Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Habits

Those of you who know me or have seen me recently are knowing that I'm back on my self-improvement kick, trying to do what I can to make me better and thereby the world around me better. This comes in all sorts of shapes/evolutions/attempts on many levels including religious, mental health, dietary, and work effort.

One thing I've really tried to do is make things more effortless and one way to do that is to create habits. We all have lots of good and bad habits but today I'm going to write for just a minute about how I hope to facilitate good habits. The basis for this post is from - Zen habits - http://zenhabits.net/fail/ - but I'm not straight up just referring you to there as I think the presentation is kind of difficult. What I mean by that is that it is presented in a negative/snarky way (which at time is humorous) but always requires you to wade through the snark to get to the point. I'm in a straightforward mindset today so my take on their take :)

1. Focus on a singular habit to achieve - taking on multiple habits at once spreads our focus and energy, focus these things and I stand a much better chance at beating it.

2. Don't bite off more than I can chew - Setting up giant goals like losing 50 pounds, or meditating 30 minutes is just too much to start on cold turkey, lets lose 10 pounds and then go from there. Baby steps for big changes.

3. Work with habits you enjoy - Going after something you hate stands a dramatically smaller chance of success than doing something you like. Do we all have to wash dishes, yeah but that's not a habit, do things you enjoy in life and you will want to do more of them. If you can't find any enjoyment think either 1) what can I do I enjoy more that can accomplish a similar result or 2) Even though I don't enjoy this I enjoy the alternative (washing 3 loads of dishes instead of 1) even less so this is actually a good thing.

4. Tell people about your habit challenges - People are really supportive in general, if they aren't you are hanging around with the wrong people. If you keep it a secret there is no accountability.

5. Do the prep work to avoid failure - just like I cannot run a marathon today (it is literally physically impossible) I can do the prep work to avoid failure, that includes starting with 1 mile. If you treat this habit (goal) like it is no big deal by not preparing for it then when (and it will be when not if) you drop it there won't be a big deal either.

6. Pay attention to others who have done this before - I will freely admit I used to be someone who thought I knew a whole lot more than I actually did. People have done what you want to do 99.9% of the time, lost weight (yep), gotten degrees (yep), written books (yep), stopped chewing their finger nails (yep). AND people LOVE to talk about their successes, win win.

7. Motivate yourself - I truly suck at this sometimes, many folks like rewards for accomplishments and I don't excel here but we all need to motivate ourselves. A good week on the diet may call for a splurge once a week. Passing a big test (like the bar exam), sounds like a 3 day weekend or a vacation. Build in reasons for success.

8. Don't sabotage yourself - The easiest example is to go on a diet and not get rid of the junk food in your house. If it is there and you have a craving YOU WILL EAT IT, maybe not the first day, or the second, or the first week but don't put yourself in that position.

So in recap, if you actually made it this far, this entire post is about me, and maybe my thoughts can help someone else. Maybe someone else will read this and chime in and help me either through the blog, Facebook, or email. Maybe I just needed the structure to write this out and not have it just floating in my head ...

1 comment:

DC said...

I like it, B. Keep it up.

oh.. and can I make fishing a habbit? Can you explain to my wife how I need to show dedication to this in my life?