non mindful manner? I just don’t know.

    Question 2 – adding an element of play or challenge – I could only come up with to put together or create a healthy snack- this could become cumbersome and not immediate enough (and not fun). Question 3 – When was I eating mindfully in a joyful way? I don’t know but I remember how I felt in the dress when it looked good on me (it was a mother/daughter outing) . . . my daughter is now in college out of state. How do I recreate that environment or feeling?

    I can’t quite make the connection and I’m worried. It reminds me of math when I was a kid and I don’t understand the basic most elemental rule and I get further and further behind and then give up. I don’t want to give up, I want this to stick. It’s very hard to follow through each day (notice I’m not posting until now and I watched the video this a.m.) . . . slipping 🙁

    • LisaLou

      Hang in there, Darlene! I’m so glad you posted something. I too am struggling a bit with today’s lesson (it all makes total sense, but it gets harder to actually APPLY it to my situation). And I know EXACTLY what you mean about the math class!! BUT, I am pretty sure this is very different. Hopefully Dr. Carter will chime in with some of her wonderful ideas, but I have the impression that even if you skipped “Revving up Your Reward System”, you’d still be OK. It gets back to that perfectionistic thing…if we were all perfect habit-formers, we would do every single suggestion of every single day of this class. I feel like that is not humanly possible, at least, not for us first-timers.

      Were you feeling OK until this day?

      personally, I really like what you have so far — about visualizing the dress you want to look great it (I just wrote that down for when I try to tackle “eating mindfully” in a month or so

      Do you enjoy taking classes / learning new things? A post in our local co-op newsletter the other day suggested a resolution of “eating more mindfully” could be supported by taking classes. Only if that is a thing you enjoy…you could pair it with this resolution.

      Keep posting AND reading others posts….everyone has such good ideas and are so supportive. Don’t give up; you CAN do this!

      • I agree with you, LisaLou: we can’t do all of this all the time. Ditch perfectionism, and incorporate what you can, when you can!

      • Darlene

        Hi LisaLou – Thank you so much for the pep talk! I appreciate your suggestions. The reminder that it doesn’t all have to be done perfectly is . . . what else can I say . . . Perfect!

    • Ginger C

      Hi Darlene, my resolution for this class is to wake up early, but I’ve been idly playing with some of my other resolutions on these worksheets. I have a resolution to only eat at 4 set meal times – breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. Not quite the same as yours, but I thought my answers might help you a little.

      Question 1 – relate something you enjoy to your resolution.
      Healthy eating requires a lot of boring washing and chopping so how can I make it fun?
      I have a favorite songs playlist that I adore, so I will listen to this playlist while I prepare a healthy meal.
      I like talking to my mother, so I will talk to her during food prep.
      Now I’m looking forward to meal prep!

      Question 2 – how can I add an element of challenge?
      I will learn to chop like a professional cook. I will watch free online videos on how to chop, then I will view my meal prep as practicing my craft. (Think of the onion-chopping scene in the movie “Julie & Julia”.) By the way, I this is only useful if challenges motivate you.

      Question 3 – joyful eating
      I remember listening to a psychologist once about how he treats patients who actively dislike a particular food, say broccoli, but want to learn to like it. He has them fast for 12 hours or so, then come into his office. Then he serves them broccoli. He claims that’s all it takes. There’s no better seasoning than hunger.
      I don’t know about his treatment plan, but I do know that hunger is a fantastic seasoning. When I sit down in the morning to a fresh baguette and butter, it tastes soooo good. (Remembering how good food tastes when I’m hungry actually helps me to turn away when I mindlessly reach for a snack. I remind myself that my next meal will taste so much better and be more joyfully savored if I don’t eat this snack.)

      I enjoy reading your posts. I really hope you stick with the class!

      • Darlene

        Hi Ginger – Wow, thanks for the lifeline! Addressing my questions or struggles point by point specifically to my resolution is just what I needed. Thank you for taking the time to go into such detail and for the encouragement!

      • LisaLou

        love your ideas to build rewards into meal prep! I too am making notes on future resolutions. I think another one, for me, for chopping vegis, will be to get my knives professionally sharpened!

  • PeppySt

    I was bummed I missed day 1 because I had commitments, and REALLY bummed that I missed day 4 because the site wasn’t working for me *shrugs*…I don’t know if anyone else had that problem? But, I keep truckin’ along here. 😀 Actually, a lot of what is being said is resonating with me. I started making changes back in Nov…and have been slowly progressing and adding/changing things incrementally. It has really worked. I really looked at things that were my “triggers” and started making changes their first. I needed to quit smoking…but I also had to give up pop. They go hand-in-hand for me. I’ve tried to give them up together before with no success. So, I haven’t had a pop/caffeine since the beginning of Dec. Now I have gone 5 days without a cigarette. I am having very little trouble! It’s amazing me! When I always try changing too much at once I continually fail. These classes are reaffirming and they encourage me that I’m on the right track this time. 😀

    • I couldn’t do Day 4 either, because the site was down. I even tried to send an email, but never got a response. Disappointing, but I’m not going to let it get me off track!

      Congratulations on your successes so far!

      • Oh no! I did learn that the website was down for about 20 minutes – we still haven’t figured out why. I’m sorry that it interfered with your ability to take the class…but glad to hear that you haven’t been derailed!

  • PeppySt

    LOVED day 5!! Very helpful! “Rewards” was an area I have been struggling with. Can’t wait to implement some of the ideas. 😀

  • Dee Dee

    I didn’t hear how to make the fishbowl technique work for oneself. Any ideas?

    • Can you have someone else help you set it up for you? Just to keep some element of surprise?

  • Day 6 Worksheet is blank for me – anyone else having trouble seeing it?

    • I just tried and didn’t have any trouble…

      • Thanks Dr. Carter. I realized it was my machine and my version of adobe. Figured a way around it though.

  • MARY

    I am enjoying this class very much and it is really helping me to look at making and keeping resolutions in a very positive framework. I look forward to the remaining classes. Thank you Christine so much!

  • Darlene

    Okay, I’m back on board thanks to the care and encouragement from this community! Who knew my posts were even read??? Cool.

    • jen

      Darlene, so glad you’re back. I’m just catching up with the posts and saw you were feeling discouraged. My goal is similar to yours, to make healthy eating choices, and things have been going well for me. Until yesterday when I……… ATE PIE FOR BREAKFAST.
      I love to bake, had made a beautiful pie with my daughters the previous day, refrained from having any at all, then woke up yesterday and went nuts. Can I blame the licensing effect?
      Anyway, I’m going to give myself a pass and try to resume my good choices.
      Just wanted to let you know, this is a struggle for me too.
      Has anyone else “fallen off the wagon”?
      p.s. the pie was delicious.

      • Darlene

        Hi Jen – you just gave me a big chuckle 🙂 If you have to succumb to a temptation – nothing better than homemade pie! Today was good for me in that I was reminded how tasty food is when you’re hungry. Although I think it can be a bit tricky . . . . if I deprive myself too long then I risk overeating and if I eat too soon, I’m eating just to eat. My goal – eat when I’m hungry. As far as the pie goes . . . Progress not Perfection!

  • Pingback: Resolutions | smorosoli's Blog()

  • Day 6: I *love* that you’re having us anticipate and plan for obstacles! That is so important, and I so rarely remember to do it. But I know that when I do, it can make all the difference.

    In my case, I’ve decided that on days when I’m feeling too shy or overwhelmed (or busy/distracted by my son’s needs!) to email a friend I haven’t spoken with recently, I can write a special note for my husband or my mom instead. That way I’m not breaking my habit, but I’m also not adding to my stress level.

    I’ve also decided that I will buy birthday and anniversary cards only once a month, rather than trying to find the time to do it for each individual occasion.

  • I have been thinking of this ever since I made my resolutions. PEOPLE in my life are the greatest obstacles, whether they know it or not, and I posted about that even on day one. I even posted at that time what I was going to do about it. I have decided NOT to tell my husband I’m going on a diet, because he undermines me every time. I decided to make time to walk home from work so I’m not taking time away from my kids (too much anyway). I decided to join a class to help me ENJOY the exercise I’m going to start. I downloaded some interesting apps to help me stay on track with the food intake and the exercise…every day, I listen to Christine, make some turtle steps towards being set up to accomplish my goals, and feel great that I may actually accomplish what I want to accomplish this year!

    • Jessica, I relate to your wariness of others’ watchfulness. In the past, those I thought would be my natural, helpful cheer leaders in fact became more like vigilantes, so I prefer not to involve them. There is some self-consciousness inhibiting me too, as an introvert; even well-meaning questions about how I’m doing with the new plan can upset me.

      Seems best to keep my family/friends Cabinet small and to choose only those whom I can ask NOT to verge on militancy. Luckily, I have a septet of trusted other women (our ages range from 20’s to late 60’s) on a health and fitness website, where we also blog. Perfect to serve as a dispassionate supportive gang of ‘Goil-friends’, as we already operate that way. We are honest and sensitive with each other — what a blessing, now that I REALIZE this anew!

  • wendy

    Hi everyone
    I have been telling everyone about this course, and have just emailed my cabinet of advisors/supporters/inspirers!
    The online community is another source of support and inspiration for me so hence this post 🙂
    Wendy

    • LisaLou

      i too feel that this community is part of my cabinet!

  • gml

    Just sent a note off to my cabinet, great class today!

  • Clare

    Okay, so today’s class is a bit of a challenge for me… I know it may sound crazy, but I am pretty introverted when it comes to talking about resolutions and new projects. I have realized that I kind of like to keep them to myself, and work on them privately, at least until I have established them as a routine. I really think that some of this is because I have to be so public about so much of my life (work, parenting, grad school), that I like to have some “me” time and projects that I do not have to share. But, if I am being honest, I am also scared of telling others about what I am trying to do in case I fail and have to explain that to them. There is also this weird thing that I feel as if I shouldn’t “brag” about what I am trying to achieve. I know that makes no sense, but I think that I am pretty heavily socialized to keep my achievements quiet, because they might make others uncomfortable, or because I am ashamed about the fact that my life is privileged enough to be able to worry about these “first world problems” when there are people with much more serious problems out there.

    Wow! Now that I write all of that, I see that that is a lot of baggage. So, sharing my resolutions and progress with others is really difficult for me, even though I see that it is important to have support. Any suggestions for how I overcome these fears?

    • Danielle

      Hi! My feelings resonate with your post. The interesting thing I’ve found is that some people have no trouble talking about their challenges and their successes (and it doesn’t sound like bragging, at least not most of the time). I have no answers, but from personal experience I have felt less frustrated when I find something about myself that I feel comfortable sharing with others and then actually sharing it. Unfortunately people seem to mistake shyness for aloofness and sharing details about oneself helps reduce that impression. Best wishes.

    • I was thinking almost exactly the same thing while listening to today’s lesson. I was even hesitant to tell my husband that I was taking this class – and I honestly don’t know why! I seem to have a deep fear of being judged. *sigh*

      I don’t know that I have a lot of suggestions for overcoming those fears, but I wanted to at least let you know that others out there share them (or at least, I do). We should probably just try to start small, and just pick one or two people to share our progress with.

    • Darlene

      Hi Clare – I think posting comments is just as important to the person posting as it is to the people reading them. It makes us feel more committed to the process, can be therapeutic and our comments touch someone whether we know it or not.

      I’ve been trying to make a ‘habit’ of commenting daily in the hopes of benefitting myself . . . commitment, overcoming shyness etc. etc. . . we all have some of that baggage . . . and by putting myself out there, hopefully making someone else feel not so alone . . . (my two cents worth).

      One more thing – I think the best way to overcome the fear of sharing your comments is to sign in every day whether you have anything to say or not. Create the habit or ritual. You could start with ‘just checking in’ or ‘hope everyone is hanging in there’ and then your comments will grow as your comfort does. However, I’d say your comments so far have been very important to the discussion. Just some thoughts, I didn’t mean to ramble 🙂

    • Clare

      Thanks, Darlene, reedsandstrings and Danielle. I am really touched that you took the time to respond to my post, and encouraged that I am not the only one struggling with this.

  • Claudia

    Christine ~ Wonderful class!! I am having trouble with the download of today’s worksheet (Day 7) — I can download and read the PDF, but the content seems corrupted and the first few items are blank instead of having questions. Would you kindly repost the link? Thanks.

  • Q

    Is today’s worksheet (Day 7) messed up for anyone else? I see the numbers for the questions but there are no words so I don’t know what the questions are.

    • Danielle

      Yes, I had the same trouble. #1 on the worksheet says just “Wh”. I’m enjoying the class, having successes and challenges, and glad to be able to keep working on it. Looking forward to downloading the complete Day 7 worksheet.

      • Danielle

        Of course, I’ve only downloaded the worksheet and not watched the video yet. Maybe those first 3 items are supposed to be blank and the instructions for the worksheet are in the video . . .

    • I haven’t had any problems downloading the files but they won’t open in Word so I end up copying and pasting each section in. Today’s looks like this:
      Day 7 Gather your Cabinet

      Who will best support you in keeping this resolution?

      Who can you add to your cabinet for advice and expertise?

      Who inspires you?
      Who is already doing what you want to be doing?

      To-do for today:
      Contact those who inspire you to be in your support. Is there someone who thinks they are in
      your cabinet but are actually undermining you?

  • Carol

    Christine,

    For the first time today, the program is not permitting me to save the completed worksheet and will only download the blank worksheet. This is a problem for me as I don’t have a printer. What gives?

    • How strange. We’ll look into it right away.

    • Mine popped up a little purple message at the top of the form saying you have to click “Sign,” add some text or a “signature,” and then click “Done Signing” to save a *permanent* copy of the pdf with all included text. That worked for me, but the only problem is you can’t go back and edit it after learning more on another day, as I have frequently done.

      • Carol

        Thanks Teresa. The problem now seems to be fixed–I’ve just been able to save a completed worksheet.

  • RR

    Worksheet entries 1, 2, and 3 don’t appear complete for me. Not sure if it’s a download problem or if the file needs to be re-uploaded.

  • For those having trouble with today’s worksheet, it shows up right on my computer, but when I just tried to copy and paste the questions, it showed up as “(1) Wh

    • Darlene

      Thanks Teresa!

  • Danielle

    Class has been very interesting and helpful so far. I’m interested in finding out more about the studies involving elderly men learning to express their emotions. Dr. Carter, it would be great if you could post the reference or a link to more information about that. Thanks in advance!

    • I learned about those studies in conversation with Dan Siegel at UCLA. I think he writes about them in his most recent book, and I think he references them in a talk he gave for the Greater Good Science Center (which is probably available online).

  • How many people should you have in a cabinet? Is two enough? Is ten too many?

    • I think 2-3 is perfect, but however many people will actively support you, that doesn’t add to your task-list of keeping them updated.

  • raquel, in berkeley

    Hi, The only day I’ve missed and I’m not sure if we were supposed to get firm on our resolutions. What did day #2 cover

    • Getting Your Brain on AutoPilot: break your resolution down into a specific “Anchor,” “Routine,” and “Reward.” My husband says ARR like a pirate to remember it. ;-P You can find several examples in other people’s comments.

  • Today’s lesson is so tough for me! I do not have and have never had (or wanted!) a wide social network. I hate the idea of sharing my progress or my setbacks with anyone at all. I even hesitated to tell my husband I was starting this class and that I wanted to spend more time with loved ones. Partly, I was afraid that he (also an introvert) would say that he wasn’t interested. It turned out that he was actually really supportive, thankfully.

    While I don’t think that I will be specifically telling very
    many people about what I’m doing, the whole point of my resolution is to
    deepen my connections with my loved ones. I’m an introvert who works in
    education, with of a group of grade schoolers. It’s a job I love (most
    days), but it doesn’t leave me a lot of energy for visiting with
    friends.

    I need to really get my husband on board with
    me here. I may need him to help me initiate some of our social activities, or at least not let me bail on them.

  • LisaLou

    There is a book called Balcony People, by Joyce Landorf Heatherly, that I think describes this concept in such a lovely way. Picture a stage, and you’re on it; this is your life. Balcony People are out in the audience among many, many others that you will come into contact with. They are the ones in the front row, hanging over the balcony, not missing a step, cheering you on…

    • wendy

      That sounds lovely!

  • wendy

    Morning all
    I have found the course has had a spillover effect into other behaviours…I got back in the pool this morning for the first time since October. I am delighted with myself.
    And I am in my office working on a ‘write for two hours a day’ PhD goal. Looking forward to granola bar and telephone chat with friend scheduled for after my two hours.
    Got some lovely supportive emails from my cabinet yesterday.
    Have a good day everyone. Sun is shining here today.
    Better get on with some ‘proper’ writing – if only PhD writing were as easy 😉

  • Stephanie

    My resolution is to practice more patience with my kids (i.e. more mindful parenting, less yelling). My anchor is to take 3 deep breaths and smile when I feel my patience dropping and my annoyance setting in (which can be triggered by a myriad of things…kids bickering, kids not following directions, etc, argh!). My hubby, who is in my cabinet, and I try to remind each other to stop and take our breaths but it is hard! It becomes such a knee-jerk reaction…”stop yellling at your sister!”…when the kids are at it with each other and I find it difficult to get past my initial reaction. I am using the smile to try and trigger happy thoughts but I guess I end up looking like a crazy person. One my daughters keeps asking me while eyeing me warily – “mommy, why are you smiling like that?”.

    • Ellie Kopiel

      This made me laugh- the last sentence. Children notice new habits- good as well as bad. It reminds me of when my children were young.

    • This cracks me up. My daughters would find good company in my daughters…

    • Darlene

      What a nice way for me to start my day . . . laughing heartily at your ‘smile’ comments. Hang in there!

    • Liz

      The most helpful thing for me in shifting my approach to child-raising was the suggestion that I always step to my child’s side. That is, instead of scolding or shaming or blaming, to step in with understand. Here’s a not-very-realistic idea of what I mean: “Wow, you are both so mad at each other. It sounds awful! How about you two separate for 5 minutes? I’ll set the timer. Jane where will you be for the next five minutes? Sara, how about you?”

    • Stephanie I have a similar resolution that I’ve simply called “snap less” so that it refers not just to my relationship with my children, although that is the key area I would like to improve. Overall I sound like you because their issues, emotions, etc. are my trigger and I’d love to figure out how to reprogram the way I react, which is usually negatively. Hindsight I can see my reaction isn’t helping the situation, it is just making the problem bigger. My tiny habits are to close my eyes, take 5 deep breaths and I’ve added meditating (formally once a day but even while brushing my teeth or washing dishes I try to clear my mind and hit the refresh button). Your smile comment put a smile on my face 🙂

  • Lynette

    I had so many good habits I wanted to develop – exercise more, meditate more frequently, practice singing, practice French – that I didn’t know where to start. In fact, I felt overwhelmed by the clutter in my life.
    I have a home office, and when I finished working, my desk was generally overflowing with papers slipping and sliding this way and that. I was too tired to do anything about when I finished work, and overwhelmed and exhausted when I looked at it in the morning.
    After watching the return of Downton Abbey on Sunday night, I felt relaxed, so much so that I decided to go into my office and just do ten minutes of straightening up. In ten minutes, it was all organized – decision fatigue had apparently been what had been keeping me from doing it those other times. Next morning I arrived at my desk refreshed and eager to work.
    Next project, my bedside table.
    I think I will concentrate for now on finding when to do those tasks that bother me – this seems to me to be a strong foundation stone for constructing a plan that will allow me to focus on those things that I truly love, but somehow haven’t been able to get to, And the intrinsic reward was so great that I can’t believe it.

    • Me too! I just had new wood floors put in and so, by necessity and with 2 weeks off work, I reduced a ton of clutter in those rooms…that feeling is so amazing and yet my office and several closets in my now lovely home are disasters! I feel overwhelmed and it keeps me from even knowing where to start. The 10 minute plan sounds great! I think it would keep the momentum going… Im going to try it tomorrow with a timer. ( I LOVE Downton too!)Thanks

  • Janet

    First post here! I am the type who loves resolutions/goals and tends to meet her goals except in a few very specific areas. I am loving this course. Thanks so much, Christine.

    THE BIG PICTURE
    I need to lose weight and exercise daily to decrease my risk of diabetes (I am at high risk).

    PROGRESS SO FAR
    Since May, 2012, I have exercised most days and have lost 25 pounds. 🙂

    IDEALLY….
    I would like to lose another 10 – 20 lbs. This would put me at the ideal weight for someone my height/ethnicity re: diabetes prevention. However, I have not weighed this low since middle school.

    MAJOR PROBLEM AREAS
    I eat emotionally/compulsively.
    I’m addicted to white flour/sugar
    I compulsively snack between 3 – 6 pm

    2013 Resolution
    To not snack between lunch and dinner. Instead, as soon as I get home from work, I will walk for 20 minutes. ANCHOR> Arrive home from work at 3:15 pm. NEW ROUTINE> Walk for 20 minutes. REWARD> Check emails/FB, etc.

    Here is my tiny habit to meet this resolution. “AFTER I take off my work clothes, I WILL put on my running shoes.” The REWARD is turning on my computer.

    POTENTIAL OBSTACLE

    I get home too late on Tues/Thurs to walk. For now, I will still do the tiny habit of putting on my running shoes after I get home (even though as soon as I get home, we eat dinner).

    Best wishes to everyone in the program!

    • Wendy

      Hi Janet
      My goodness, you have achieved so much. Yay you! Good luck with your 2013 resolutions.
      Wendy

  • Mom in East LA

    The course is wonderful and very much appreciated. Do wish, however, that is were truly, completely “free”—as promised. Today’s lesson suggests that we re-visit lesson 3 for review, but we then find that this will cost $39.99 for “premium version.” This does feel like a marketing hook. Said dollar amount may seem negligible to those w/ comfortable lives and disposable resources, but for those of us w/ financial struggles, it is simply is not possible. It is unfortunate that this offering is, at the end of the day (no pun intended), monetized. A true gift is fully and whole-heartedly GIVEN.

    • Hi mom in East LA,

      I’m glad that you are enjoying the course. Did you save your Day 3 worksheet? That is, of course, yours to keep. The cost of producing and offering this class have been huge, and offering it for free means that it is not something that I will likely make money on. I offer the premium version to defray some, but not all, of the costs of creating the free version. My hope is that in the future I’ll be able to offer all of these courses to people who need them regardless of their ability to pay. But I also do not have unlimited funds, nor am I backed by a large corporation. The cost of creating this class, and the considerable opportunity costs given the huge amount of time it took to create the course, have come out of my own pocket. That time and money IS a true gift that is fully and whole-heartedly given. I hope you continue to enjoy and appreciate the course, and that you get a lot out of it.
      Christine

      • Ellie Kopiel

        I am very happy to have this offer of a free course and it has actually made sure that I clock in every day. I know that had it been available continuously I would have got behind and then dropped out. So knowing it is available for 24hrs has motivated me to stick with it. Thankyou Christine

        • Wendy

          Me too!

      • Liz

        @Christine–Thank you for this explanation. I too was feeling kind of uncomfortable with the frequent suggestion to “buy the premium version.” Here’s a thought–if it is helpful: What if you pro-rated the class? That is, for people who are taking the free version and miss a day, perhaps they could download just that day’s audio at 1/21st of the fee. For people who want to buy the whole thing, the “premium rate” would apply. Or, you could offer the pro-rated sessions at one-twenty-first of the non-discounted fee, but the whole thing at the discounted rate…FWIW

        • Great idea – right now I don’t really have the back-end web help to set that up quickly, but I’ll look into how much that would cost to set up.

  • As next week, we will be talking about willpower, I have to recommend a book I read in 2011 years–it is quick and easy and the image of the chattering (pick annoying animal of your choice) on your shoulder really helped me re-focus on my lists and drove me back towards habits.
    Willpower: The Rediscovery of Humans’ Greatest Strength by Dr Roy F Baumeister, John (John Marion) Tierney in Books

  • remiv

    Yay no worksheet today! I must confess that is the most challenging part for me and I don’t know if I have it right.

    I am working on being a more patient parent. I am having a hard time identifying an Anchor. The new tiny habit is taking a breath before reacting. The triggers occur at different times of the day, so I am noting when I am at my most vulnerable, I am noting my feelings to different situations and what sets me off. Fatigue is a big part of it. Expectations are another. Through this whole process I am noticing my mood. I guess becoming more aware is a good step. Its just that I am not exactly sure if I am doing it right! Perhaps I need more research.
    Is there anyone else out there working on something similar that can offer some advice? thx!

    • It sounds to me like you are doing it right! Don’t discount the value of becoming more aware — awareness is a really important first step!

  • Theresa Lozach

    Dr. Carter and others – I am having trouble with my “reward” for stretching at night. I feel like my reward structures, as a person, aren’t strong and are linked to doing things that aren’t healthy for me like having a treat, or watching TV. Anyone have any suggestions regarding rewards they are using for themselves in this process? It would be greatly appreciated.

    • Janet

      I do one of my stretches while waiting for the water to get hot for my shower. So the reward is the hot shower. Another stretch is done on my bed right before going to sleep, so the reward is sleeping. 🙂 So far, these rewards seem adequate. I should probably add a “Yay, me” in there too.

    • Wendy

      Hi Theresa
      I like Janet’s suggestions. Could you treat yourself to a nice shower gel/ body lotion/handcream and nurture yourself as your reward? In the Christmas sale I bought my favourite shower gel, and I have a lavendar soap in my bathroom. The scent is a real sensory cue to relax.
      Keep up the good work!

    • Can you stretch while you watch TV (and only watch TV while you stretch)? Then you’ll really look forward to doing it…

  • Lisa

    I thought I’d post this wonderful website of beautifully designed cards with terrific sayings to inspire for 2013.
    http://www.toresolveproject.com

    • jen

      Thanks, Lisa. These are awesome!

  • Janet

    This might sound crazy but when Christine said in today’s lesson that we had to remove the next temptation (because our will-power has been depleted) I immediately thought of my lock box. I try not to have anything tempting in the house to eat, but of course, my family has their snacks. They put all their food in the lock box. Out of sight, out of mind. As long as I don’t see it, I am not nearly as tempted. My son thinks that I should have everything out in plain view so I can develop will-power, but I keep telling him, I know myself. I can’t continually see all this food and say no. I need my home, my haven, to be a safe zone for me.

    • Clare

      It doesn’t sound crazy to me, Janet. I have a really tough time even knowing that a treat is in the house… (especially chocolate!). So the more ways that we can discover to avoid indulging, the better, as far as I am concerned. I am at the point where I try to only buy snacks for my kids that I don’t really like, and that helps.

  • I’m finding today’s lesson rather discouraging, as I realize I’m in a state of perpetual willpower depletion! 🙁

    During the workday, I am exercising willpower every second to stay on task, focus on the important things, accept imperfection, and keep moving forward. Even when my break time alarm rings, it takes willpower to mentally disengage from the task I had been working on in order to mindfully evaluate whether it’s the best use of my time. It even takes willpower to savor my self-praise reward without undermining it with self-criticism!

    In the mornings and evenings, I have to fight my desire to laze around and play with my phone or my 2 year old son in order to get both of us ready for school or bed instead. Similarly, on the weekends, I have to drag myself to the grocery store or to catch up on household chores or even just to focus fully on my son instead of playing with my phone!

    So as for removing the temptations, the only thing I could think of was to put my phone on do-not-disturb…forever. But that barely scratches the surface of the many “temptations” I face, and even it takes willpower to do… And when do I get to relax this willpower muscle? Can’t I ever just play? What ever happened to free time?!?

    Hopefully someone can help me find the way out of this negative cycle.

    • The way out IS play and rest. You’ve got to build that in. And remember that once you are getting through most of your routine tasks out of habit, they won’t require ANY willpower…

  • Madia T

    Success or failure (or as I call it – “Fail to lure the success out.”) is sticky when I am learning a new habit and what I have realized is not to become difficult on myself. Simply breathe, stay calm and do my very best to master the habits for the long haul. As Christine said in the previous lesson, take time to assess what you have really been doing or not doing and plan to increase or decrease to get the habit entrenched into your psyche. I must say that I have been waking up at 5:00 am daily, drinking my water – YEAH, making up my bed, and meditating. This starts my day off right and I have been drinking more water then I have anticipated – more YEAH. I have also noticed that once I get some water to drink, I am off and moving. I place a glass of water on the table next to my bed, which makes it easier for me to begin my routine. It just works well. Once I meditate, I can focus on what my day looks like and (secret, shhhh…at this early in the morning when everyone is still asleep the air is clean and clear and there is much quiet to stay calm, relaxed, and focused.) Just try it even for one day of your life. It is exhilarating.
    Christine, once again, thank you for this class. I have seen how the 21 days will make a long lasting habit of routines. You ROCK!

  • Joy

    This class continues to inspire and encourage me, beyond what I had ever anticipated. I am getting my 15 minutes of exercise a day, and have been stretching throughout the day (usually when I have tea – which is often 3-4x). I have also been solidifying my morning routine, and hope that eventually it will include yoga. One of my rewards was buying a workout outfit – which was also removing one of my obstacles, so that I have a go-to outfit I can set out the night before. I even am setting up a few other habits like a 5 minute family clean up each evening (yay!). I finally downloaded an app for listening to This American Life while walking (reward while doing activity), and finally found a few guided meditation recordings that I can listen to each morning when practicing mindfulness.

    One of my questions that keeps coming up is whether this habit will stick if i don’t do it the same time each day. I have a regular walking partner one morning and a yoga class another day that have become “habitualized”. The other days I thought that I would walk at 1pm every day. Well, that hasn’t happened yet. Something always intervenes. But I do get my walk in. So can it become an elephant???

    Thanks for everything, Christine!

  • jen

    Like some posts I’ve read here, this class is inspiring me to make lots of little improvements in my life. Separate from my larger resolution, I created the tiny habit of taking my vitamins. I do it every night after brushing my teeth, and moved the vitamins from the kitchen to the bathroom to make it easier. Simple but it never occurred to me before. Having success in that small area makes me feel confident and hopeful regarding my bigger resolution.
    Thank you Dr. Carter!!

  • fairlady68

    I have been enjoying all the sessions so far but today day 9 has been the most eye opening for me. Being on the autism spectrum only makes willpower depletion more of an issue.

  • MLR

    @DrChristineCarter:disqus – I really appreciate the day 9 session. However, as a “recovering perfectionist,” it scares me a little. Exquisitely designed routines (e.g. your “star athlete” example) are awfully close to being an inflexible perfectionist. I don’t ever again want to be the person who freaks out because she didn’t run 3.1 miles prior to breakfast…

    How do you recommend reconciling the desire to maximize one’s success, with the need to also be flexible?

    • Ginger C

      Examples of differences between inflexibility and removing choices:
      Steve Jobs chose to wear black turtlenecks and jeans every day so that he didn’t have to decide what to wear in the mornings. But if all his black turtlenecks were in the wash, he would probably exert his self control and choose to wear something else, instead of melting down because he has nothing to wear. (Then again, he was known for his temper!)

      For me, deciding at the beginning of the week what my family is having for dinner every night removes a daily annoying decision. Without planning: Argh, I’d better start thinking about dinner now… What’s healthy? What will the kids eat? How long will prep time take? Do I have all the ingredients? Argh, I can’t deal with this now. Let’s just order out. With planning: I walk into the kitchen, turn on some great music and pull the ingredients out.

      If I’m missing an ingredient, which sometimes happens, then I have to rev up the rider and decide what I’m going to do about it – use a substitution, run to the grocery store, make something else. That’s where flexibility comes in. (But sometimes I’m inflexible and snap at the husband, because I’m sure it’s his fault.) Flexibility also comes in when a family member requests something else before prep work starts. Yeah… That *does* sound yummy… I think we could do that!

      So, plan for the run. Design a routine around it to to remove decisions and make it a habit. On the days you know you are going to miss, plan ahead of time how you are going to deal with that. If you keep unexpectedly missing the run, then revisit what is going on there. Does a better time work? A different routine? A different form of exercise?

      Routines establish habits. Flexibility allows you to choose just the right habits for you and your lifestyle and allows you to establish new habits as your lifestyle changes.

      • This is a GREAT comment. You are onto it!!

        • Ginger C

          Thanks! This class has been fantastic! Thank-you so much for offering it.

  • Misha

    Dr Carter,

    I’m not sure I understand the difference between setting/implementing turtle steps vs setting/implementing baseline goals.

    Eg, if “exercising 7 days a week for 30 mins a day” is my resolution, and my turtle step (under 30 secs) is to put on my running shoes while my baseline goal is to ride on my exercise bike for 5 mins, then what’s the point of having a turtle step? If I want to expand my baseline to 10mins, then where do turtle steps fit in?

    I’d love some clarification, if you wouldn’t mind. Cheers, Misha

    • Liz

      @ Dr. Carter, Me too.

      • Think of your baseline goal as your “better than nothing” plan, and your turtle steps as a way to ease yourself into your habit with something really ridiculously easy. For example, my BASELINE exercise goal is to do at least one set of push-ups, squats, lunges, crunches, sprints, and stretches 6 days a week— each set takes me about 10 minutes, and so I know that I can fit my exercise in no matter how little time I have. My IDEAL weekly exercise looks pretty different — 2 sets of the above, plus 20 minutes walking on the treadmill or outside. It takes 45 minutes, or more if I go for a hike or run, too. My TURTLE STEP, when I was making exercise a HABIT and not just an appointment on my calendar, was to put my exercise clothes on come hell or high water after my anchor (I finished my meditation). The next turtle step was to get on the treadmill for a few minutes, then to do 1 pushup & 1 squat, until I’d built up to my baseline goal, and then until I’d built up to my ideal plan.
        Does that make a little more sense?

  • So I think Im starting to get it. Im an overachiever; pretending to be totally calm and together…and Im not. Ive forgotten how to take care of myself! So I just keep going and going out of the habit of going, ignoring my fatigue and believing I MUST do all these things or my world might crash or something. So the things I really want to do (like this class, watching TV, researching health options) only get done late in the evening when I should be in bed. I’ve only been getting 4-6 hrs of sleep at night for the past year or so, and it is affecting my health. I keep thinking if I could catch up and just get everything done then I can rest.. but it NEVER happens! What I’m learning through this class so far is that I have to get the rest FIRST in order to do the work: like putting gas and oli in my car so it will run. For me, willpower is needed to stop “doing”. Planning for an evening of rest in the morning, when I have more energy, sounds like a great idea. A new thought: What would happen if my office is a mess when the appraiser comes on Friday? Probably not the end of the world, or even of my refinance 🙂 Life goes on

  • Michelle P

    How do I know which activities are flexing my will-power muscle vs. depleting it? This seems contradictory. E.g. a tiny habit can build self control in other areas of your life, but having to control yourself in an awkward social situation depletes your willpower and has the opposite effect. Could too many tiny habits sabotage each other? I think I missed the distinction.

  • SDK

    Christine – I’m loving this online seminar and find a lot of happiness in anticipating and completing your daily video session. One request I’d ask you to consider for participants: You reference so many great writers, books and resources throughout these videos, but I don’t have an easy way to go back and find all of these references. It would be fantastic if you would create an addendum or bibliography of some sort that highlights in one document all the great advisors that you refer to throughout this 21-day class. I’m learning a ton, but definitely do not have time to read all these as they arise in discussion.

    Going on day 9 of achieving my daily resolution (daily exercise of 20 minutes or more), and feeling great!

  • Warren

    I feel grateful for having this and it’s keeping me on track. Thank you so much.

  • i am really enjoying this online class. My positive affirmations are helping me to have more fun playing tennis, and I’m rewarding myself with praise throughout the day ( when I remember) . I have also started reading “Switch- How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath; this is one of the books you recommended. I love the true life stories about people making significant changes through small steps.

  • Susan Geldmeier

    Do you have any meditation tapes that you recommend?

    • I love recordings from the Chopra Center. And there are lots of good free ones on the MARC website at UCLA — I like Diana Winston.

      • Clare

        Thanks! I was looking for some, too. I already bought a Chopra Center CD of meditations with affirmations, but would really like to try some guided ones, too. I will definitely check out the MARC website. Also, Susan – I have found some free podcasts of guided meditations on iTunes. I haven’t tried any, yet, but will let you know if I find any good ones.

        • Thanks!

        • Liz

          There are some free or very inexpensive Yoga Nidra guided meditations around. This is a Yoga-based relaxation method. Very nice, if a bit long!

  • Misty

    Oh, I love the end of day 10’s 1st recording! It left me thinking “don’t forget about WHAT?!” And also loving that you didn’t let perfect get in the way of good enough. Thank you!

    • Chuckle. I hope you got a good laugh out of it. (Still, I’m hoping to get the final version up soon…but I don’t know how to do it myself — I can’t even find the re-recorded version on our server.) To be totally honest, I don’t know what I was wanting you not to forget about, or what made no sense, so I stopped myself. Perhaps this is an opportunity to ask yourself: What do I need to be sure not to forget about today? 🙂

  • Joy

    I am currently working on my daily habit of exercise, which is going well, and am honing my morning routine as well. I am looking forward to getting some other habits in place next month. Many of them wouldn’t be daily habits but weekly ones or even more “irregular”. Any suggestions on special good ways to make those kind of habits easier and more habitual? Thanks!

  • Wendy

    Hi Christine
    Loved the ending ; )
    And really love the tip about putting phone on airplane mode. On nights when my husband is working away I keep my phone beside me in case of emergency. But inevitably when I go to bed I play with my phone without purpose. Now I know what to do.
    And really great to hear of how you approached your writing tasks.
    Thank you!

  • LisaLou

    I can’t believe I have fallen off the elephant already. And I picked such an “easy” resolution — just spending 10 minutes per evening after dinner, with the family, picking up clutter. We blasted the music and away we went. But we haven’t done it the past 2 nights, and the night before that, it went poorly because I couldn’t get my computer to work with the wireless speaker thingy that allows me to play our special cleaning playlist at full blast.

    So I can see that is one of the obstacles I need to anticipate, and have a solution for (ie, a backup plan for music; just some favorite CDs I suppose). Because it definitely derailed me. And the other big issue is my husband’s lack of enthusiasm for this little project. We started it while he was on a business trip last week (maybe that was a mistake; maybe he feels like an outsider?). And even though he complains about our cluttery house, he just doesn’t seem on board with it. I was in the foulest mood the night it derailed – ticked off at technology and ticked off at a husband who I feel should be pleased/grateful I’m trying to do something to fix things.

    I have lots of notes about other goals I want to pursue, with all of this newly learned information and perspective. But I can feel it slipping away…I’m getting into that overwhelmed mode where there is so much other crap to do around this place, and at work, that all of this is feeling very future-ish rather than present-ish.

    I guess I need to find a quick tiny habit to get me back on course. Thank goodness for this class, and the fact that I don’t have the premium version (I’m considering buying it but want to wait until the last minute because I am motivated by the fact that it expires at midnight!!). Because at least I have been dutifully listening and taking notes every night. 🙂

    Thank you so much, Dr. Carter and fellow students. Your posts are soooo inspiring!

    • wendy

      Hi LisaLou
      It isn’t all slipping away – as you say you are taking the class every day! and doing the sheets….hope you get back on track, as you say just one tiny habit, 30 seconds – you can do it!
      I am doing great with my Pilates and physical activity generally. But when I weighed myself I was disappointed with the 1lb weight loss, even though that was my goal for the week. Need to really take the long term view with the weight loss, and commit to making sustainable change.
      Not having same success with PhD related goals – struggling to reengage after the Christmas break. Hoping to crack the habit in earnest next week! At least I am here in my PhD office 🙂 but I guess I better stop writing this.
      Take care.

      • Darlene

        Hi Wendy – Your weight will stay off longer, remember, the slower you go. Yay you for losing 1 lb. and not gaining 1 lb.! Regarding the PhD goals – first of all, I so admire anyone with the intellect to be pursuing a PhD. It’s something beyond my capabilities. You’ve already accomplished so much more than most just to be at the point you are!

        Maybe you need to cut back on the baby step . . . make it a nano step or whatever is ridiculously small 🙂 Reduce to the ridiculous . . . type the first word of the day.

        I have days where I chant ‘do the next best thing’. That may be to get out of bed. Then I say again ‘do the next best thing. And I’ll make my bed so I won’t get back in and so on. As I told LisaLou . . . progress not perfection. Some of these one liners are a little silly sometimes but they stick.

        I know you know all this . . . just trying to cheer you on 🙂

        • Wendy

          Hi Darlene
          Thanks for your lovely words. You know, I had a post typed to you yesterday as a member of your online cabinet, as I had noticed that you had been quiet on the posting front. Then I deleted it as I thought it was more respectful to allow people to be on this forum without feeling pressured to contribute! I thought of you today again though!
          Hope things are going well for you.

          • Darlene

            Hi Wendy – thanks so much for speaking up as my cabinet member! I’ve been out of town for a few days and have not kept up so well. I’ve printed all the worksheets and listened to Christine but not made comments. I also have not been tracking my food and messed up there.

            Your checking on me gives me incentive to reapply myself to all of this. So Yay You for doing your cabinet duty (never hesitate to nudge me, I need it) and Yay me for posting – 1st turtle step to being back on track 🙂

          • Wendy

            Hi Darlene,
            Just took stock, see above. As you write… progress, not perfection……
            Hope you are turtling along nicely! : )

    • Darlene

      Hi LisaLou – It’s difficult when our spouses aren’t on board with something. Have you spoken with him earnestly to let him know how important this is to you . . . that it may seem like a small thing but it’s part of something bigger and it’s important for the kids etc.?

      Approach him with no anger or impatience and just sincerely ask for his support. Maybe be very playful with him during the clean up . . . even a little flirtatious? I don’t know . . . just some thoughts. And remind yourself that if you look at ALL the things you want to do, you’ll freeze up and not accomplish a darn thing so that’s useless.

      Tiny habits . . . baby steps . . . smile . . . feel the support of all of us working on similar goals . . . you’re not alone . . . progress not perfection . . . okay, now I’m starting to annoy even myself! Just wanting you to know I understand and want you to hang in there 🙂

  • Les

    OMG: I woke up at 5:20am this morning with a new craving–for the next class session of “Breaking the Habit Code”!

    • Love that!!

    • Wendy

      This made me laugh, thanks! 🙂

    • JDavis

      I totally get that!

  • I recommend goal coach app. I just started using this wonderful app. It has been working great. Specially following ms. Christine advice about habits, goals n rewards. So far I havr been doing all my goals, habits 100% everyday. And I’m doing 8 at a time. My phone app. Help me so much. Any other ideas you have Please let me know? Wish you all thr best n continue doing your best for YOURSELF.

  • Day 11 is just the best thing ever! Of course, I have a cold (it’s winter, after all), so breathing smoothly is actually really hard today. But this practice of mindfulness just keeps popping up in my life, over and over, the past six months or so. And every day that I practice it, I feel *better.*

  • Elizabeth S

    Day 11 is helpful in that my goal is to establish the habit off meditating 10 mins per day first thing in the AM. Still looking for a good guided meditation app.

    • Joy

      Because of this class, I have finally downloaded several guided meditations. In iTunes university (or just search general music) I found several 5-15 minute guided meditations by Diana Winston of UCLA MARC center – these are the ones that Christine recommended. I like her voice and they are very helpful. I also found some shorter ones by Gil Fronsdale that I have downloaded and enjoyed. If you find a good meditation app, please share

      • Elizabeth S

        Thanks! I found them and will give them a try.

  • RR

    Correct spelling is Gandhi, not Ghandi, for the next version of the slides.

  • This made me laugh…
    The resolution Im working on is to get more sleep. My action plan is to go to bed earlier. Ive been working on the anchors and tiny habits. I have figured out these past few days that I have not had sucess getting to bed earlier for the past 2 years because I dont lke wasting time sleeping and I dont like all the crazy, exhausting dreams (I am traveling amidst great drama almost every night). So last night, after being up until 2 the night before, I found a meditation to listen to in bed before I fell asleep. It was my planned bedtime (10:30) and I fell asleep immediately while listening to the meditation (a Catholic Rosary), and stayed asleep, with good dreams, until 8:30 this morning. A miracle! I know this is not the point of meditation and I “shouldn’t” have been doing it in bed, but I was anxious to find one on my iPhone and try it right away.
    Like someone else said, I couldn’t wait to see what was on the Habit Code today.Having now finished the day12 class, one of my new stress relievers is doing the class!
    Thank you Christine; when you talk about yourself I ALWAYS relate… and this information, in this format, is so empowering. I will buy the class but I am waiting, because knowing it is only here until midnight creates motivation to do it one class at a time, every day. With the whole series at my disposal, I would be more likely to either put it off or rush through the whole thing at once, not giving myself time for the pondering and problem solving that happens between classes. And thanks to all who write, it makes me feel part of a community here and I love learning from all of you!

  • Jane

    I think this class is terrific. when I have time to read the comments I always find other people who are thinking like me, which is a relief. For instance, I keep thinking I should buy the premium version to have permanently, but I also know if I had it, i wouldn’t listen to the presentation every day. As someone else wrote, I’d let it slide then have days of videos and end up not doing anything.

    Day 12 -eliminating willpower drain was interesting, but confusing. What if the stress you are feeling are the very same bad feelings that kept you from doing the resolution in the first place? Right now I want to have a regular writing practice and to be mindful of how I spend my money.(I’ve changed as the course went along.) Both of these areas – writing and thinking about how I am living in a financial dream world, make me very nervous. I often end up spending hours (yes I have to admit it, over an hour) playing solitaire or reading email and then going to a link then, etc. etc.

    But I want to write fiction and I want to be mindful and realistic about how I spend my money. So I can’t eliminate these stressors. Or did I misunderstand the entire lecture?

    Plus I have to laugh as I read other posts and see how perfectionist so many of us are — wanting to learn to break the habit code perfectly. That is my problem exactly, see my question. If I can’t do it perfectly, why do it at all has been my motto.

    • As someone else keeps writing: progress, not perfection! Just take one little step at a time…

  • Romi

    Ironic that todays talk is on getting enough sleep especially since it falls on the morning after both our girls decide not to sleep until 5am.

    Point preserved in my brain about what sleep deprivation does to you!
    Baseline goal today for sure;) especially on taking a deep breath before I utter a word to anyone;/

  • Carol

    I feel like this class is having a snowball effect in my life. My “simple” goal I picked out of my wish list was waking up earlier, to make more time for exercise, my dog, my work, family, light therapy- many things. As this goal is becoming easier and more of a habit, other goals are falling into place. I’m back on track with my yoga practice and attending classes and my dog and I are hiking 2 – 3x’s each week. Its taking a lot of work, tiny steps (turtle steps), planning, rewards, and being kind to myself- but its working!! I’m just so happy about this class. The lectures, the content, the book suggestions and the comments from other participants- it all is very motivating and rewarding- many thanks.

  • Darlene

    Hi Lisa – Haven’t heard from you in a while . . . how’s it going? Hope all is well – hang in there!

  • Darlene

    Hi Jen, I have been reading back on comments to re-energize myself and I like your tiny habit reminder (taking vitamins and the simple steps). Thanks. Continued progress 🙂

  • Darlene

    Hi Jaya Mork – Wondering how it’s going for you . . . haven’t seen a comment in a while and hope all is well. We’re all here for each other remember 🙂

  • Napping question: My naps are way, way longer than 20 minutes. I think that stared in college, when I’d sleep for a few hours at night (after working on a paper or whatever) and then sleep for a few more in between blocks of classes.

    Then, after my son was born, all semblance of a normal sleep schedule went out the door for me. I was working only part time a few days a week, unlike my husband who had an hour-long commute to his 9-5 job. So, I’d sleep when the baby was sleeping, and be up when he was up, so that my husband could sleep through the night.

    Now, three years in, I still find myself needing a nap about a week, and that generally means that after I put my son down for his nap, I crash too, and don’t usually wake up until he does – two hours later.

    I know the obvious answer is to set an alarm for 20 minutes, but I have found that the idea that I need to fall asleep quickly so that I can get some actual rest before my alarm goes off causes me so much anxiety that I can’t sleep at all.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for me, or is this really not such a big deal? My work schedule does not require me to be up at any particular time in the morning, and these long naps are typically on Fridays and Sundays – non-work days. Any thoughts or ideas?

    • RR

      I empathize and also find that long naps help me catch up. I have been using the Sleep Cycle app (free iPhone download) for about a month now and it is helping me keep track of my patterns, correlate them with caffeine intake/stress, etc. Maybe give that a try.

    • I don’t think you need to worry so much; weekend sleep catch-up naps are great! Clearly you need them, and it is wonderful that you’ve found a way to get the sleep you need.

  • One of my New Year’s resolutions is to repeat some positive affirmations to myself every day- which I have been doing. Someone else mentioned saying something to themselves every time they went to the bathroom. Then it occurred to me that if I’m putting lotion on my body, I can imagine that I’m spreading “the oil of gladness” or “peace” or whatever on myself. If I’m lying on my laser machine, I can imagine joy spreading through my body via the laser beams.
    I also wanted to meditate 10 minutes every day, but I get very bored with just deep breathing for 10 minutes; so I have ordered some of the Chopra meditation tapes that were recommended by Christine Carter.
    I had NO plans to make any New Year’s resolutions, but when I saw this class offered, I thought, “why not.” I’m so glad I am taking this class!! I wanted to lift weights 3x a week also, and I’m following through with that . I’m gradually incorporating other “tiny habits” into my routine, even though i’m not quite in sync with those habits yet.
    Thanks.

  • A.K.Carter

    Day 12 Class (Eliminate the Willpower Drain) request: Did anyone write down all the great meditation resources/people the Dr. Carter listed during this class on meditation? One was the Chopra Center and another was UCLA, I think? I wrote them all down and whoops, misplaced my notes (not losing things was not one of my resolutions but maybe it should be!). MANY THANKS!

    • I wrote down : MARC @ UCLA, Diana Winston,Chopra Center, and NBSR Mindful Meditation. Thanks for reminding me to look them up!

      • Wendy

        MBSR rather than N…Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction- Jon Kabat- Zinn

      • Ellie Kopiel

        Hi as well as above it was MBSR and that is with Jon Kabat-Zinn. If you like his voice he has a wide variety of CDs. I particularly like: Guided Mindfulness Meditation Series 2. Which has 4 CDS. They offer meditations of 10,20 and 30min lengths. I have them in my itunes so it is easy to pick and choose to make it a daily habit. (For non-USA listeners I had to order this from JKZ website as they were not available in England)

  • katherine007

    I love your website and subscribed to this online course with a view to buying the premium version.
    However i won’t be upgrading as although the course hasn’t been terrible there is quite a lot wrong with it.
    Boring ppt slides-absolutely no visuals.
    terrible audio at times.
    very plodding in nature-repeats many things over and over again
    asks you to go back and listen to the first couple of days but these have been taken down
    would be good as a free podcast series but I can’t believe you would seriously ask for $99 dollars for this. I understand part of htat money is to fund free resources but I think it would be more honest to just ask for a donation for free resources
    I hate to be so negative but it is just not up the standard i expected going by the rest of your website.

  • Dawn WE

    With Day 15 being essentially a reply of Day 8 (with good reason–not complaining), including a rerun or slight revision of the worksheet from Day 8 might also be supportive.

    • Point taken, but I want you to be able to do this without the external structure: re-evaluating is something to do about once a week, so that we keep making progress.

  • Ellie Kopiel

    Just listened toDay 15. Was there a 3rd slide? My screen suddenly went blank when Christine was listing stuff for the next few days. Also I have notes from Day 5 which say 3 tips from Chip and Don Heath and I havenot written down what they were. Can anyone help me out here? Thanks.

    • I am so sorry that the 3rd slide sometimes isn’t showing up for people — never fear, it doesn’t say anything other than “next week, strategies that work!” We’ve been working all day to figure out why this is happening. Might not get Day 15 fixed fully for everyone, but I’m re-recording other days where the same glitch is showing up…

  • Wendy

    Hello Christine and cabinet members,
    Hope all is going well for you all.
    So I am taking stock…..
    overall I am really happy with my progress in healthy eating and regular physical activity so yay me. I feel the benefits physically and psychologically. But I was away from home and typical daily routine for 33 hours…..and it all went out the window….no physical activity, which I don’t feel too bad about, but unhealthy eating ++. I tend to be very black and white with my eating ( and myself generally!) and be either quite/very good, or say to hell with it and be bad/very bad.
    So I am reflecting on how much my daily routine as a whole anchors me. But I need to identify alternative anchors for when I am away from home. Doing my pilates after putting my son to bed is my habit. No son to put to bed lastnite! And I am tuning into how crap I feel physically and psychologically after my day and a bit. But trying to be compassionate to myself and learn from this experience and recommit myself. So I just did my Pilates after putting my son down, and already feel better. And I will have a cup of tea now, with nothing to eat.
    And tomorrow is a new day!
    Good luck everyone.

    • You are going to love Day 20. Until then: go easy on yourself! Lapses are NORMAL. And congratulations for getting right back on the horse!

      • wendy

        Thanks Christine! Yes am feeling happy to be back on the horse too! Am still spreading the word about the course 🙂

  • In this rest and re-evaluate day I went back to my notes and realized I’m missing the element of play or challenge with my tiny habits and my resolution. Mainly my resolution is to react less negatively when faced with stressful situations (e.g., kids are pushing my buttons I’m trying to not fly off the handle). My tiny habits are to close my eyes and take 5 deep breaths when I feel stress coming on BUT…how can I create an element of play or challenge with myself when essentially I need to feel stressed out in order to practice my tiny habits/resolution? Any ideas out there?

    • Clare

      Hi Susan – Good for you for making progress! How about stepping things up by actually creating some time or space for an activity that decreases stress or creates more positive energy in your life? It can still be a tiny habit, such as just taking 5 deep breaths first thing in the morning, or right before the kids come home from school. Or, you could even consider doing a very brief meditation every morning. I know it doesn’t sound very playful, but my baseline resolution is to meditate for 5 minutes every morning as part of my routine before the kids get up, and I am finding that all of those stressful or negative situations throughout the day are a little easier to deal with because I am becoming just a bit more mindful over the whole day. For me, making a little ritual out of the meditation has made it feel fun, and special – I light a sweet-smelling candle to begin, and then reward myself with my morning cup of tea and check-in with Facebook as my reward. Just a thought. Good luck with your resolution!

      • Clare thank you so much. This is a good idea. I think I got a bit stuck on my original tiny habits that I couldn’t see around them and your idea of planting the seed for being mindful for the day by meditating in the morning is just a different route to get my resolution met. I do make time to meditate most days but I haven’t established a set time for it. I squeeze it in and your post really makes me think I need to make it regular to be most effective. Thanks!

        • Clare

          So glad to have helped! Good luck!

  • Joy

    I resolve to expand my exercise repertoire. Spin is great but Ive been one dimensional for too long. I want to get back outside for some fresh air. I resolve to add in a walk in the park once a week. I’m putting it in my calendar. I also intend to try Zumba – to try it once on a Wed in January. That’s going in my calendar too.

  • Susan Geldmeier

    I ordered some Chopra Center tapes; don’t know what I ordered, but I got a LOT of tapes!

    There are 21- Day Meditation tapes for (1) Mind-Body Odyssey (2) Creating Abundance, and (3) Free to Love. I listened to day 1 of “Free to Love”, and I loved it! I love the music.

    I tried the Jon Kabat- Zinn tapes last year and got bored with them ( everyone is different.).

  • Madia T

    When my willpower is depleted, I will be unfocused and unproductive. Over the past year, I have changed my habit of pushing through it and being overwhelmed, tired, restless, and stressed to now just getting some rest and coming back to it at a different time. It can be surprising that just 30 minutes or an hour can give you clarity and sustenance to do quality work for many hours. I like this habit that I have acquired. I also realize that I need to have more time, as in hours or days, to do quality work and not cram it into the last few moments. Working on my projects in small, digestible chunks makes the process smooth and effortless. Thank you, Christine, you ROCK!

  • Ellie Kopiel

    Request for: Has anyone written down the 3 tips from Chip and Don Heath from Day 5?
    Also I have found the quotes at the head of the daily page very inspirational and they would appear on the work sheet. However it is only today that it dawned on me that unless I write it down (today I have!) that no work sheet means no quote! So does anyone have quotes from days 14-16. Thankyou.

    • Laurel

      Day 15 quotation:

      “If you look at a thing, the very fact of your looking changes it…if you think about yourself, that very fact changes you.” — Robert Penn Warren

      Also, I don’t have the three tips, but found this: if you search for Switch by Chip & Dan Heath and Asian Efficiency you come up with a book review that gives bullet points with the reviewer’s favorite takeaways.

      • Ellie Kopiel

        Thanks very much Laurel will follow this up.

      • Ellie Kopiel

        Hi Laurel- thanks for the link. The review from AsianEfficiency was great I then went into Amazon and peeked inside the book: the bits I read resonated, and also made me laugh. Have bought the book! Thanks again.

      • LisaLou

        what a great recommendation! I was not familiar with the AE website but have now subscribed to their newsletter. Thank you! (am buying Switch, too!)

    • Darlene

      Hi Ellie, I don’t know how your email works but in mine the notification for the class also has the daily quote.

      • Ellie Kopiel

        Thankyou Darlene Yes same with mine, but I didn’t copy it as was used to the quote being on the work sheet. I have written out todays!

  • Susan Geldmeier

    I’m about 1/2 way through “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath. It’s an interesting book and can be read a little at a time. “Tiny ideas” in the book are things I can put into practice.

  • Susan Geldmeier

    One more thought about Chip and Dan Heath and “The Switch.” I don’t remember what Christine’s 3 points were from the book; but it seems to me that a major theme in the book is”follow the bright spots.” Find the people in an organization or situation that are doing something RIGHT, and have yourself or others emulate those people.

    The other day when I was playing in a tennis match with 3 people who were better than me, i played terrible in the Ist 2 sets. I really wanted to throw my racquet down and just walk off of the court, but I kept saying “bright spots” to myself. to try to keep a positive attitude.

    And , finally, in the 3rd set I played really well. Don’t know if this is helpful to you, but that’s the main positive theme I’ve gleaned from this book so far.

    • Laurel

      Interesting! Thanks for taking the time to share.

  • Wendy

    Funny that today was dealing with difficult emotions! I had a tough day and was very tempted to take a duvet day and comfort eat. But instead I went for a short walk to post some letters and treated myself to a skinny cappuccino in my favourite cafe. I still feel pretty depleted but still managed to do 5 min meditation, some Pilates (albeit a shortened routine), and watch the video. So yay me. Going to go to bed early and hopefully wake up feeling restored. Posting this here to share the lows as well as the highs. Goodnight all.

    • Wow, it sounds like you dealt with that really, really well! Yay you! I’m very impressed.

      • Wendy

        Thanks! : )

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  • Hi Christine. Our family is enjoying the class and getting a lot out of it, thank you! Question: are there any books or classes of yours or other resources you could point us to to dive deeper into the topic for Day 17? (dealing with negative emotions). We found the class to be very helpful and would love to dive deeper. Thanks!

    • Wendy

      Hi Eduardo,
      Christine mentions Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). I can highly recommend a book based on an evidence based combination of CBT and mindfulness, pioneered in the UK by Prof Mark Williams of Oxford University. They have adapted Jon Kabat Zinn’s MBSR to MBCT, mindfulness based cognitive therapy. The book is really accessibly written, with a lovely CD of meditations. Williams & Penman (2011) ‘Mindfuless – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world’
      I also recommend ‘The Mindful Way through Depression’ (2007) by Williams, Teasdale, Segal and Kabat-Zinn. Jon Kabat-Zinn narrates the accompanying CD.

      I developed bad post-natal depression after the birth of my son. I found the above books very helpful. The biggest thing I took from them was the need to simply acknowledge thoughts rather than try to ‘figure out’ the cause of negative thinking or anxiety. And also the need to be more compassionate towards oneself.

      Hope this helps.

      • Cool, thanks Wendy. I appreciate the pointers – we’ll look into those. Thank you!

        • Just in case it’s helpful to anyone, I did a bit more research on what to read to dive deeper into the topic for day 17 of dealing with one’s emotions (not to deal with depression or a deep crisis, but to learn more about how to manage small negative emotions that lead to negative habits like eating sweets). I came up with three books that look really good, so I wanted to share them in case that’s helpful to anyone:

          1.- (as Wendy recommended) Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World [With CD (Audio)] by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Uses a mix of CBT and mindfulness and is very highly rated. (www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Practical-Guide-Finding-Frantic/dp/074995308X/)

          2.- Calming the Emotional Storm: Using Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills to Manage Your Emotions and Balance Your Life, by Sheri Van Dijk MSW. Uses a mix of CBT and mindfulness, and all of the author’s books are highly rated on Amazon including this one. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1608820874/)

          3.- The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How Its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live–and How You Can Change Them, by Richard J. Davidson and Sharon Begley. (www.amazon.com/Emotional-Life-Your-Brain-Live–/dp/1594630895/)

          I’m posting the info just fyi in case it’s helpful to anyone else… happy learning!

          • Ellie Kopiel

            Thanks Eduardo – they sound really interesting.

  • fairlady68

    All the classes are great but Today day 17 was especially so. Anxiety at work and avoiding the candy dishes…I am there with that one!!

    • agreed! we’re liking the whole course and also found today, day 17, to be especially helpful. we’re actually looking for books or other resources to dive deeper and learn more about the topic.

  • Madia T

    I am glad that my baseline goal is beginning to show its face more permanently and effortlessly in my daily routine. I am grateful for the tiny habits and anchors which made it easy to transition. I want to continue my three tiny habits – wake up at five, drink water, and then make up my bed and meditate – for the rest of the week and then I am going to add another tiny habit or turtle step to help support and enlighten my baseline of calm and relaxation.

  • Jenny

    No fair-sies. Tried to watch Class #18 this morning before work, but link didn’t work. Now home from work and link still isn’t working for me. Even tried the “bliptv” link that is suggested, but that didn’t work either. Am very sorry to miss a day–it has felt so good to have the daily video to keep me on track! Hope the link will start working before bedtime.

  • Stephanie

    I will have to give corollary #2 a try. There is ALWAYS something else, something better, something more interesting to do because, heaven knows, I am the world’s most prolific procrastinator. I can just imagine myself sitting in my chair, doing nothing, all day long…

  • Madia T

    Brilliant. Thank you once again. I can definitely see how to reinforce my baseline goal by allowing a breather on days that I may not have to be up so early or have responsibilities in the first few hours of the day. For one year, I have had Fridays off and so what I would usually do is get the family ready, take care of them in the morning send them off, and then I have my time to relax for an hour or two or however long I need the extra rest. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and at this juncture, I am grateful.

  • Aussie Mum

    I’m doing well with my ‘get more sleep’ resolution and it makes a huge difference to my day. I feel a little ridiculous going to bed at 9pm but with a two year old that starts the day around 5.20 am every day (and his two brothers not that long after) I feel a lot more relaxed and patient with them when I have had enough sleep. I have also found that tweeking my evening routine so that I’m more prepared for the morning has also made a huge difference! Now lets see if I can start introducing an exercise habits to my morning routine! Wish me luck!

    • Ellie

      Hi Aussiemum-well done you!

  • Joy

    My baseline goal was to exercise at least 15 minutes a day (ideally much more). I also have been working on my morning routine. I have happily had success in each. However, initially I had thought that I would incorporate some exercise into my morning routine every day (following Christine’s lead), and also have a walk at a set time (1pm) each day. That quickly became very difficult: kids waking up at varying times, my varying work schedule, my husband and his stuff, etc. I think I maybe did it once, and then when thwarted, I started being hard on myself. (“Why can’t I just make a rule of walking at 1 and stick by it?”) Now my new routine is the night before to set out exercise clothes and schedule when my exercise can happen the following day (sometimes I have a yoga class or a scheduled hike with a friend). Even then I sometimes have to alter my schedule, but instead of getting frustrated, I just immediately decide when I CAN exercise. So far it is working well, and I have made time every day. My morning routine is also now routine with daily meditation, watching the class, yoga stretching, and a little gratitude practice. Small steps!

  • Michelle P

    Day 18 said “Never say never” because it creates forbidden fruit. Day 19 says “Make rules,” and those rules could include never doing something (e.g. never check email after 9pm). Does creating rules tempt us to break them?

    • I think they are different kinds of rules, for instance if I say “I cant have icecream. Ever” then that’s all I can think about and it doesnt make me happy at all. If I say ” I am turning off the computer at 8PM”, its something I want to do in a different way than not eating icecream. It will be a relief to have a rule that it has to go off, rather than depriving myself of my favorite thing. Does that make sense?

    • Depends on the rule. You’ve got to be smart about the rules that you make: don’t create really tangible, within reach forbidden fruit!

  • Janet

    Day 19 Make rules for yourself: Make your rules public. I am having tremendous success with putting all my fun foods and my husband’s “junk” food in a lock box. The box doesn’t actually have a lock but is a big metal container that we put in the laundry room. Only once, in the past three weeks have I been tempted to rummage through the box. When my husband noticed what I was doing, he gently, with no condemnation, put all the food back in the box and placed three tangerines in front of me. I said, “I don’t want fruit, I want chocolate” but as soon as I said that, I realized it was just my elephant talking. I slowly ate the tangerines and by the second tangerine, that intense urge to eat fun food had vanished.

  • Janet

    Fridays are my frantic days at work. I come home physically and emotionally exhausted. The will power muscle is totally drained and inoperable. SO, instead of relying on habits, will power etc, I just told myself en route home that the next few hours were going to be tough and what was I going to do about it? Decided to go ahead and have a snack (my new year’s resolution was no snacking) but to make it healthy and full of fiber. I thought it would be a better choice to give in to the elephant rather than deny him when he was already grumpy. Then, I watched one of my favorite shows (I usually watch this show online on Tuesdays but I saved it for frantic Friday).

    And, those two things were enough to satisfy the elephant….food, which he craves and the “reward” of watching my favorite show after a tiring day. I ate a moderate, healthy dinner and didn’t eat anything else for the rest of the day. I am very compulsive with food so this was a huge success for me. Thanks Christine. I am learning so much in this class (I am also reading Switch…excellent book!)

  • Jenny

    This is the second day in a row that the link will not work for me. I cannot view the video. I tried at different times all day yesterday and here we go again today! Anyone else having trouble? Any ideas how to fix it? Thanks so much.

    • Joy

      I had a problem with the link this morning, but then reloaded the page twice and got it to work. Keep trying :0)

      • Gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that you are having trouble! We can see that hundreds of people are watching, so we are thinking that the trouble is not on our end, but please let us know if there is anything you think we can do or optimize…

  • Judy C

    My resolution was to meditate for 20 minutes a day/6 days a week. I have been successful with that – and added a 10 minute meditation on the 7th day in response to Dr. Carter’s suggestion to do some part of your resolution on every day. Here are a few rules I’ve developed – to support that res. and to keep me sane in general. Some of these I was doing before I started the Habit Code class – some I’ve added:

    No computer use on Sundays (I need a day away from technology). This one doesn’t always work but the intention helps me. I have told some friends/family about this but now I think I’ll make it more “official.”

    Turn off computer by 8 pm daily.

    At night, think about the next morning’s activities and set my alarm to accommodate what is coming. I’m retired and my days vary a lot so thinking ahead really helps me get enough sleep and allow time for my meditation, etc. My old pattern is to stay up late and wake before my 8 hrs are up.

    Start getting ready for bed between 10-10:30 every night. Aim to turn the light out by 11:15 at the latest.This is a new rule and since I started it a week or so ago, I’ve gotten more sleep and felt more energy in my afternoons.

    On nights I feel like I might need more/better sleep, I shut the bedroom door so the cat cannot come in as she likes to do in the early AM.

    The new rule I’m working on fashioning will be about writing – as that is something I want to do a lot more of but have only been doing one day a week. Maybe that will be the focus of my next resolution!

  • fairlady68

    I use Leechblock on my work computer to limit my Internet surfing to only 30 mins each 3 hrs

  • Madia T

    I began with the intention of staying calm through all that comes my way. I heard today from one member of my cabinet, my adolescent son, that I am doing great and that he is proud of me. Now, I can reward myself with some play time.

    Some rules to help me stay calm:

    I have set my computer to turn on at 5:00am and shut down at 10:00pm to help me wake up and go to sleep on time.

    Eat one serving size or less of snacks.

    Drink a glass of water at rise and at slumber.

    Read leisurely once a day.

    Check my calendar at 9:00pm daily.

    Turn off technology between 4:00pm and 7:00pm. Use this time to prepare dinner, take a walk, read, draw, spend quality time with family, etc.

  • Abelwoman

    I have listened to every class and have been able to use the advise and materials for myself and for my clients immediately. Today it was good to here that tweaking the plan so that I have fewer slips is a natural and healthy part of the process. Doing the three tiny habits has made me more structured an aware in all areas of my life…not something that comes naturally to me but something that really has improved the quality of my life. Sadly, I am naturally a scattered person and this costs me time and energy. If I had a nickel for every time I sai, Where is my purse? has anyone seen my keys ? Did I leave my phone somewhere?? I would be a wealthy person.

    Anchor..walk in the house

    Put keys on shelf
    Put phone on charger
    Hang purse on door.

    Yeah

  • Love this course!

    Have done each class faithfully, made notes, and succeeded in putting my changes into practice more than half the time. Less than desired, better than expected in a month of illness. Despite some difficulty navigating the comments section, I have checked ’em out now and then… always worth the trouble.

    My habit still taking its Turtle Steps baby-style, and making distinct, slow and palpable irrregular progress. My AHA!! Moment Supreme was a gust of outright delighted laughter when it hit me what silly and triumphant fun it is to achieve even the micro-mini version of the steps to my Habit-building! Bye-bye to shame, blame and tightly-knotted despair with that one big whoop of recognition. This is revolutionary.

    Such strong material here to carry on with, very practically altering behaviours in manageble and tasty ways, with true directnessSo … onwards! (Will be back if there’s another chance to plug into the full course economically before a month’s pension is running too low to make paying on time a choice!)

    THANK YOU so much for offering this opp gratis, Dr. Christine Carter. It’s already making incremental diffs to me and my Elephant (Aparijita – meaning unconquered, because her energy is redirected rather than snuffed out).

    • Kit I LOVE that you named your Elephant; and your choice of name seems to reflect your awareness that she is a partner and not just an adversarial part of you.

      • Thanks, Carol — you’ve nailed it in a nutshell. Aparijita is my travelling companion in every venture and adventure, and it’s up to me to keep her as responsive as possible so WE can get where we wish to be!

        All the best to you and this fun community henceforth, to all the Elephants too!

  • Laurel

    Many thanks, Dr. Carter. This is a big gift you have given so many. You are making the world a better place by helping us with our habits. I realized, like someone else said, that this course had become a habit, when after a very full non-ordinary day (yet still mostly successful in doing my tiny habits!) of prepping for and hosting an open house party, with the last guest leaving at 11:30pm, I sat down at 12:30am and remembered I hadn’t done my Habit lesson for the day. I was thrilled to realize that the material was up until midnight PST, so I still had time to listen, as I’m in the eastern time zone!

    I’ve appreciated all the very specific information you’ve given us, the scientific studies and other resources you’ve mentioned, the personal examples you’ve shared and the questions you’ve posed. You’re right that it is a lot of information to digest! Many, many thanks.

  • Jenny Robertson

    What worked? Lessons less than 15 minutes. Longer ones felt like a chore. Pointers to other people; I’m now reading Switch and loving it. What didn’t work? The comments here were unwieldy and impossible to follow. The folks who posted early had it good, but the rest were lost in space. It would be lovely to have something like bj fogg’s little “yyy” system. Although the meaty discussions were good for some, I feel like the tail people didn’t get any feedback. Or, maybe we did? But, it was lost.

    • I agree that I was always relieved when the classes were 15 minutes or less. And I also agree that the comments page is terrible to navigate! I would very much have preferred a forum style, though I understand that this was a free class. But maybe in the future you can set up a forum instead.

  • Chris

    Thank you for the free class which was so value packed!! It’s been transformational even though I am still working on my resolution of writing 30 minutes a day. I’m going to follow the 5R’s and by years end I know I’ll be writing at least 30 minutes a day. I have learned a lot of helpful tools that will help me make it happen. I was very successful with 2 tiny habits (flossing my teeth and doing squats daily). They are now pretty automatic. I really appreciated all the references to other researchers work. The Greater Good website is one of my favorites. A million thanks.

  • mary

    Thank you Christine! This class was just what I needed. I have struggled with my desired resolution for a very long time. Thanks to your breaking things down into tiny habits, I was able to achieve my goal within the 21 days. I was able to wrap my mind around the concepts you provided easily and it helped to change my habitual patterns a tiny step at a time. I liked the elephant and the rider, the visualizations and the positive approach of self-compassion towards our journey. I will continue to go over my worksheets and class notes to remind me of those tiny steps. Bless you and thank you for this work that you do.

  • Darlene

    Thank you for making this course available at no charge. Many would not have participated otherwise. Your asking for feedback got me thinking . . . It’s probably just my own hangup but I had trouble with some of the wording of things i.e. ‘anchor’ and ‘mindful eating’. As I understood it, the word anchor is interchangeable with trigger and the definition of these two words is not even close – I probably missed the whole concept but it kept throwing me off in my thinking. And for me, mindful eating is such a broad term but I guess I was to apply the turtle steps to lead to more mindful eating.

    HOWEVER, I found the course to be a valuable opportunity that has set me on a path of positive change. I have found the turtle step of eating a fruit or a vege with each meal and snack has created more mindful eating which leads to lower caloric intake which leads to shedding a few pounds which leads to looking fab in the dress! Who won the race? Why, the turtle of course! Yay for Us!

    • Wendy

      Darlene I have enjoyed and appreciated our cyber exchanges! Thank you!
      I got the premium class. Am not on Facebook but maybe I will check out the discussions with that class. Yay you and yay us! 🙂

  • AWESOME! Am unexpectedly & wonderfully at the point of getting edgy if I come close in any way to missing my turtle-steps, and for any reason. This experience motivates me to hang
    in resolutely day by day, 21-days at a time, to see what I can develop by June 21 2013. THANKS — for these tools offered in this practical way. Will keep ’em shiny!

  • Madia T

    Oh my! Thank you so much for this class. I have learned about myself and my habits. I see how taking baby steps/turtle steps/tiny habits can make a permanent habit for the long term.

    Today’s class has also reminded me of taking it slowly and not piling on so much, as was always the case in the past. Yesterday, I remember wanting to just do my routine of waking up, drinking water, making up my bed, and meditating. Today, I will begin to focus again on my resolution of staying calm always.

    What hasn’t worked for me throughout the 21 days is waking up at 5:00 and staying awake. I have decided to wake up at 6:00am instead and go to bed at 10:00pm to get enough sleep and rest. I will continue to keep my alarm at 5:00am to get into the habit of just waking up at 5:00am and then get up and complete my routine at 6:00am instead. Waking up early is an important key to my resolution and next month, I will place another tiny habit at the end of my day to help solidify my resolution.

    You have helped me teach my family the importance of a routine through tiny steps and one thing at a time. In December, I had designated chores that I knew would be challenging and possibly stressful to us. When I began this class, I lessened the chores and asked us all to focus on one specific thing. My specific thing is calm. With this focus, it has made our lives healthier and loving.

    Thank you for all you do. I am grateful for you, Christine. You ROCK!

  • Wendy

    Thank you for the course Christine. I love your enthusiasm, your belief in your ‘students’ and your compassion. I love the blend of science and life experience. I love the references to other books etc. I have ordered some. I loved reading the comments and contributions from the community of participants, the honesty and insightful ness.
    I am having a vague feeling of impending separation anxiety!!!! Seriously I am trying to decide about the premium version, just so I can tap into this to help me with the 5R’s, but I get too that one needs to internalise these strategies and mechanisms, and be our own life coach!
    Thank you everyone for sharing this journey. Wishing you all contentment.

    • Wendy

      About 5 seconds after writing this post I bought the premium version! So much for impending separation anxiety! ; )

  • Liz

    Last class and more… Thank you for this class. I’ve learned a good amount and appreciated the strategies. Because I missed the first few days and stubbornly refused to buy the premium class (until today), I was always a bit confused about anchors and turtle steps. I think that lack of information undermined me a bit. My ideal resolution is a decluttered home. What has worked best for me is the tiny steps. I can get myself to do something that takes less than 30 seconds. I have never, however, Gotten anywhere near my baseline goal of 10 minutes a day of putting things away. I think I will have to go back and break it down to multiple 30 second pieces. I also need a better anchor. My working memory is crap, so even if I think that I will do something, say, whenever I first enter my office in the morning to start work, the chance that I will remember it (especially if I don’t want to do it) is about nil. So, I am re-starting. I did buy the premium class, primarily so that I could use the class for guidance as I continue to work with this habit and then start a new one. Thanks again Christine, and to everyone who made so many helpful posts!

  • Dana

    Thanks for a great class, Christine!

    As of day three, I had a mega-resolution including mindful eating, weight loss, how I treat my family, how mealtime works — and more. Many, many steps in the routine I wanted to start. That third night I broke my right foot and ankle. Suddenly, I couldn’t walk or drive, do chores, get to work. My anchor (routines) were no longer there. I will not be back to them for some time; meanwhile, I’m grateful to have notes from most days of class (I missed two).

    This “setback” forced me to pare back to some really clear tiny habits: for the last 18 days I have expressed my gratitude to whoever in the family made our dinner meal, I have savored the food for at least 30 seconds during the meal, and I have complimented some positive aspect of the meal. Very tiny. But bigger results: I’m eating more slowly (and occasionally more mindfully), I’m more satisfied after dinner though eating less, dinner table conversations have been more amicable – some even quite fun, and I feel better about how Im treating others at the low point of my day.

    The three tiny habits – the chain reaction was amazing. Thank you for the research, the encouragement, and for making the whole thing fun!

  • fairlady68

    Thank you Dr. Carter…one thing I especially appreciate is the simplicity of the videos…just your voice and text on slides. No other distracting images. Much easier for me to focus on the content.

  • Lynette

    Even though I wake up automatically in the morning, I found that setting my alarm for 6 a.m. and meditating (in bed) just makes me feel that my life is more structured and serene.
    My next tiny habit was to note that after I had finished work, had dinner and relaxed, it was easy to clear up my clutter, ten minutes at a time. Whee! a clean desk.

    Here’s a little challenge I have: I am an author, speaker, coach, trainer, and my daily schedule leaps all over the place. Some days I will have a breakfast meeting, another day a luncheon meeting/presentation, or even a dinner. I may have several days at home in my own office, which is great for scheduling habits, but then the merry-to-round starts again. Anyone else dealing with this challenge? How, and how well?,

  • baxter

    had the flue yesterday–on unemployment so i can’t afford to purchase right now. i’ve really enjoyed this series and i hate to have missed the most important one on handling setbacks.

    • Beth

      Same problem. My internet connection crashed last night.

      • I was thinking last night that (if it isn’t too hard logistically) I’ll repost that class in a couple of weeks just to get people on track. Don’t hold me to it, as I need to check with the people who know how to do such things without making the classroom a mess, but I’d like to be able to provide that for you — I want everyone to have that class!

        • Beth

          That would be amazing! And it does seem like a critical class and one that would be good to look at again a week or two later. Thank you for your compassion. You are helping people in invaluable ways.

  • Danielle

    This class has been a great confidence builder for me. I realized that in the past I would really bite off far more than I could ever hope to chew, get overwhelmed, and feel unable to accomplish what I wanted. I also wouldn’t know how to proceed in order to succeed.

    This class helped me see how to work towards a goal a little at time, consistently. It has driven home the need to work every single day on the goal I wish to accomplish. I also know that even now I tend to attempt too much at once. My resolution for this class needs refining but even attempting it has improved my daily schedule for the better because I am more mindful of how I will feel if I stray from my goal vs. sticking with it.

    I found the material on willpower drains, how to increase willpower, and dealing positively with setbacks and negative emotions very helpful. I hadn’t realized how much energy I expend repeatedly making decisions for what should be routine tasks–no wonder I feel so depleted sometimes!

    I plan to really take care to break goals down into tiny habits and go slowly. It’s so much easier that way.

    Thanks again for a great class!

  • Beth

    I really enjoy the enthusiasm that you have brought to this topic, and presenting information that is based on science. I am the oddball in this class, dealing with a hair-pulling disorder, and not a more classic habit such as exercising more, or eating better. However, as I suspected, the information in this class was very relevant to me and could help others with my disorder. The current treatments for hair-pulling (known as trichotillomania) include different types of therapy and habit reversal training. HRT I found to be only temporarily helpful while I continued to see a therapist each week. This provided accountability. My therapist was my “cabinet”!! But I knew there must be a better way, a way for me to take hold of habit training myself and develop individualized methods for ME! Thank you, Christine. I will recommend this class to others.

    • Wow, that is so interesting, and I’m glad you shared your experience. And I’m even more glad that the class was helpful! I’m not surprised that the science applies to most habits…

  • Beth

    Anchor #1: sitting at computer
    Apply lotion to hands, rub vigorously, tell myself my encouraging words
    This sets me up to have relaxed hands when I work, for my goal of “relaxed hands that don’t fidget with hair”
    Tiny habit: put lotion in front of keyboard when leaving computer.

    Anchor #2: laying down in bed, picking up book to read
    Apply lotion to hands, rub vigorously, tell myself my encouraging statements
    This sets me up for relaxed hands when reading
    Tiny habit: put lotion on top of book when I’m done reading.

  • Viji

    Dear Dr. Carter,
    Thank you for the gracious gift of your time, enormous effort, background research, social commitment and caring. Everything about the course – the format, organization, references, personal touches, discussions and feedback worked for me and I am grateful. I also thank all the folks who supported you in this endeavor and helped you put together the ‘face’ of this marvelous course and helped troubleshoot. Wish you a Happy ‘Habit Filled’ New year :)!

    • YES: Thank you SO MUCH to Monica, who made this whole class work from an operations standpoint, and supported us all!!!

  • LisaLou

    thank you dr carter for offering this free class, and the discount too.it was the nudge I needed to give it a try and it has been a wonderful experience. I feel very committed to continuing to add new tiny habits (thank you for that clarification in today’s class…perhaps you offered that before and I missed it…my tiny habits initially weren’t that tiny at all).

    I agree with others that the 15. min or less classes were a relief, even though I usually looked forward to them. also agree that the discussion forum was unwieldy. I appreciated it so much (especially Darlene and Wendy for their kind encouragement…if only I felt so comfortable being vulnerable with my local friends like I did with you!), but after awhile i found that I was going to bed too late if I took the time to review all the comments, respond, etc. it’s one of the powerful parts of this class…your encouraging us to make our habits public here…

    thank you again. I wish everyone happiness, peace, health and strength (from the loving kindness meditation I downloaded yesterday…those referrals to other resources were a big part of this classes success for me, too!,)

    • Darlene

      Thank you so much LisaLou, I appreciated your encouragement immensely and will miss this connection. I think some of our local friends might surprise us . . . as we found in this community – others feel the same insecurities we do. Continued success 🙂

      • Wendy

        I agree …..take a tiny step with one trusted friend with sharing some aspect of a vulnerability. I think people appreciate being real with each other, and feeling entrusted with a confidence. Good luck!

  • Just finished the class, and realized IT had become the habit…I totally looked forward to listening and taking notes and “thinking about my thinking”, and felt like something was “off” if I missed it one day. My chosen goal for this first try was to get to bed by10:30, lights out no later than 11. (I read, journal and pray in bed at the end of the day) Although many nights I was doing this class at midnight, (fail!) I was looking at the problem scientifically and objectively, which helped me to be compassionate with myself. I took time to be introspective and curious as to why I don’t want to go to bed and felt confident that it’s a learning process and that I would ultimately succeed. As I read posts by other perfectionist procrastinators like me, I laughed and felt compassion for all of us. What really helped was the first class where I listed ALL the changes I wanted to make in my life and then could see which would have the most impact on my life. I could clearly see (for the first time) that getting enough sleep would be the first step in helping me attain further goals; more energy, better health, a calmer, happier perspective…

    Also helpful was all the info on how our brains function. It made me realize
    that we just do the best we can with the equipment we have, and the more we
    know about how/why we work the way we do, the easier it becomes to make
    changes. Tiny habits!!?? A totally new concept for me and it’s wonderful.
    Willpower drains, needing glucose to function… I work with children for a
    living so I knew this was true for the kids, but somehow didn’t apply it to
    myself. I even forget to pee when I’m working! So, thinking clearly about
    supporting my body in order to have more willpower created an instant habit; as
    soon as I said “ahha” to myself I’ve been able to make many changes.

    The format of listening and seeing the screen while taking notes works well for me; reading all the other posts was quite valuable too. There was an element of playfulness and fun in
    all the daily classes and I look forward to starting over on the next resolution once I get Good Sleep to be a habit. I have done “8 hours per night” only twice in the past 21 days, but my overall hours have greatly improved. As I said, doing the habit class was the habit I’ve successfully formed! I ordered the premium class and will continue to hone my sleep resolution before I start the next resolution.

    Thanks to everyone who posted, and especially to you, Christine. I love your Raising Happiness project, although my kids are grown, and I often forward the newsletter to parents of children in my care.
    Blessings to all!

  • FOLKS: I just want to say THANK YOU again. Every person who expressed gratitude below, or who took the time to tell us how this class changed their life, or who wrote “Christine, you ROCK!” has really touched my heart. I can’t wait to be able to offer another class like this, and I hope that you all will participate.

    Logistical note: After today, I won’t be commenting in this classroom, but I will continue the discussion in the premium classroom and with the Facebook group.

    Sending you all lots of LOVE and WILLPOWER, and, of course, good thoughts for your happiness habits.

    xoxo
    Christine

  • Joy

    I got so much support from the class; I am definitely going to miss it. I have purchased the premium version, so I can continue on my journey and take on new habits (from that long list – sometimes hard to prioritize which is more important!). Simplifying, prioritizing and just choosing a single habit will still be a challenge, but this class has showed me how incredibly important that is.

    I have also shared with friends, and am hopeful they will join me in continuing. One of my suggestions would be to have a way that friends can take the class “together” easily so they can support one another, create a mini-community and share their supportive comments. Also consider offering a bonus for having 4 or more people sign up together, or something.

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