Control Bad Habits with Daily Reminders

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Monday Motivation Hack: Breaking Bad Habits

At any given time, everyone is trying to break at least one bad habit.

Bad habits sap our confidence, time, and energy and keep us from living our healthiest, most productive, and happiest lives.

Whether you want to eat better, improve teamwork skills, quit smoking, listen more, or something else, we’ve compiled some best practices that will have you breaking bad habits for good.

Before You Start Breaking Your Bad Habits. . .

I’ll be straight with you—jumping into this whole-hog is a recipe for disaster. Human brains are primitively hard-wired to seek rewards, which makes changing habits time-consuming and difficult.

If you’re going to do this, do it right.

  • Clarify your bad habit. What habit do you want to break? Think about it seriously. Regularly remind yourself about it. Then, ask yourself why you want to change it. What are you losing out on now? What do you stand to gain?
  • Write it down. Journal or make notes about your bad habit. Pay special attention to the triggers and context that accompany it.

How to Break Bad Habits

1 Get Your Mind Right

Stop thinking of yourself as a practitioner of your particular bad habit. Marie Forleo recommends changing your inner dialogue from “I can’t” to “I don’t” as a powerful starting point.

2 Give Yourself Time

On average, it takes sixty-six days to change a habit, and there is a lot of variance. It’s a commitment. Consequently, some experts recommend taking a month to reflect on a bad habit before making a change.

Itching to start? Do a test run. Drop the habit for a week, then review to iron out the kinks.

3 Take Small Steps

Make every step as simple as possible. Jenny C. Evans, author of The Resiliency rEvolution advises making changes so minute that they remain undetectable by the primitive brain and do not trigger a stress response. So, if you want to quit smoking, cut back how much you smoke daily instead of going cold turkey.

4 Build in Accountability

Make new habit-formation a team effort by involving friends—it’s easier and more motivating than going solo. Remain accountable to yourself by setting reminders. Trying to eat better? Set daily reminders to order a side salad instead of fries. If you need something more compelling, bet money on it with 21habit and have your investment keep you honest.

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5 Strengthen Your Willpower

Avoiding relapse is impossible without self-control. Willpower is a muscle you can strengthen with simple tips, like changing your environment (the out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach) or creating an If-Then Plan.

6 Make Alternatives Concrete

Often you’re not only stopping a bad habit, but also trying to replace it with something better. The Simple List Method is ideal for this situation. Basically, list the behavior you want to see and a corresponding concrete action, e.g., Listen better → Don’t bring a phone to meetings.

7 Associate Bad Habits with Something Negative

Break the magical hold of a bad habit by focusing on why it’s awful. Being mindful is surprisingly good at helping you with that. Imagine practicing mindful smoking or mindful procrastination. It’s naturally unappealing—exactly what you’re after!

8 Track Progress and Analyze It

Whether you journal or keep a table of success like the Simple List Method, it’s important to track progress, reflect periodically, and find patterns. Analyzing your results helps you understand if you fall off the wagon on certain days or in certain contexts. This knowledge will inform your habit-breaking approach moving forward.

How to build good work habits (and finally get rid of your bad ones)

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

As Pulitzer Prize-winning author and philosopher Will Durant explains, good habits are the foundation of a meaningful life. Unfortunately for us, however, their very nature makes habits hard to control.

As the brain takes in more and more complex information, it looks for any repeatable tasks it can put on autopilot to free up mental energy. According to researchers at Duke University, up to 40% of our behaviors on any given day are driven by habit.

Which is fantastic if we’re doing the right things, but what happens if we’ve mistakenly programmed the wrong behaviors? (Which I’m sure most of us probably have).

Bad habits are rampant in our lives, from eating poorly, to spending too long on distracting websites or watching tv, to showing up to a job you hate. But with half our days spent on autopilot, it’s essential that we build healthy, good habits that make us more productive at work and improve all parts of our lives.

In this guide, we’ll go over exactly how to make those changes and promote better habits that improve all aspects of your life, from your health to your happiness and contentment at work.

How to build good work habits

Making your good habits stick

How to break bad habits

How to build good work habits

Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches success story. We want to know about the scrappy young entrepreneur who came from nothing and built a billion-dollar empire or the dishevelled street scrapper who grew up to be a prizefighter.

But while these stories have a clear beginning and an exciting end, where they always fail is in the middle (where all the real work happens). To start building our personal success stories, we need to make sure that we’re doing the right things every single day to get us closer to our dream ending.

So, let’s start with the basics around how to build good habits into all aspects of your life.

The difference between habits and goals

“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself.”

We often think of goals and habits as part of the same beast. But as entrepreneur Seth Godin explains above, goals can actually get in the way of making that first step towards them.

When we’re obsessed with hitting a certain goal, it can be all too easy to fall into a desire to reach our destination—one that fools us into thinking the result is the prize. Instead, we need to switch our focus to our daily actions. Remove the emphasis on the end goal and start focusing and getting excited about the process.

It’s a small switch, but one that takes the pressure off hitting that audacious life goal, and puts it on something more manageable: your daily habits. As author James Clear says:

“It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.”

While goals are important for keeping us motivated and moving in the right direction, our life’s journey only happens if we repeatedly put one foot in front of the other, day after day.

The science of how habits work

Whether it’s reaching for a cigarette, how you communicate with your colleagues, or mindlessly opening your phone, there are behaviors we do on a daily basis that we’d like to change. Change comes from understanding, and luckily, while all of these habits are personal and different, they all follow the same mental framework.

When behavioral psychologist BJ Fogg started to research how we form habits, he discovered a chain reaction that make behaviors shift from a choice to a habit:

  • Reminder: The trigger than initiates the behavior
  • Routine: The behavior itself; the action you take
  • Reward: The benefit you gain from doing the behavior

Author Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit, explained it further, replacing the work ‘reminder’ with ‘cue’:

“A habit is a formula our brain automatically follows: When I see CUE, I will do ROUTINE in order to get a REWARD.”

Seems simple enough in theory, but how does a habit work in real life? Let’s start with one we’re most likely all guilt of.

  • Reminder: Your phone buzzes in your pocket, alerting you that some new notification or update is available.
  • Routine: You take your phone out of your pocket and look for where the notification came from. Email? Text? Tagged on Twitter or Instagram?
  • Reward: You find out what the notification was and satisfy your curiosity that was triggered when your phone buzzed.

And the result of these actions? If the reward is positive, it creates a positive feedback loop that tells your brain to do the same actions the next time it’s triggered by a buzz from your phone. Once you go through this loop a few times, you’ll stop thinking about it and will act automatically.

Habits are built on choice, but sustained through consistency.

How to start building new habits (and why it’s so hard)

If we know how habits are built, then we can start looking at how to build the ones we want in our life.

Building a habit that sticks is a long, tough road, but you can make it easier and give yourself a better chance of success if you approach it the right way. Simply saying ‘I’m going to do things this way from now on,’ is a surefire way to fast-track yourself to failure. Instead, we need to embrace the habit forming framework we learned above.

Here’s a few tips:

Start by scheduling your reminder: The cue that triggers your habit sometimes needs a little help getting started. It’s all well and good to say you’re going to eat healthier, but actually following through is another thing. There’s a few ways you can set up your scheduled reminder:

Actually schedule it: If you want to eat healthier snacks, set a daily timer for when you’re most likely to snack. This way you’ll both be building a new, good habit, while helping get rid of an unhealthy one.

Create ‘if-then’ statements: If your habit isn’t necessarily time-based, you can still schedule it by creating ‘if-then’ statements for your reminder. For example, you could say, “if it is lunchtime, then I will only eat vegetables and meat.”

Make your routine as easy to do as possible: Most new habits fail because we’re over ambitious in what we can achieve. However, the power of good habits is in their compounding ability. The more you keep them up, the bigger the return.

So, start small when you’re building a new habit. Instead of working out 5 times a week, which involves scheduling, travel, showering, and cleaning your gym clothes, start by doing 5 pushups or squats, or going for a 5-min walk around the block. As BJ Fogg said:

“To create a new habit, you must first simplify the behavior. Make it tiny, even ridiculous. A good tiny behavior is easy to do — and fast.”

Eliminate all the other options: Until a habit becomes automatic it’s still a choice. Which means every time you try to engage it there are unlimited options of other things you can do. It’s lunchtime and you had a bad day? Just go grab a slice of pizza today instead of eating your healthy lunch. You deserve it!

When social psychologist Kathleen Vohs and her colleagues studied the effects of self-control, they found that making repeated choices depleted the mental energy of their subjects, even if those choices were mundane and relatively pleasant. So, when you’re trying to build a new, good habit, don’t even give yourself an alternate option.

Don’t want to eat unhealthy food? Don’t keep it in the house. Don’t want to go out for food? Pack your lunch every morning and leave your wallet in the car. The more you can make your routine not only the best option, but the only option, the more likely it will become automatic.

How to build good habits without getting overwhelmed

At this point it can seem like bringing new habits into your life is a monumental task. And it can be. As we said before, up to 40% of our daily activities are based on habits. So when you change your habits, you’re in all honesty changing your life.

While this might sound like some grand statement, it’s actually slightly freeing. No one expects you to change your life overnight. And one of the basics of building new habits is to build and grow them slowly over time.

In fact, we know that multitasking is a myth. So, if we’re trying to change our lives, build good habits, and get rid of our bad ones at the same time, we need to focus on one thing at a time.

Luckily, thanks to ‘keystone habits’ the small work we do to change one part of our life can have far-reaching benefits. A keystone habit is an action or behavior that sets off a chain reaction that encourage us to build other healthy habits without trying.

Here’s an example: For many people who want to be more healthy, they know they need to exercise, eat better, get more sleep, and be more productive at work to have time to hit the gym.

However, rather than building all of those habits individually, we can look at just exercising as a keystone habit. When we exercise, we’re more inclined to eat better, we fall asleep faster, and have more energy throughout the day. The one habit builds others simultaneously.

For others, it might be the simple act of making the bed, which has (somewhat strangely) been shown to correlate with higher productivity, more success at sticking to a budget, and even a greater sense of well-being.

Here’s how author Charles Duhigg describes the power of keystone habits:

“The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to change your self image. Basically, anything can become a keystone habit if it has this power to make you see yourself in a different way.”

Making your good habits stick

Starting down the path to building good habits is one thing. Keeping up with them until they become a part of your life is another.

I can’t even estimate the number of times I’ve dropped a new, good behavior after a few weeks and found myself back on the familiar path of not exercising, wasting time at work, or binging Netflix before bed. So how do we protect our newfound habits?

Let’s look at a few of the biggest issues that get in the way of keeping your habits going strong, and what you can do to make good habits stick.

Common mistakes that can break your good habits

Awareness is key to building good habits. And there are certain red flags you can look for if you feel yourself slipping or think your bad habits are creeping back into your life:

  • Focusing too much on the end goal: Best-selling author Seth Godin calls these ‘crash diets’—where we put all our energy on looking for the quickest route to our goal, rather than starting small and building our good habits. Instead, think about the actions you’re taking rather than where you’re going.
  • Taking on too much at once: Look at your to-do list. I’d wager there’s more there than you could do today, let alone in the next 2 days. When you’re building good habits, taking on too much gives you an easy excuse to put off the behaviors you’re trying to make routine.
  • Procrastinating before we even trigger our habit: The first step in building habits is to trigger them with a cue. But what if you can’t even get that far? Procrastination doesn’t only stop us from doing meaningful work, but can prevent us from working towards building our habits. For tips on overcoming procrastination, check out this article.
  • Creating a deadline, not a schedule: We already spoke about the difference between goals and habits, and this is very much the same. When you set a deadline for building your habits, you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment if you don’t hit it. Instead, commit to a schedule. If you want to be healthier, say you’ll exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If you want to get more done at work, say you’ll write 1000 words every morning. The power is in the process.
  • Not being excited enough about the reward:Countless studies have shown that a trigger and a reward aren’t enough to build a new habit. To build one that lasts, your brain needs to start expecting and anticipating the reward. Make sure that whatever reward you’re getting—whether it’s the rush of endorphins from exercise, or the pride of publishing—you think about it regularly and build up excitement.

The power of motivation and willpower

At this point, you’re most likely starting to understand a few things about good habits. They’re extremely powerful and even life-changing, but not so easy to get going with. To make sure you’re making your good habits stick, we need to be aware of 2 contributing factors:

Willpower: Without willpower, our ability to make good decisions and therefore build good habits, goes out the window. Willpower is what makes sure you don’t procrastinate before triggering your routine and what ensures you don’t make excuses as to why you shouldn’t do it.

While there has recently been contradictory research into willpower and how it works, most studies agree our belief systems play a large role in it. If we believe we have the willpower to make the choices we want we’re more likely to feel mentally stronger.

Motivation: Along with willpower, how much motivation we have can also hinder our ability to maintain good habits. Motivation is a tricky beast and can feel like it comes and goes without warning. However, researchers have found a few ways to increase internal motivation. First, reflect on your performance and the pride you find in completing your good habits.

If this doesn’t work, try reminiscing about your past performance. Think about the last time you exercised or ate well. According to research, it doesn’t matter whether this is a positive memory or negative, the simple act of recalling can help boost motivation and keep you on track with your habits.

Using reviews, feedback, and tools to track your progress

Habits by their very nature are consistent actions. To keep ourselves on track and move our habits from decision-based actions to automatic responses, we need to be able to keep track of our performance.

There are 3 main pieces that will help you keep your habits in check:

  • Feedback loops: These are quick and easy ways to track your actions and give you feedback on ways to improve them. This could mean having an app track your habit-building efforts or even just a friend or partner who checks in with you.
  • Weekly, and monthly reviews: Regular reviews are great ways to see if you’re keeping up with your habits. Here’s a list of what to include in both weekly and monthly reviews.
  • Tools to track your actions: Both of these practices involve self-awareness of how you’re spending your time. Which can be hard to track on your own. RescueTime is a hands-off approach to monitoring your digital activities that helps you build stronger habits.

How to get back on track when you slip up

How many times have you been good about following your new habits for 5–6 days and then something got in the way? Life is chaotic and we can’t always stick to our new goals. However, the worst thing we can do at this point is to simply stop.

Habit formation hinges on your ability to bounce back. And the best strategy isn’t just to avoid failure, but to plan for it.

Here are a few proven techniques for helping you get back on track if you slip up and miss your habits a few days in a row:

  • Find an accountability partner: Habits built in silence are easier to break. Instead, bring in a partner or a group and tell them to keep you accountable to your plan. You can even go so far as to set up a service like Beeminder that changes you if you skip your habit 2 days in a row.
  • Don’t fantasize about the end result: A variety of research has shown that excessive fantasizing about the results of your new habits can actually be detrimental to the stickiness of that habit. Instead, those who visualized doing the work (eating healthy, studying a language, working out at the gym) were more likely to stick with their habit.
  • Create a supportive environment: Our environment can make or break our habit-building efforts. If you find yourself prone to bad behaviors, get rid of them. For example, if you smoke whenever you drink and you want to stop, don’t go out drinking. If you watch TV in the afternoon instead of working, block Netflix on your laptop until 6pm.
  • Write your habits down on the calendar: Just like an accountability partner will help keep you on track, the act of writing down your habits and seeing them on your calendar can jumpstart them.
  • If you can’t do your habit, just do something: Missing one of your routines isn’t terrible, it’s trying to come back when you fell off the wagon 6 weeks ago. That’s why it’s critical to stick to your schedule. And if you can’t? Just do something. If you want to build a habit of writing 1000 words but don’t have time today, write 500, or 200. If it’s a healthier lifestyle and you can’t make it to the gym, do some pushups or squats.

How to break bad habits

With a solid understanding of how to build and maintain our new, good habits, let’s briefly talk about the other part of the equation: Getting rid of those pesky bad habits that just won’t go away.

Replacing bad habits with good ones

The modern world is built around capturing your attention, and app developers, entrepreneurs, and businesses of all kinds know how to make using their products one of your habits.

Which is why building new, good habits, is so hard. There’s no secret formula for instantly changing your habits, but now that we understand how they work, we can use that framework for our own benefit:

Step 1: Discover what sets off your bad habit

Start with the trigger. What is it that sets you off on the path to your bad habit?

Almost all habitual reminders fit into one of these categories:

  • Location
  • Time
  • Emotional state
  • Other people
  • Immediately preceding action

When The Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg was trying to figure out the trigger for his bad habit of eating a cookie in the afternoon, he started tracking each of these factors the moment the craving hit.

After a few days, he noticed that while most factors changed daily, the time stayed pretty much consistent. With that information, you can start to counteract your bad habit before it even kicks in.

Step 2: Understand the craving your habit satisfies

In all of the examples of bad habits we’ve used so far—checking your phone, eating poorly, watching TV, etc—we’ve had a pretty clear idea what the reward was that our body was after. It could be a distraction, a hit of sugar, or just something conditioned by repeat use. But what happens when that reward isn’t clear?

It’s nearly impossible to quit a habit cold turkey, and so in order to get it out of your life, you need to replace the routine, but replicate the reward.

Start by experimenting with different rewards. Keeping with Duhigg’s cookie example, he knew his reward could be anything from the hit of sugar in the cookie, to satiating his overall hunger, to the social aspect of walking into the cafeteria to get it.

So he started experimenting with different rewards—eating an apple or a donut or just getting up and talking to a colleague. When he’d get back to his desk, he’d immediately write down the first 3 things that came to his mind and then set a timer for 15 minutes. When it went off, if he still felt the craving, then he knew the replacement reward wasn’t right.

For example, if he ate a donut instead of a cookie and still felt his craving, he knew it wasn’t the sugar that his mind wanted as a reward.

Step 3: Switch the routine with something more beneficial

With our trigger and reward mapped out, it’s time to replace the routine itself.

For Duhigg, he discovered that between 3–4pm, his mind craved a bit of social interaction, which had manifested itself in his cookie trips. Instead, he set a timer for 3:30 and got up and talked to a colleague. For you, it might be browsing social media as a distraction in the afternoon.

Try setting a timer and reading a book instead, or calling a friend. The key is to understand the reward you’re after and replace the routine with something healthier.

How to slowly eliminate bad habits from your life

For those bad habits you want to completely eliminate, we need to be more clear cut with what we will and won’t do. Author and entrepreneur James Clear suggests setting what he calls ‘Bright Lines Rules’.

These are our clearly defined rules or standards that we give little to no wiggle room on. For example, instead of saying we’ll check email less frequently, ask yourself:

  • What does it mean to check less frequently?
  • Is it only on specific days?
  • At specific times?
  • Is it on the weekend or not?
  • Will you use your phone or just your computer?

With those answers in place, we might make a rule that we ‘only check emails on weekdays between 10am–5pm on our laptop.’

Having a hard steadfast rule in place changes the decision from ‘I won’t’ to ‘I can’t’—a simple change, which researchers have found has a profound impact on our ability to stick to our choices.

Setting boundaries for your actions is the first step in controlling your decisions. Control your decisions and you control your habits.

Our lives are built on habits, so it’s in our best interest to make them as positive as possible. Give yourself time, check in regularly on how you’re doing, and slowly move from bad to good habits.

Because, as Durant continues from the quote at the beginning of this guide:

“as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.”

Using Amazon SNS to build good habits with daily SMS reminders

Here at Delicious Brains Inc., the entire team enjoys the perks of remote work. Personally, I love having the freedom to start and end my day pretty much whenever I want, but there are some downsides to that lack of structure in my day: I find it hard to remember to do things that would otherwise be a part of a more structured daily routine such as walking my dogs or going to the gym.

I’m sure that a number of readers are shouting at their monitors something like “JUST USE CLEAR!” or, “HAVEN’T YOU HEARD OF SIRI!?” But here’s the thing: traditional reminders or todo apps just don’t seem to work for me. They’re too easy to ignore, or quickly become a part of the noise of reminders, banners, alerts, and notifications that my devices seem to throw at me every few minutes. On the other hand, checking my text messages is already habit for me and I can leverage it to create some new, healthier habits.

I could probably find an app to just email [email protected] every day and be done with it, but ever since work started on WP Offload S3 we’ve been working with Amazon Web Services quite a bit, so I’ve decided to take this opportunity to look into one of the other AWS services: Amazon SNS.

Getting Started

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to sign up for AWS and SNS.

We’ll be writing a PHP script using version three of Amazon’s AWS SDK for PHP, so let’s get started by setting up a new project folder and using Composer to require the SDK. If you need a quick introduction to installing and using Composer, check out the first part of Gilbert’s article Using Composer to Manage Themes and Plugins or the AWS guide.

First, let’s create a project folder called sns-reminders and open it. I’m working on the command line so I’ll use the following command:

Next, we’ll create a composer.json file, paste in the following, and save it:

Now we just need to install the dependencies by opening the folder in the command line and running the following command:

We’re almost ready to start using the AWS SDK, but we first need to set up credentials. For our purposes, the easiest way will be to create a credentials file at

/.aws which will be automatically loaded by the SDK. You can find full instructions in Amazon’s docs, but here’s the rundown:

Create a new folder in your HOME directory (

/ on Linux/Mac or C:UsersUSERNAME on Windows) called .aws and then create a text file in that folder called credentials without any extension. Now add the following text to that file:

For a bit of extra security you can lock down the credentials file’s permissions to 600 :

Now you’ll want to head over to your IAM console and in the users tab, click “Create New Users”, add a user called “sns-reminders”, make sure that “Generate an access key for each user” is checked and then click “Create”.

You should then be brought to a screen that looks like this:

Click “Show User Security Credentials” and then you can copy and paste the aws_access_key_id and aws_secret_access_key to replace their placeholders in your

Finally, you’ll need to grant this new user permission to use SNS by clicking on your new user in the list of users, clicking “Attach Policy” and attaching the AmazonSNSFullAccess policy.

Setting up SNS

Now that we’ve got our environment set up, we’ll also need to set up SNS. First, we’ll create a new topic and then subscribe our mobile number to that topic, so head over to the SNS Home Page and click “Create Topic”. For “Topic Name” I set sns-reminders , and for the “Display Name” I set REMINDERS – now click “Create Topic”.

You should have been taken to your new topic’s Details page where you can copy the “Topic ARN” and “Region” to a scratch text file somewhere as we’ll be using it in our PHP script in a bit. In an application with any scale, you’d probably add subscriptions via the API, but since it’s only us we can just subscribe ourselves manually. Click the “Create Subscription” button, leave the “Topic ARN” alone, select SMS as the protocol, and add your mobile phone number (including the country code) as the endpoint. Shortly after you click “Create Subscription” you should receive a text message at the number you subscribed; reply “yes” from your mobile and you should be good to go!

Sending Text Messages with PHP

Now we’re ready to actually start writing some code! Create a new file in your sns-reminders folder called send.php and paste in the following code:

Here we’re requiring Composer’s autoload.php file which is a helper provided by Composer to load the correct PHP files as we use them, which we’re doing on the next line where we bring in the SNS client library.

After that, we’re creating a new SNS client using Amazon’s SnsClient class. The profile argument is referring to the profile we created in the AWS access credential file (

/.aws/credentials ) we created earlier, region should be changed to the region that you created your SNS topic in, and version specifies the API version that we’d like to use (no need to change that).

Next, we’ll want to set up our message. Since we’ll be using this as a command line utility, we can array_pop() the message off of $argv by adding the following line:

Now we’ll set up our message payload and use the SNS client’s publish method to actually send our message. Paste in the following code, replacing the TopicArn value with the actual value that you copied from your Topic’s detail page earlier:

You’ll notice that we’ve wrapped the call to $client->publish() in a try. catch statement and provided some user feedback in the form of success or failure messages.

Now let’s send our first message! Open the project folder in your command line and type the following command:

If everything went well, you should have received a text message from the same number that asked you if you wanted to subscribe to the topic. If you’ve received an error, double check that you’ve filled in the correct values for TopicArn and region and that you’ve properly set up and saved your credentials file.

Cron Your Way to Good Habits

All that’s left to do now is to set up some reminders using our system’s cron. Personally, I like to be reminded to walk my dogs after I’ve been working for a few hours so I’ll open my Crontab for editing:

And add the following entry to send myself a text message every morning at 10am:

/sns-reminders to the actual path to your project, and you’ll also notice that any output from this command is being appended to a file called cron.log in the project’s folder which will allow you to debug any issues if you don’t receive your reminder.

Wrapping Up

I like this method of getting habit-building reminders because the message is pushed to me at the same time every day and I receive it on my phone and in iMessage. Also, if I don’t mark the message as read, it will keep reminding me every time I check my messages and that really seems to work for me. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s something I coded myself, for some reason this seems to make me want to use it more and to complete the task every morning when I get the message.

I might make this script a bit more robust in the future, possibly modifying the cron entry to call the script every 5 minutes or so and moving the actual scheduling of messages into the PHP script. Doing this would enable me to vary the time the message is sent, vary the message, and more easily handle multiple reminders with different schedules without stuffing my crontab full of reminder entries. Until then, this has actually been working quite well for me and I’ve been successful in adding healthy habits to my daily routine.

What habits will you be building with your SNS reminders?

About the Author

Jeff Gould

Jeff is a problem solver at heart who found his way to the web at an early age and never looked back. Before Delicious Brains, Jeff was a freelance web developer specializing in WordPress and front-end development.

How do you remind yourself of your bad habits?

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Reminding yourself of bad habits is more important that the good habits. You need to acknowledge and recognize the behavior in order to modify and change it. Many bad habits take years to change and daily reminders of this can help you eventually eliminate them from your life. Smoking and drinking are things are generally bad for you but difficult to remove from your daily routine without significant effort. Starting by acknowledge that they are negative is a necessary starting point.

I use the Way Of Life App daily, to reinforce good habits and to track progress with bad habits. Some things take many weeks of observation to identify trends and correlations. Food to Mood associations, Sleep and productivity, etc.

A few examples of the things I track

  1. Learning activity (podcasts and books read)
  2. Fun activity (did I spend time on hobbies and with family)
  3. Meditation
  4. Productivity
  5. Gratitude
  6. Vitamins
  7. Gym/Stretching
  1. Alcohol
  2. Phone Use in morning
  3. Phone Use at night
  4. Drugs (not recreational in my case, just OTC stuff Claritin, Ibuprofen)
  5. IOS Games
  6. Social Media (in excess)

Trending and Correlation

  1. Meds and supplements taken
  2. Diet, types of food eaten
  3. Sleep quality
  4. Allergic responses
  5. General Health and concentration
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