Flossing was one of the very first habits I intended to create in this project. I held it off because I thought it would be easy, and because I thought there were more important, foundational habits that needed to be sorted out first. I still think the latter might be true.
Choosing new habits has gotten difficult - it all needs to be a habit, yesterday! My protocol has generally been to assess what will make the most changes in my life. And as far as I can tell, flossing just affects my mouth (and maybe heart disease? The consensus seems to have changed on this).
Long ago I made an original list of habits I wanted to implement. At this point I'm very close to catching them all - though, other habits have sprung up as being equally, if not more foundational (mobilization and recording come to mind). With that in mind, I've decided to go for it anyway. But there's also another reason.
Fruit flies have long been used by biologists and geneticists for study because of their short lifespans. In the same manner, I'm oping I can use flossing to study skill pushes. I've studied two vectors of my master graph of behavioral development in detail - time (in days) and habit strength (in SRHI). But the third vector, developing and expanding a behavior, is still unclear to me.
Few behaviors offer such a clear pattern of development. While writing or physical fitness have a host of vectors across which skill pushes can be measured, for flossing it's pretty much just the number of teeth flossed. With other skills I've had to attempt to use Duckworth's Grit Scale or come up with another index of difficulty. Here, it's a number.
I'll be guided by Lydia on this. She formed a flossing habit based on my methods really early on, and has been keeping it up for about 4 years. She said it's a breeze, so here goes!
Following BJ Fogg's advice in his TedX Talk, I'll floss 2 teeth. I will do this in the morning right after I brush my teeth.
Positive: This will help me nail down a habit that I've intended on doing for decades. It will also help me understand the nature of pushing habits
Stumbling blocks: This habit is tool-specific. One stumbling block will be just making sure I have floss handy. I also find normal floss quite difficult to use, especially with back teeth. This might cause a stumbling block once I move to harder to reach teeth and switch from using the special one-use floss sticks pictured above to normal lengths of string.
photo cred: fruit fly by Martin Cooper