I’ve been totally nerding out and reading a bunch of habit building books. I started reading them towards the end of the year which proved to be an unintentional power strategy. [Note to self: do this again next year.] When February rolled around I was armed with tips and strategies to set me up for New Years Resolution success. (ICYMI: February is the new January.)
I have a tendency to be ambitious when it comes to resolution season; or self improvement in general, really. For example, this year I vowed to meditate, do yoga, exercise, draw, and write—every day-ish. (The first 3 habits I have elected to do 5 days a week, whereas the last two I truly do every day.) Typical over the top ‘new year, new me’ stuff. And every year I join millions of others in taking the annual resolution oath: pledging that this year is going to be different.
Well, Monday marked the halfway point of the month which felt like a natural opportunity to check in on my progress. If my very sophisticated habit trackers are correct, then I am doing pretty darn good:
Before you mistake any of this for bragging, I should mention that the last habit building book I read was Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. Spoiler alert: the secret to cultivating successful habits is in the title, TINY. Aka: set the bar ridiculously low. Which I did.
Here’s what meditating, doing yoga, exercising, drawing, and writing ‘every’ day looks like at the moment:
My ‘morning flow’ 5 days a week:
- Meditation: 5 minutes min, 10 minutes max
- Yoga: 5 min., 10 max
- Exercise: 20 squats, 15 push ups (from my knees, no shame!), 50 bicycle crunches
- Drawing: minimum 1 thing (anything!), maximum 2 hours
- Writing: 15 minutes minimum, 1 hour max
SIDE NOTE: setting a maximum has been helpful for me. Helps prevent burnout. Especially with creative endeavors.
As soon as I wake up I set my timer (currently for 8 minutes) and meditate. Then yoga/light stretching to warm up my body. Then exercise. The whole routine clocks in at 15 minutes. If I have time + energy to do more, I do. Some days I also go for a run, long walk, jump rope, ski, etc. On the flip side, I’m not discouraged if I just do the bare minimum. By my math that’s still 100 squats, 75 push ups, and 250 crunches each week.
It doesn’t seem like much, but…it’s more than I was doing in the past.
It doesn’t seem like much, but…that’s the point.
Next month I’ll up the ante a TINY bit more, and so on and so on.
For now, I’m just expending tiny amounts of effort in hopes of building some muscle memory. I wanted to take advantage of autopilot. As a lifestyle, autopilot—aka ground hogs day—is not a sustainable or very fun way to live long-term. But when it comes to building good habits, automation is helpful. For instance, I don’t have to think too hard about brushing my teeth in the morning/night. I just do it.
Granted I’m only 16 days in, but I’m proud of myself for (finally) keeping the promises I made for myself at the start of the month (even if those promises are super tiny]. (And keeping our own promises is a great barometer for self-love, I think.)
I’m excited and motivated to see how this self-experiment progresses. Onward!