to-do-list-long1Flossing, lame I know. Just another thing to add to the to do list. Like most, I rarely floss. However, when I do floss the most disgusting stuff comes out! I know, TMI. I ‘m sure you relate whether you ‘ll admit it or not. I feel good every time I floss, so why don ‘t I do it regularly? Probably the same reason I don;t go to the gym or eat healthy regularly. Ahh our own personal health   the one thing we pretty much have ultimate control over (how we treat our body) and what do we do? Muck it all up. Well, not all of us but I think America as a whole kinda mucks it up. OK, enough negativity. How do we snap out of this stuff! Well, maybe we can start with flossing.

Exercise, meditating, eating healthy the list goes on. We need to form good habits in these areas. Baby steps, don ‘t take on too much too soon and then just give up (you know you know what I ‘m talking about). Let’s take a look at how to form the habit of flossing from Leo at the incredible and  always  insightful Zen Habits blog and maybe, just maybe we can carry this formula over to other areas of our lives:

Forming the Habit

These are the steps that worked for me:

  1. Pick a trigger. For a habit to be automatic, it needs a trigger    something that is already in your daily routine. If you already brush your teeth every morning, regularly, then I suggest that as your trigger. Actually, a better trigger is going to brush your teeth   say you go into the bathroom to brush your teeth, and reach for your toothbrush   that’s your trigger. Floss right at that point, before you brush your teeth, and then brush your teeth after.
  2. Have a visual reminder. The key is to do the new habit right after the trigger, but at first you might easily forget. So have the dental floss right next to your toothbrush, where you won’t forget it. You might also put up a note next to your bathroom mirror so you can’t possibly forget.
  3. Floss just one tooth. This is an old idea, but it works well. Start your habit by just flossing one tooth. It’s so remarkably easy that you won’t be able to say it’s too hard, or you don’t have the time. It will feel a bit ridiculous, but just do it. On day two, floss two teeth. Slowly expand every 1-3 days until you’re flossing all your teeth. Sure, you won’t get the full benefit of flossing all your teeth at first, but the key is not to get the full benefit but to create a habit that lasts.
  4. Focus on the enjoyment. Many people put off flossing because it seems hard or boring or unpleasant, but it doesn’t have to be. Flossing is a pleasurable activity if you allow yourself to be present, and think about how your teeth are getting cleaner and how nice that is. I love the feeling of clean teeth.
  5. Mark it on your calendar. Every day you floss, mark a big X on your calendar (Jerry Seinfeld’s secret). Try to string together a bunch of Xs, and you’re golden.

Leo says it all  – seems so easy! Go ahead and focus on this one habit for a few weeks to a month, and you’ll have a new flossing habit. Leo also shared a story about Matt Frazier who did this, along with a bunch of other habits, and it helped change his life (read his amazing story). It’s such a simple thing, but it can change yours too.



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