Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto, kemosabe. There’s no reason you have to try to change those bad habits all by your lonesome. Here are a couple of good sources of help.
Friends and relatives can be a tremendous encouragement. Send them an email detailing exactly what you are trying to change, how you are going about it, and your target date (more about that later). But choose wisely, young padawan. Pick people who are interested in your success and will be good about following up! I usually ask my mom, dad, brother, and two friends to help me keep on track with my goals and to ask me how I’m doing on a regular basis. Thank them each time they bring it up; they’re doing you a real service!
Stickk.com is a nice little website that will allow you to support charities as you work on your goals. Stickk.com asks you to spell out the exact details of your goal and how you will accomplish it, and then put money down on it. You report on your progress on a regular basis, and if you’ve failed to keep your goal, Stickk will send a percentage of your money to the charity of your choice. At the end of the period you specified, Stickk returns to you any money left in the pot. For example, you could commit to studying two hours every day for the next month and send Stickk $300. Every day Stickk emails you to see if you did your two hours. If you didn’t, Stickk sends $10 to PETA or the NRA or whoever you picked. At the end of the month, Stickk returns any money that’s left. The trick is to pick a charity you REALLY don’t like!
Challenge partners are people who are working on their own goals and are willing to encourage and challenge you in exchange for you doing the same for them. The more people you get involved in this, the better. Schedule weekly meetings where everyone in the group shares their progress for the week. This is the idea behind twelve-step programs, Weight Watchers, etc. It’s been phenomenally successful for many years with those programs. It can work for you too!
Get leverage. Stickk.com is a great example of getting leverage on yourself to make meeting your goals much more doable, but you don’t have to use stickk.com! You could do the same process with your friends, relatives, and challenge partners. Clearly write down your commitment and then put something on the line. It could be money, as with stickk.com, but it doesn’t have to be. I know of two ladies who were trying to lose weight. Their agreement was that if they failed to meet their commitment, they would have to eat a full can of Alpo dog food! You could also blackmail yourself. Write down something really embarrassing about yourself and put it in a closed envelope. Give that to someone you really trust with instructions to open it only if you don’t keep your commitment. However you decide to get leverage on yourself choose something that makes failure unthinkable.