Make Ham Radio A Habit

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Guest post by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU

Every week, I get an email newsletter from Penguin Random House called Signature. Signature includes links to articles about books and writing. Being a writer, I clicked on the link to “5 Good Writing Habits You Need to Learn Now.” As I was reading the article, it occurred to me that the advice could also apply to amateur radio.

So, with apologies to the author, Lorraine Berry, here are five things you can do to make ham radio a habit:

1. To get on the air more, or to do more building, set up a time to do it. If you enjoy getting on the air or homebrewing, but never seem to be able to find the time to do it, you need to put it on your schedule. Set aside the time a couple of days, or a week, or even a month in advance, and you’ll be more likely to do it. If you set up a regular time every week, pretty soon it will be a habit.
2. If ham radio is important to you, create an environment that encourages you to do ham radio. To make ham radio a habit, you really need a place that’s set up to do ham radio. If you have to dig out and set up your equipment every time that you want to get on the air, you’re just not going to do it. You need a “shack” that makes it easier for you to engage in the hobby. Richards, K8JHR, gave me some great advice back in 2012 on where and how to set up a shack (https://www.kb6nu.com/building-a-new-shack/).
3. Create temptations that reward you for your new habit of ham radio. For me, being able to make interesting contacts, or building some new gizmo, is reward enough, but you may want to reward yourself with a beer or some ice cream after an operating session.
4. Make it easy to do what you like to do. This is related to #4. Your shack should have everything you need to easily do whatever ham radio activities you enjoy doing. If you enjoy operating, then it should have a nice operating desk. If you enjoy building, then set it up so that all of your tools are readily accessible. The easier it is to do, the more likely it is that you’ll do it. If you enjoy operating portable, then build up a kit that has all the stuff you need, and have it ready to go when you’re ready to go.
5. Start with the Two-Minute Rule for new habits and continue from there. The “two minute rule” (https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-stop-procrastinating-and-stick-good-habits-using-the-2-minute-rule.html) is a tool to help you overcome procrastination. The idea is to allot just two minutes to a task that you’d like to complete or a skill that you’d like to develop. It’s a small commitment, but enough to get you started, and the idea is that once you’re started on a particular task or project, continuing work on that task or project becomes a lot easier. Those two minutes could easily become a half hour or an hour once you’ve gotten the ball rolling.

Armed with this advice, I’m expecting you to be a more active ham in 2019. I’ll be listening for you on 40 m.

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