I've mentioned Zen Habits before, the great personal improvement blog that won the 2007 Performancing Awards best overall blog award. Well the great blog has a companion forum, of which a large chunk is dedicated to monthly challenge threads. These are a geeks way of using peer support to build good habits or kill bad ones.
The idea is simple, at the beginning of the month, post your personal challenge for the month and each day log your progress. The knowledge that there is a community watching your progress and that you have to log your successes and failures helps to reinforce your new behaviour.
I used this last month to establish a daily habit of sitting down and planning for the next activities. It's kind of like a GTD weekly review, except I do it daily so the review itself is much quicker and my to-do list tends to be a lot more current. The challenge forum was a great help and as a result I'm doing it again this month, this time to reestablish my Tai Chi. I have committed to doing 15 minutes of Tai Chi first thing in the morning every day. So far I've only missed one day out of 12.
Another site that has been helpful in my habit-forming is Joe's Goals which I mentioned in my last post. This simple site lets you add recurring daily goals you want to achieve, and tick them off every day. This allows you to visually monitor your progress, both on the site and with a badge image that is generated.
Finally, to help me refresh my memory for this month's tai chi challenge I found a fantastic collection of videos on YouTube by a Tai Chi master from San Diego who also sells instructional DVDs from his website. With a bit of video conversion wizardry, they are available for reference any time I need them on my phone. As an example, here is the video of the Tai Chi stretching and warming sequence "Eight pieces of treasure":
This simple sequence is a great way to start the day :)