How to make habits stick.
Apps for Attaining Calm
How to make habits stick.
Apps for Attaining Calm
Today’s workout in the books!
I weighed in at 231, another 2lbs. I’m enjoying the intermittent fasting routine now that I’m finally used to it. The routine today involved a lot of cable work and single arm and leg movements. Cable workouts are nice because I feel a consistent tension in the muscle group.
We’re finally getting some cooler weather in Michigan. This is the time when discipline will be required, particularly when the roads get clogged up with ice and snow. I don’t drive that far to the gym, but it is still treacherous.
My posting in my daily quotes section discussed habits. This is one of the best habits you can establish for yourself. Exercise improves flexibility, cardio vascular health, muscle tone, appetite, and even the quality of your sleep. I had my blood work done at the doc a few weeks back and it was flawless. For a 54-year old, that’s great news! I attribute this to my exercise routine and diet. Two habits that did not come easy.
The only advice I can give you in respect to this is DO IT. This is one habit you don’t want to ignore. Exercise improves every aspect of my life. It is the cornerstone of my habits because it brings the best return on investment. For just little over an hour of my time each day the benefits I reap are awesome.
Remember to start small. Small habits become bigger habits. Bigger habits become rituals in your day. These rituals fill your time and contribute to a great life. A life that is healthy and happy.
If you are having a really difficult time starting a health habit, read this book: Mini Habits by Stephen Guise. This book helped me establish some life-long habits that will always be a part of my day-to-day. Once you get some momentum, you’ll find creating other great habits will follow.
I hope you are all having a great Thursday!
See you tomorrow…
“You have to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George Lorimor
This reminds me of the importance of planning. Some folks like to plan at night before they go to bed, while others like to plan in the morning. Still, others who don’t plan at all and wing it throughout the day.
I like to strike a balance when I plan. I have certain priorities that I must hit every day. These priorities span reading, writing, exercising, meditating, and monitoring. Subsequently, I plan out the rituals that will allow me to do these things and only change them when I have a planned disruption (like a doctor’s appointment or a trip). Then I have to plan around these things to continue to make progress on my priorities.
From time to time my priorities change. When this is the case, I change my rituals and adjust accordingly. The key for me personally is repetition. As a military veteran, I am very used to a regimented day. Get up, physical exercise, hygiene, and breakfast, etc. (You get the idea). It is amazing how much you can do by doing just a little bit toward your goals.
I am a creature of habit. I like doing the same things at the same time of day. I’m still adjusting to my two-a-day exercise routine, but this will become a habit after a few more weeks.
Visualize what you want, plan your day to achieve the things you want, and you’ll achieve the things you focused on or at least learn more about how to get where you want to be.
Until next time…
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone
I know every one of my readers has heard the statement: If it’s too good to be true; it isn’t. That’s what this quote tells me. Regardless of the field you pursue, there is one underlying truth–you won’t be great without putting in the hard work. There really is no substitute.
Another thing we need to do well with our pursuits is to have an underlying reason or passion for the pursuit. Perhaps you survived a disease and want to tell your story. Maybe you’ve seen the suffering of others and want to educate people so they can avoid the same fate. Whatever your reasoning, it must be something that wakes you up–really excites you.
I’m a really big Tim Ferris fan. The stuff he publishes is just so “common sense”. Why would you do something if you’re not interested in doing it?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s always that one thing we don’t like to do (clean the bathroom, do laundry, make the bed, etc.). What Tim is referring to is the stuff we really don’t have to do if we don’t want to. Why would you push yourself through a book that you just aren’t interested in? I used to do this a lot. I would start to read a book and for some reason, even after I’ve decided the story just isn’t there for me, I would continue to trudge through the book regardless because I wanted to finish what I started. No more.
This is just one small example of volunteering to be miserable. If the task you have to do isn’t super important or necessary, drop doing it, at least for today. Maybe tomorrow you’ll feel like doing it. Maybe not. Do the things you are passionate about.
On a side note, there will be things that you have to do that you may not like to do initially but grow on you over time. Exercise is one of them. Many people do not like exercising. They just don’t want to do it. This is one exception to the rule above–there will be things that are super important and necessary that you need to do. If you don’t like doing them, try to experiment with different ways you can do these things so you do like them. Maybe a small reward for yourself each time you hit the gym or do that task. Use your creativity.
“Abandon anything about your life and habits that might be holding you back. Learn to create your own opportunities.” – Sophia Amoruso
Makes sense doesn’t it?
Why would you continue to do anything that is harmful or hurting your chances of moving forward with your goals?
Well, let’s talk addictions for a moment. If you are exercising and using drugs, tobacco, or drinking, you’re actually working against yourself. These would be a few things I would abandon now, rather than later, if I was serious about a healthy, long-lasting existence.
What’s another major inhibitor for moving forward? Fear. A close friend of fear is anger. If you are angry and afraid you will be mad that you aren’t moving forward and fearful of doing so. Crazy right? But this is another huge trap for people. Fear will paralyze you, anger will alienate you.
So what does this quote teach us? It teaches us to let go of anger and fear. It teaches us to let go of toxic relationships. It teaches us to let go of bad habits like smoking, drinking, and drugs. It teaches us to let go of thoughts and feelings that tell us that we’re not good enough, not strong enough, or not pretty or handsome enough.
I hope all of you can achieve what you are striving for.
Until next time…
“Each day is the scholar of yesterday.” Publilius Syrus
Ever heard of the saying “hindsight is 20/20”. That’s what this quote says to me. We are all great at saying what “we should have done” right?
I think the key to learning is to look at yesterday, gather up what we would have done, and make a note. I just read an article today about habits vs. goals. It was an interesting read. It talked about New Year’s resolutions, how goals fail to come to fruition, and all the rest.
If we use each day to learn from yesterday, we can forge new habits that will help us overcome these shortfalls and do something meaningful. Think about this for a moment:
Here’s a website I found: http://365milechallenge.org/
It’s probably too late to do this now unless you’re willing to crank it up a bit, but if you’re up for next year, save this website in your favorites. I am!
Small habits. Small rituals each day will allow you to achieve great results over time, with much less resistance than you would experience trying to knock down a 90-day goal.
I hope you all have a wonderful Friday!
See you tomorrow…
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard
When was the last time you avoided doing something because of the potential criticism you might hear? Criticism can come from many directions. The criticism can come from your parents, your friends, your colleagues at work, or your customers. The quote above, provided by Elbert Hubbard, addresses this. Criticism is a necessary good and evil in life. It is good when it comes from a source that truly cares about what you do or cares about you as a person. The people that want you to do better will typically criticize the quality of your work. It might sound like this: “Hey, your first book was wonderful; this third one is a little disappointing.”
If you are being criticized by someone who cares about you, it may sound like this: “Hey, your first book was wonderful, you did such a great job describing this and that; the third one was disappointing, is everything ok with you?” The nuance between both statements is there, but one is truly depicting a person who is criticizing your work and cares about your product offering; while the other is depicting a person, who is criticizing your work, but cares about how you are doing and how that may have impacted your performance.
When I was searching the web for various articles, topics, and definitions of criticism, I ran across a diagram called the disapproval matrix. The author of this matrix is Ann Friedman (www.annfriedman.com). She breaks down criticism by people into 4 groups. The rational critics I described above are the Lovers and the critics. Both groups care about your work and you. The irrational group is at the bottom of the matrix. These groups are labeled the Frenemies and Haters. Obviously, we’ve all ran across the haters. These are the trolls out there whose miserable existence consists of nothing but tearing down others without any other reason than to get a rise out of someone. The Frenemies are those that undermine you and hope you fail, but criticize through a false veil of concern dripping in sarcasm. Interestingly, Ann also lists “yourself” as one of the frenemies in the irrational list.
This threw me for a loop, but after some contemplation really hit home and drove me right back to my original question: When was the last time you avoided doing something because of the potential criticism you might hear? Think about the excuses you tell yourself when it’s too cold out to take your daily run or when one donut, one cigarette, or one drink won’t hurt (I’ve earned it you say). Maybe you’re trying to establish a writing habit and before you know it that one game of “Candy Crush” turns into a 4-hour marathon, where everyone and their brother keeps sending you lives.
One of the keys to getting things done, achieving your goals, and establishing good or eliminating bad habits is affected by that one Frenemy you can’t run from—that internal you who never stops telling you that you can’t do this or that because you’re not good enough, other people have already done that, there’s no market for that, and the list goes on.
When you are trying to do something with your life, listen to the critics who really matter. These critics are the lovers and critics who care about you and your product. You can leave the rest in your dust without looking back, including that internal critic you can’t escape from. When that internal critic starts talking, turn up the music, look at something positive or motivating, meditate, or whatever you do to quiet that negative internal voice. You can do this. I know you can.
Until next time…
I’ve recently read a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. This book lists out all of the Artists and thinkers over the years and how they ran their days. Some didn’t have any plan at all, but these were rare. Most had a very specific list of things they did each day. They got up the same time, retired the same time, and followed a system. I’ve always believed in rituals because they build consistency in my day and reinforce the things I want to focus on.
Let’s look at some things that are good for us. Sleeping 7-8 hours a night, exercising, meditation, reading, writing, hygiene, social networking, etc. By focusing on these simple things, you build a habit of doing these things and building a solid foundation that has been proven to be healthy and efficient. Who wouldn’t want that?
Here’s what my morning ritual looks like:
Daily rituals are cool because they provide a stability to my day. Now that I’m retired it gives me a structure, a system to follow, addressing what I consider important. I also have an evening ritual.
Here’s what my evening ritual looks like:
These are things I do every day. Not necessarily in the order, I’ve put them in. Things happen. If I’m sick or have an appointment that disrupts my ability to accomplish some of those ritualistic things, I’ll blow them off that day. The key to rituals is they build habits that are strong enough to deal with the chaos of our lives and survive as templates for our activities.
The key to building a great ritual is to select those things you deem important to your life or are very passionate about. Some of the things on my list may be a given for you, like hygiene. Some folks may decide hygiene isn’t one of those things they want to deal with in a ritual because they are going to do it. The ritual can be composed of anything you want. The key is to build your ritual on those things that you believe will provide value to your life if they are done consistently.
After using rituals for the last 6 months I am a firm believer in their efficacy. I am on automatic each morning and launch into my evening rituals with the same tenacity. My morning ritual is triggered by my waking in the morning and the bulk of my evening ritual is triggered by my dinner. After dinner is complete, I exercise, plan for the next day, check social media and this blog, hit my gratitude journal and my diary, and get ready for a relaxing evening.
I hope some of these ideas are helpful and wish you well on creating rituals that provide value to your day.
Until next time…
I use the Calm Meditation app each day to get centered. One of the features of the Calm app is the quote they provide you when you’re completed with the day’s meditation. Today, Calm provided a quote from Beau Taplin which states: “Whoever said that small things don’t matter has never seen a small match start a wildfire.” This statement really rang true to me this morning when I began posting it on my favorite social networking sites. I try to find meaningful posts to share with my network. It’s just my way of contributing to my connections.
But this quote really got me. Small things can have wide-ranging impact in our lives. Think about the value in making small changes in your routine. What if you added just 10 minutes of cardio exercise into your morning routine? That would build to over 3,650 minutes over the year. What if you wrote one page in your journal each day? Again, that would be 365 pages or one or two books worth of writing. These small things can offer so much value with minimal input. I recently read a few books. One was a book called Mini Habits; the other was a book called The Power of Less. Both of these books speak to the difficulty with change and how to make change easier by doing small things. Focusing on small things each day will soon turn into big changes and those big changes will bring great value to your life.
Think about the most precious moments in your life. Most of these things started from small things. Your wedding day may have its roots from a smile across a room. The day you walked the stage to receive your diploma and degree, resulted from each assignment you began and completed one small piece at a time. More importantly is the impact of small things on relationships. Smiling at your partner in the morning. Giving your child a hug on the way out the door or giving your pet some love in the morning when you wake up. People remember the small things you do for them out of love, not the things you buy for them. They remember the hugs, the kisses, the sticky note left on the refrigerator, or even the quick text you send telling them you are on your way home and you can’t wait to see them. It is these small things that build a long-term relationship.
Our lives are composed of an infinite amount of small moments, each building on each other in a progression of memories, visual snapshots, and audio recordings all captured by our minds. Some remain vivid, while others fade away. Small things matter. The small things we do for ourselves and especially those small things we do for others. Focus on the small things and the big things will follow.
Until next time…