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From my studies of inspirational and productive people, I've come to realise that consistency is key to success and a major flaw in my character. There are a number of things I wish to do daily/weekly/regularly that I'm unable to stick at. Examples:

Walk dog. Study scriptures. Write journal. Exercise. Stretches. Read non-fiction. Rest / relaxation. Mediation.

I've tried the don't break the chain method with some success, but that soon fell apart too. The only major success I've had at being consistent is a 5x50 challenge where I ran 5k a day for 50 days. I was sponsored to do this which meant I felt an obligation to do this as people had generously paid a lot of money and that kept me diligent in this task.

What techniques can I employ, either practically or psychologically, to increase my diligence in regular activites that I know are beneficial to me?

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I find that planning a weekly routine is essential to getting more (known) things done. For this, I would:

  1. List the goals you want to achieve
  2. In a calendar application (I use Google calendar), schedule the things you cannot move (day job, meal times, sleep time)
  3. Out of the remaining hours, allocate time to each goal, giving enough "buffer time" before and after activities

After coming up with the plan, the difficult part is to stick with it. Things that can help you stick with the plan:

  1. Get others to join in some of your activities (exercising can be fun with a friend), but ensure that they are motivated to do the activity as well
  2. Put your money on the line. In university, I used to promise a friend that "I will finish this assignment by tomorrow, otherwise I'm buying you dinner"
  3. Disable means of procrastination (such as disabling your facebook account, unplug the tv, etc.)
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It is important to fine tune the load of new habits (their number/difficulty/time required) so that you can keep them up over the days. Better to be consistent with few but important habits than struggling with accommodating a heavy load of activities esp. when you're starting to build them.

I decompose my personal life into fronts e.g. religion, social, family, work etc. For each each front I decide what is the single most important new habit that I can work on this week. Then I focus on this single habit per front until I master it and be able to do it with little effort.

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+1. The OP mentions "a number of things", so it may well be that he is trying to build multiple habits at the same time. That probably won't work, willpower is limited (read Willpower by Baumeister and Tierney). Better to work on one habit at a time and only add a new one when the old one is well established. – Stephan Kolassa Apr 7 '14 at 8:52

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