Using containers to build habits

Spark of the day:

Create a container.

Lately I've been putting a quote up on my pantry door each week. I switch them out on Mondays. I'm trying to generate dialogue with my kids about topics that I think we need to focus on for one reason or another.

I've thought of doing this before, but it never happened until I put a piece of colored card stock up on the door with a title ("Quote of the week") and a little taped-on clip to hold the quotes.

I'm on my third week of quotes, and I hope to keep it going all 52 weeks of 2015. It occurs to me that I have a better chance of sticking with my plan because I created a container. The background paper with the title and a waiting clip is the container. Seeing it is a trigger to fill the container.

I always have better luck sticking with things when I take the time to create a container.

  • My son's baseball stuff didn't get lost as often once I printed out a label ("Baseball Stuff") and taped it on a basket in his closet. 
  • My yoga practice got a lot more consistent once I started going at the same time every day (6-7am, when nothing else can get in the way.) 
  • My friendship with two women I met in an online writing course deepened quickly once we created an email template that we fill out and send to each other every Wednesday. 
  • I successfully completed 12 personal dares in 2014 once I started posting each dare to the blog on the first of every month. 

All of these are examples of containers of different sorts.

Have a habit you want to start or change? Try creating a container.

There you have it, my spark of the day.


Spark of the Day is a blog series where I document and share the ideas that spark (i.e. resonate with) me. They are usually either ideas I come across during my day, or ideas I have as a result of my work and personal writing. Spark is the "one word" I have chosen for 2015.


  1. Great idea! I've been contemplating something similar - I would like to post poems by Czech poets somewhere visible for my kids to read to stimulate them to engage with the language on a deeper level ad also (hopefully) lure them into appreciate poetry. But it has not happened yet - I do not have a container! Now I know what I have to do :-)
    By the way - I very much enjoy your "sparks"!

  2. Irrespective of the idea it is the thinking process you are engaged in that is key. You never know where your mind will take you but, it seems to me, it will ultimately be in the best direction for you.