This is the sixth in our series about habits. If you want to check out the others, you can find them here, here, here , here and here.

Sometimes you have the best of intentions for building a new habit, but at the end of the day, you crawl into bed and think “Damn, I ran out of time”.

The problem here is that intentions don’t build habits.

Neither does willpower.

Or motivation.

Do you know what does build habits? Making a plan. A realistic plan.

Which brings us to one of my favorite habit-building techniques of all time: schedule it!

If you hope to do something “if you have the time”, trust me, you won’t have the time.

We don’t just find time. We make it.

So, if you have a habit that’s important to you, and it’s going to take a significant amount of time to make it happen, scheduling it on your calendar can be one of the quickest ways to make progress because you’re accounting for the time you need to make it happen.

Why else is this strategy effective? You’re used to showing up for what’s on your calendar, so you’re using a strategy that you already use for different purposes (i.e. showing up to your meetings on time).

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to exercise every day, or to meditate, or practice violin, or to cook dinner from scratch.

Those things all take TIME.

I want you to ask yourself where in your schedule can you fit it in.

If it’s something that will take more time than the thing itself (say, you need to travel time to get to and from the gym) schedule that in as well.

Let me give you a real life example:

My aim is to exercise daily. I don’t always make it happen, but I usually do.

But I exercised a lot less when it wasn’t in my calendar.

Now, I have a recurring time block for 45 minutes a day in my calendar for exercise, and when I’m doing “End of Week planning”, I move that sucker around to make sure it makes sense on each day of the following week.

While it recurs at 4pm, I only exercise at 4pm about 1/2 of the time. Some days, I’ll move it to after dinner because I have work right up until it’s time to cook. Some days I’ve got kid activities after school, so it makes more sense for me to exercise at lunch. All of those options are fine. Doing it the same time isn’t important. What’s important is that I’m accounting for the time it will take and not just hoping for the best.

What’s one habit you’re having trouble making time for? Are you willing to give scheduling it a try? If so, let me know in the comments!