How I Reward Myself with Good Habits – The Kozukai Method
I’ve recently created and employed a new habit tracking system that has visibly improved my life. It has helped me exercise consistently, choose reading over scrolling, improve my motivation and focus at work, and go to bed earlier. As a result, I’ve been feeling a lot more accomplished at the end of the day which puts me in a good mood. The bonus of this system is that it has also made me more conscious of my spending habits. This has been especially useful with the current pandemic prices (I also now live in Silicon Valley where potatoes and eggs for brunch can easily cost $25 👎).
The first thing I did when coming up with this system I call Kozukai (“allowance” in Japanese) was think about the different habits I wanted to have in my life. These habits could happen multiple times a day to ones that happen every few days. Then I assigned dollar values to each of these habits, balancing the importance and frequency when coming up with figures. For example, some of my habits include:
- Exercise: $8
- Read: $2
- Pomodoro focus session: $2
- In bed by 1am: $5
- Take a walk $2
To explain the reasoning for some of these values, let’s take exercise and pomodoro sessions. With exercise, I run about 4 times a week, so the frequency is quite low relative to the other habits. I’m also training for a half-marathon for my next birthday so it’s a very important habit. As a result, I’ve assigned it a high, very rewarding dollar value. With pomodoro sessions, though very important, I tend to do somewhere between 10-12 sessions during a workday, and so the frequency is very high. As a result, the habit has a low dollar number.
Each time I perform one of these habits, I record it and have a running total of all the cash in my Kozukai bank. I’ve created a website to help me keep track of this, but you can also use a spreadsheet if you want (I did for the first two weeks when I was experimenting and tweaking the system). The cash that I accumulate ends up being my “for fun” money that I’ll pull from when going to restaurants, buying concert tickets, paying for trips, etc…. Thus, I also track the money I spend and subtract it from the banked cash.
Why This Works
Kozukai works well for me because:
- It’s simple and requires little effort (especially with the Kozukai Habit website!)
- It helps me prioritize habits
- It’s rewarding to see the bank value go up
- It makes me more conscious about how much money I’m spending (a $25 brunch requires 13 pomodoro sessions 😵)
- I feel that I earned what I purchase
- If I want to make an expensive purchase, it forces me to be on top of my habits and come up with new habits that are very rewarding (both in money and life improvement)
Some Considerations For You
If you want to try out the Kozukai system there are a few considerations that may be helpful to remember. First, these monetary values I’ve come up with are catered to me and my income, so you will need to adjust. In addition, you may need to adjust values after creating them if you find that they are too rewarding or not rewarding enough. Second, I recommend keeping the system positive instead of negative (e.g. taking away money if you perform a bad habit). Adding negativity will only make the system less fun and less motivating to keep up. Finally, I encourage you to tweak and modify the system to cater to you and your lifestyle. Part of the reason Kozukai has worked so well for me is because I’ve come up with it myself.
I hope you’ll try out the Kozukai method and find the same success as I have. If you have any feedback about the system, kozukaihabit.com, or want to chat, please send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
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