It takes you 21 days to make (a new) or break (a bad) habit. This is written in the book make or break a habit by Studio Oh!. "We are what we repeatedly do" is a famous quote by Aristotle.
I was curious if it was true to make a new habit when you focus on it for 21 days. So I started a habit project together with Olya in June 2014. We bought that book by Studio Oh! and decided on a habit we wanted to make.
The book has three sections. In the first section you write down what your goal is, what new habit you want to make or bad habit you want to break. You also answer a few questions including why you want to accomplish this.
The second part is the diary part. There are four pages for every day. On the first page you write down the steps you're going to take today and on the other three pages you have a place to write down your thoughts and feelings you had during that day. After every seven days you have to review the previous week. What went good? What wasn't the way you wanted it to be? What will you change in the following week?
And the third section covers the future. The idea is to check back in a few weeks/months to see if you're still doing well with your new habit/without your old habit.
My goal was (and still is) to get up at least one hour before I leave the house. I wanted to create a calming morning routine which helps me to start the day in a positive mood. Mornings have always been a magical time for me but because I always went to bed way too late it was hard for me to get up early. Prior to my habit project I got up at 7am, took a shower, got dressed and was out of the house at 8am. You can easily tell that this wasn't a perfect situation.
The book tells you to visualize your goal and bring those ideas to life by creating a mood board in your notebook. With mornings I visualize light, cool breeze, birds, white sheets, breakfast, a cup of tea, calmness, sunshine and quiet.
Before I started with actually making this new habit I made a lot of research about how to get up earlier and embrace the mornings. On Leo Babuta's blog zenhabits I found a lot of good articles about mornings and in this article he talked about The Most Successful Techniques for Rising Early. It really helped me to get motivated with creating my new habit. The best way to get up earlier is to do it gradually. This means in the first few days you'll get up 15-20 minutes earlier and when your body is used to that you'll get up a little bit earlier again.