Habits Update

Shortly after New Year's I wrote a short piece on habits and thought it would be a good time to check-in.

So far, the habit part is going well. I've been doing it in small bits and just started back on the exercise side of things this week.

I started by adding LoseIt to my iPhone. This allows me to keep track of my eating habits. I'm not worrying about finding the exact right food, but I have gotten into the habit of tracking everything I eat, even if it's a quick, small snack like a piece of cheddar cheese on a cracker. The critical thing isn't whether I estimated wrong on a homemade piece of banana bread, but that I am more aware of when I eat. I have cut down on my sweets and late-night eating, as well as cut back further on stopping for fast food when I'm out and about. Now, that's not to say I've lost a ton of weight, I haven't, but I haven't set goals up for that yet. I am really trying to be careful about building these habits up a little at a time and not trying to do everything at once, as my history has shown that it's not sustainable.

In addition, I wrote about Good Habits. For the way my brain works, this has been a wonderful app. I created a handful of easy habits that I've wanted to work on and set them up to tick them off. The first one was flossing. I have always been bad about it, and that's stupid as it is a simple thing that takes two minutes a day. The next one I added was my 'gratitudes'. Following the 'Happiness Advantage' book, every morning I think of three things for which I'm grateful. Then I added meditation. I started by meditating five minutes a day and after about forty-five days, upped it to ten minutes a day.

Recently I added my exercises and writing. In late June / early July, my boys and I are going to Philmont Camp in New Mexico for a 10 day 80 mile hike. That's the motivation I need for my exercise. So I have added push-ups, sit-ups, kettlebells, and treadmill to the habits. I am starting small with all of them and will up the minimums over time. But the idea at first is to build the habit, i.e. build the time into my day to do this. Right now I'm doing 1.5 miles on the treadmill and will be upping it by half mile increments every two weeks.

As an add-on to that my wife and I bought FitBits. We are setting goals for walking and flights of stairs. I really like that the FitBit tracks sleep as well and have been shocked by (a) how little sleep I get and (b) how many times a night I wake up. Going to have to look into that this year too.

The writing component is 500 words and can be anything, even a work product, as long as it is not an email. I use Day One for journaling so may use that, as well as this blog. I may allow myself an 'out' if I find a quote that is especially meaningful. And I'm okay with that.

Ultimately, I've made the decision that phase 1 is building the habit, however small, into my day, build the ticker up in my Good Habits app, and set some goals in my FitBit. Then, over time, maybe over years, I'll build up deeper, more challening goals.