I'm halfway through the book "The power of habit" at the moment and here's two little titbits I've picked up so far:
1. Habits have a trigger and a reward and you'll get nowhere unless you work within this fact.
Yesterday I had some success, I was trying to fix a dumb programming mistake and getting frustrated. Normally that would trigger my usual behaviour of running off to /r/funny or HN to get my little reward of amusement/knowledge. This time however I was mindful of the loop and said to myself that my reward would be the feeling of fixing it and having the tests pass. It worked. I got my head down, fixed the bug, and felt good about myself.
2. People who successfully adhere to a habit change routine, visualize and practice how to deal with "inflection points" upfront. Inflection points here are those tough spots where you are more vulnerable to regressing to your previous behaviour.
I've been having a bit of trouble lately sticking to my habit of getting up at 5am to work on my own stuff (open source and writing a book). Last night I thought about my alarm going off, feeling the cold outside the duvet and having an overwhelming desire to roll over and go back to sleep and visualized myself just getting straight out of bed. Sure enough, this morning my alarm went off and I was out of bed before I was even fully awake.
I think it's going well, however here I am procrastinating by writing a big post on HN, so YMMV :-)
Visualization, if you have the underlying motivation, is how to get started. Then after 5 minutes of focus can be right into it..
At the moment I've gone through my morning websites, consumed everything I need to, replied to emails I need to, and now this is my second visit to HN ... so it times to make my work environment a clean slate, eliminate all distractions, and focus for a little while... perhaps I'm not awake enough for the focus required though either... |)